The Drop-in Centre is changing

The Hub 

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) are pleased to have funded the current drop-in centre service since it opened over ten years ago.  The service has been appreciated by families who have used it and we are grateful to the staff team for their work over the years. 

However, in anticipation of the move to the new hospital and in recognition of the increasing age range of the hospital (from 13 to 16 years), ECHC is taking the opportunity to redesign the service to better meet the needs of children, young people and their families in the new children’s hospital.  The future service will be provided to the NHS by the charity and therefore a new team will be recruited to deliver this.

We will be providing youth work, child and family support through a range of activities including group and peer support.  Our aim is to reach as many children, young people and families as possible, who could benefit from support at a time of worry or distress.   

The Drop in Centre will be known as The Hub once we move to our new home within the new hospital but will continue in its current facilities until the move. 

Find out below:

  • Why we’re changing 
  • Who will benefit 
  • What the new service will provide

Why are we changing?

Changing needs of children and young people - The age range at the new hospital will rise from 13 years to 16 years.  Playrooms in the new hospital are predominantly aimed at the under 12s.  The new service will look to provide a range of age appropriate support and activities for all age groups.


Changing needs of families - At the moment, the reason most given by families for using the Drop in Centre is to find some space away from the wards.  There will be a fabulous new family hotel within the new hospital, offering a range of sitting areas; and the hospital itself has a number of sitting and dining areas.  This increased number of spaces away from wards, for families to use, means the motivation for using our service will change.  We want to encourage families to come to The Hub when they are needing support or advice.


Reaching more children, young people and families - The Hub will be in close proximity to the new Outpatients Department and with a busier Emergency Department at the new hospital, both will create opportunities to work more closely with departments to support times of waiting between treatments/ procedures.  Part of the role of The Hub team will be to actively promote the service to make sure as many children, young people, families and staff as possible know about and access the service.

Widening support to include mental health and wellbeing - Tier 4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are moving into the hospital building and we will work with CAMHS to encourage young people, who they work with, to access The Hub service.

Location of hospital and lack of access to amenities - Location of hospital and lack of alternative amenities in the Little France area, mean we think the service should be available to families in the evenings, at weekends and during the holidays.

Who will benefit?


  • Young people over the age of 10 who are regular attenders or current inpatients at RHCYP or use the services of CAMHS, either as day patients or inpatients; and would benefit from youth work interventions.
  • Children of all ages who want to take part in a range of activities aimed at providing distraction and reducing anxiety; or who have periods of waiting between procedures/treatments or who are inpatients.
  • Parents and carers who are looking for more than a ‘space away from the wards’ and are looking specifically for support and advice at times of distress, worry or waiting.
  • Staff in The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, and CAMHS, who require a complementary service to support their clinical work with children and young people; or wish to use the space to host condition-specific workshops.


What are we aiming to achieve with the new service?


To transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital so they can be a child first and a patient second:

  • Children and young people’s lives will be less interrupted by illness
  • Children and young people will be less scared and have a more positive experience of hospital
  • Children and young people’s families will be better supported and comforted.


What sort of things will be provided?

  • weekly programme of focussed activities and support services, in an age appropriate, engaging facility
  • complementary programmes which support children and young people to engage with treatment and feel less anxious or stressed
  • support to young people staying in the CAMHS unit to encourage their use of ‘The Hub’
  • peer support programmes for young people and opportunities for young volunteering 
  • peer support programmes for parents/ carers 
  • group work including youth groups
  • signposting children, young people and their families to places of support and advice, facilitating introductions if required or providing ‘The Hub’ as a location for information/advice sessions
  • linking with the ECHC Arts Programme and hospital play service to provide meaningful engagements for children and young people. 

And the important things we’re keeping…

  • Hot cups of tea and plenty of biscuits
  • Chats with staff when families need to offload
  •  A homely environment where everyone is welcome
  • Toys, books, games, arts and crafts
  • Staff with the skills and empathy to support children, young people and families at times of anxiety, worry, distress or bereavement.  
  • A team of volunteers, with a range of relevant skills, to help give extra support to children, young people and families
  • Complementary therapies provided within The Hub for anyone feeling tired, stressed or in need of some relaxation

We intend to build on the services that the Drop in Centre currently provides to create a resource that reaches even more children, young people and families. 


How it will look


We don’t know exactly when we will move to the new hospital, other than it will be in autumn of this year.  ECHC will take over the running of the current Drop in Centre and this will continue for as long as the hospital is open at Sciennes.

Once we move, The Hub (as it will then be known), will be housed within the hospital building.  This is good news as it means that no-one has to leave the building to access the facilities.

The Hub will:

  • be completely wheelchair accessible and have accessible toilets
  • be located on the ground floor of the hospital, close to outpatients
  •  and within the ‘Family Support’ corridor
  • have kitchen/dining area
  • have an indoor play area, sitting room and TV room
  • have access to an outdoor space
  • have a complementary therapy room.

It is being designed through an engagement programme with children, young people and families who use the drop in centre currently, by a company called Dress for the Weather.  The space will look and feel very different to the rest of the hospital.  Below is an artist impression but we will aim to get more pictures of the actual space up as soon as we can.


The team

The service will be run by a team of:

  • Service Manager
  • Two Project Workers
  • Sessional Workers
  • A team of Volunteers with relevant skills and experience 

The team will all have youth work, family support and/ or community education qualifications and will have significant experience of working with children, young people and families. 


Between them, they will have experience of:

  • working in a hospital environment
  • working with families of children with complex and/or long term conditions
  • supporting children, young people and families at times of anxiety, stress or bereavement
  • engaging with children, young people and families to create services which are needed
  • and a good knowledge of other organisations and agencies which families could be signposted to for help and support

As soon as we’re able, we will provide information on who the team are and their backgrounds, skills and experience. 

There is a gap of a few days between the new permanent staff team commencing and the current team leaving and during this time we have identified a temporary team who can keep the Centre open.  We do not want any period of closure for families.


We'd love to hear from you so we get this right



We know that you will have thoughts and views on what you like about the current service and also ideas for how we could develop in the future.  We would love to hear from you as we shape this new service to make sure we get it right for as many children, young people and families as we can.