Hear from Amélie, a Ludopital sponsor and training manager at Rigolo Comme La Vie, and Gilles, Ludopital donations and events manager, about the charity’s work.
A charity active in the children’s wards of hospitals in the Nord département, Ludopital makes hospital stays more pleasant for child patients by distributing toys via the hospital staff and improving the layout and décor in the bedrooms, waiting rooms and other living spaces. This helps the hospital feel like a warmer and more welcoming environment, reducing anxiety about the medical procedures themselves.
“I’ve been working at Rigolo Comme La Vie for more than 10 years. I first joined the community as a crèche manager. I then became human resources manager, and in September 2016 I took on the role of training manager.
I found out about the ÏDKIDS foundation when I started working at Rigolo Comme La Vie. At that time it was still part of the crèche network. I already knew about Ludopital because I volunteered there in my student days. I felt really proud when I discovered that my new employer supported it! I strongly believe in the charity’s work, both from a personal and professional perspective (as a mum who has spent time in hospital and as a businesswoman). I trained as an early childhood educator, which taught me the benefits of play for children. It helps them feel like children in their own right rather than helpless patients. Children take back ownership of their bodies by rediscovering the sense of enjoyment that comes from accomplishing things, having fun and simply being. And it’s also beneficial for the people around them. Often their brothers and sisters aren’t comfortable being at the hospital, but sharing quality time together as a family playing a board game helps everyone feel at ease. Another important factor is that the psychological effect on the body can have a positive impact on fighting the illness. Every happy moment helps!
I am twice as involved through the ÏDKIDS foundation. As the foundation’s ambassador with Rigolo Comme La Vie, I raise awareness of the foundation and its activities using all the platforms we have available and brief new staff when they arrive to motivate them to work alongside us. It’s worked out really well with me also being one of Ludopital’s sponsors! That involves supporting the charity as soon as a new project kicks off, following up any requests for financing, supporting its activities, celebrating its successes and sharing all this information with my colleagues.
In 2017 we funded the 7,000 euro renovation of two waiting rooms at the Centre Marc Sautelet in Villeneuve d’Ascq. The centre provides follow-up and rehabilitative care to children aged 0 to 18 with a variety of conditions. The waiting room was also stocked with toys and games.
Our activities are not limited to monetary donations, even though these are vital. Our employees also lend a hand. Some took part in a toy sorting day. It was a big help to the charity and an opportunity for them to get to know Ludopital and see what a difference it’s making.
Watch a video of the day’s events
Another example is when in September 2017 Rigolo Comme La Vie staff took part in Les Foulées de Ludopital, a community race organized to raise money for the charity. Ten members of the Rigolo Comme La Vie team took part with their families. It was open to children aged two and over, so it was a great opportunity for them to get involved and help develop their empathy and caring skills. They were proud of doing something to support other children. And working together for a common cause builds a stronger team. Much more so than a simple outing with colleagues.
At the beginning of 2018 the foundation funded the renovation of a second waiting room for 8,000 euros. This time it was for the children’s emergency department at Victor Provo Hospital in Roubaix. Ludopital has had some great ideas for making children’s hospital stays less stressful; for example, a new mascot, wooden games on the walls and photographs of the sky under the light fixtures. Everything is designed to give the 27,000 young patients needing care every year a more fun, relaxing and pleasant experience.
“Toys in hospital are a therapeutic tool in that they stimulate communication between the caregiver and the patient. It’s always the caregivers that give the toys to the children. This helps them build a rapport (when they first arrive or after treatment) and create a bond during their hospital stay. That’s what our charity does best.
Toys don’t stop the children from having difficult moments, but they do help to change their attitude from one of apprehension to one of positivity towards the caregiver. Ludopital’s secondary role is renovating the environment the children are in (e.g. waiting rooms, bedroom doors and corridors). We like the décor to stimulate their imaginations, for example by painting murals of cartoon characters on the walls. The aim is to help the children forget where they are and let their imaginations carry them away.
I’m responsible for donations and event planning. I liaise with companies to get donations of money and toys. We recently celebrated distributing 2 million toys in 30 years to hospitals in Greater Lille. That’s about 70,000 toys a year! The hospitals get in touch with us directly to tell us what they need (the types of toys and ages of the children). The charity needs about 150,000 euros a year to operate. As we only receive 10,000 euros a year in subsidies, donations are essential.
ÏDKIDS has been a long-term partner of ours through its foundation. I starting working for the charity about 10 years ago and it was one of my first contacts. Its community values are firmly rooted in the ÏDKIDS community, and I believe strongly in this concept. With both organizations based in the Hauts-de-France region, it makes it a lot easier to hold face-to-face meetings.
The quality of these discussions is important as they help to build strong personal relationships over time. When the ÏDKIDS community staff came to help us sort through the toys we felt like they were really supporting us. As well as help with sorting, their empathy for our work gave us a real boost. Although they were all from different parts of the business (head office and the store network), they all worked together for the same cause and left convinced that toys are vital to children in hospital.
All charities need help and volunteers, but what drives me personally is knowing I’m doing something useful and making a real difference to people’s lives. We know this is the case as our donations receive minimum processing so that we derive as much benefit as possible from them and see real results. That’s also good for our partners to know.”