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Starlight launches Livewire to support Brisbane teens

Today, the Starlight Children's Foundation will officially launch its innovative adolescent program, Livewire, at the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane to support seriously ill young people, through peer-to-peer interaction.

The launch is made possible thanks to a $1.5 million grant from nib foundation to support Livewire for three years.

The Livewire In-Hospital program helps to transform the experience of hospitalisation and treatment for adolescents through ward-based activities, special workshops and a space where young people can interact with each other.

Starlight Children's Foundation, Chief Executive, Louise Baxter, said: "We're delighted to launch the Livewire program at the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, which supported 21,072 total inpatient admissions from 2011 to 2012. Adolescents are a growing group with special requirements and represent around 15% of admissions.

“Bringing Livewire to this hospital, as well as the other five major paediatric hospitals in Australia, ensures we will reach the most seriously ill young people in the country and support them to become more resilient young adults."

Led by professional facilitators during special adolescent-only evening sessions, the program features a range of creative activities including music, film-making and art. The activities allow young people to leave the ward environment, connect with their peers, explore new interests and enhance their skills.

“Adolescence is a challenging time, and even more so for seriously ill young people who face very different issues and are often the most socially isolated youths," Baxter said.

Livewire utilises creative activities and peer support to allow adolescents to find a balance in their lives, despite time in hospital or time away from school, and encourages social connection, friendship and community.

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch, said, supporting health and wellbeing programs such as Livewire is at the heart of nib foundation’s charter.

“With survival rates among seriously ill adolescents increasing for most conditions, programs such as Livewire are becoming increasingly important.

We are delighted to partner with Starlight to help deliver such an important program that will assist seriously ill teenagers get through what is a difficult time in their lives."

To celebrate the launch of Livewire, Sydney hair stylist Scott Sloan of Sloans of Lane Cove, will team up with Livewire to create a pop-up hair and makeup salon inside the Mater Children’s Hospital to brighten the day for chronically ill adolescents later this week, on Wednesday, 29 June from 2pm to 5pm.

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