Hooray for the wonderful Crumlin teachers. Hospital can be a scary place for the most seasoned grown-up. How much more so for children. They’re away from friends, family and pets and surrounded by strange people, smells, food, conversations, bedclothes and the rest. While there’s clearly a huge effort to make Crumlin a welcoming place, with paintings and smiley posters all over, the whiteness and brightness must still be daunting.
Go into the hospital school, though, and it’s all warm colours and laughter. I visit once a month to do creative writing with the children and come out not only inspired but with aching grin muscles. On top of teaching, the staff are brilliant encouragers, listeners, jokers and huggers: the best stand-in family you could have. The atmosphere of fun and kindness encourages creative crazies in young patients, from designing story cakes to deciding what sort of person Monday would be. It’s the best medicine.