A fundraising campaign has been launched to bring Clown Doctors to work at children’s wards at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The Clown Doctors programme works to help youngsters up to the age of 18 with their recovery while staying in hospital.
Sunderland Royal Hospital has two large children’s wards and is one of the busiest children’s A&E units in the country.
Raising £5,000 through a crowdfunding campaign will allow The Children’s Foundation to run the project for six months in Sunderland.
Jonathan Clegg, from The Children’s Foundation, said: "The Clown Doctor Programme is already into its third year at The Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH) and is extremely successful.
"As a result of positive feedback from children, families and health professionals, we’re now aiming to expand the programme into other hospitals across the region, starting with the Sunderland Royal Hospital."
The Clown Doctors Programme supports youngsters’ recovery using storytelling, music, improvisation, humour and play.
Helga Charters, Matron for Children’s Services at GNCH, said: "The Clown Doctors have been one of the most positive additions to our directorate.
"I have witnessed the change in some children from being withdrawn, scared and anxious to confident and happy."
Clown Doctors work in pairs and will often spend up to 20 minutes with individual children. They work closely with play specialists, nurses and other health specialists.
They are all local professional artists who have been trained in the art of clowning. They undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service.
To make a pledge, visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/clown-drs.