Volunteers needed to help cheer up children on the wards at Southampton General Hospital

Watch: ITV News Meridian's Kara Digby finds out why play time makes a difference to children at Southampton General Hospital

Volunteers at a children's hospital radio station in Hampshire are on the lookout for more people to join the team.

Radio Lollipop Southampton, based at the city's general hospital, not only runs a station, but volunteers take the time to play games, puzzles and do crafts with children on the wards to brighten up their day.

Eva Bushnell, 10, is in hospital after being involved in a car accident.

She's had surgery on her neck and so during her recovery, any chance to colour or play a game is a welcome distraction.

She said: "Yeah I enjoyed it - it was amazing. They are there to make everyone not bored."

"I love Guess Who, and colouring."

Radio Lollipop volunteers visit 10-year-old Eva to colour and play Guess Who? Credit: ITV News Meridian

It has been more than two and half years since Radio Lollipop could return to Southampton General Hospital.

Now that covid restrictions have eased, the team are excited to come in every Thursday between 6pm-8pm to cheer up the children, during what can be a stressful time.

Maddie Horst, a volunteer at Radio Lollipop said: "It's been really good - there's some children we've seen more than once and they've been really excited to see us and get the games out.

"Sometime you have some that aren't so sure when you first show up, and then you play a couple games and they get into it."

Becca Frost, another volunteer, said: "I think it's just seeing the kid's faces and seeing how much joy it brings them.

"Also the five minutes the parents can have to just breathe and relax and have some time to themselves - because they just don't get that."

Lily Veal, 11, has had hip surgery for an existing condition. Her mum says when Lily heard about Radio Lollipop dropping by - it was the first time she'd smiled since being on the ward.

Lily was excited to play along to 'Jingle Bells' with her mum Tracy, and volunteers Becca and Maddie. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Her mum, Tracy, said: "It's been amazing because she's not been able to get out of bed since her surgery and she's been in lot of pain and the distraction - to see her smiling - was everything. She obviously enjoyed it and it's nice to see her interacting."

Maddie and Becca are two of the six volunteers at the station.

With the pandemic taking a toll on numbers, the team is looking for more people to get involved; either with the ward visits, or helping to kickstart the station's broadcasts.

Becca said: "The more volunteers we have the more children we can reach. We work in pairs - so if we have two lots of pairs going - we can see double the amount of children on the wards at a time.

"We're hoping to get the radio up and running, and then there's a new Radio Lollipop app so the kids can download it and then listen to the music live.

"So hopefully we'll get some volunteers that have got radio experience as well."

Maddie added: "Hospital is simultaneously really scary and really boring. So I think when we do this, we're making a difference to that - and that's really good."

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is asked to contact the voluntary services team at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Alternatively they can email southampton@radiolollipop.org.