SPREAD a Smile, the charity on a mission to bring joy and laughter to seriously ill children in hospital via talented entertainers including musicians, artists, magicians and therapy dogs, has appointed Roxane Caplan as Director of Strategy & Operations.
Formerly Head of Services for charity, YoungMinds where she was instrumental in transforming Parent and Carer services, enabling more families to receive support, Roxane joined Spread a Smile in January. Her role will see her lead on the strategic growth of the charity and support the Chief Executive in the smooth running of Spread a Smile as it continues to expand. Roxane will work in tandem with the Chief Executive and Director of Services to deliver the vision of ensuring all seriously ill children and teenagers wherever they are in the UK have access to the full range of Spread a Smile services. In her new role, Caplan will also be working closely with healthcare professionals, and building relationships with hospitals.
Having worked in both the private and voluntary sectors and spanning 20 years, Caplan has held up roles in marketing, fundraising, campaigns and communications, services, strategy and operations, several sat within senior leadership functions.
“I am passionate about supporting children and their families and feel privileged to work for a charity that is dedicated to supporting seriously ill children and young people, either during hospital stays or at home through its range of brilliant services.
“During my first couple of weeks at Spread a Smile, I have visited Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London Hospital and witnessed the joy that Spread a Smile brings to a diverse range of children, some as young as 18 months, others young adults. Within minutes of meeting our staff, I saw children smiling and laughing despite the obvious pain and challenging circumstances they find themselves in, creating happy moments and memories with their families during their most difficult of times.
“It was a privilege to see first hand, the difference Spread a Smile makes on a daily basis, facilitating connections, reducing anxiety, improving wellbeing and making hospital stays less isolating and frightening.
“I am very much looking forward to working with the brilliant Spread a Smile team to see how we can do even more to help and support when and where we are needed most.”
Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said:
“The demand for Spread a Smile’s services is forever growing and it is our aim to be there for as many families who need us as possible. We are delighted that Roxane has joined us to help us do just that and to ensure that we continue to grow, achieve and succeed, fulfilling our charitable aims to the highest possible standard.”
In 2023-24, Spread a Smile will deliver over 12,000 in-person bedside visits and over 2,000 virtual visits, in partnership with 31 NHS hospitals and four hospice partners, with the aim to increase the number of partners to 38 this year.
Spread a Smile brings joy and laughter to seriously ill children in hospitals and hospices across the UK.
Since 2013, when the charity was founded, it has built a reputation for developing bespoke relationships with each family and each health setting, so that it can offer the most impactful support. The Spread a Smile work delivers a meaningful change to each child’s well-being, mental health and recovery process.