Radio Lollipop – children’s hospital radio

Back in April, Stewart Priest from Glasgow got in touch with me about an idea he’d had.

I’m the Chief Engineer for Radio Lollipop in Glasgow. Radio Lollipop is a charity whose volunteers provide care, comfort, play and entertainment to children in hospital. We’re primarily a play service for inpatients in children’s hospitals, but as our name suggests, we also provide a radio service.

I’m currently having problems getting our signal to the oncology ward playroom – it’s the only area in the ward which can’t get our signal, so I got the OK from the hospital IT department (it’s handy that I work there!) to stream via their wifi infrastructure. Unfortunately though, the level of encryption they use (WPA2-Enterprise/PEAP, if you’re wondering!) isn’t supported by ANY off-the-shelf wifi radio currently available on the market.

Enter the Pi.

The Raspberry Pi worked a treat, the poorly kids in the oncology ward playroom were able to listen to their radio station, and Stewart started to think about what else he could do with the Pi. An email a couple of months later said:

I’m also hopeful of being able to produce a radio case in a small run for other people to use in their radio projects which could then be sold and raise a little extra cash for Radio Lollipop – we are entirely run by volunteers and get no funding from the NHS or charitable trusts connected to the hospitals we work in.

He’s just finished doing exactly that. And here it is: the first working prototype of the Radio Lollipop Pi-powered radio in a box. Cute, isn’t it?

Stewart is talking to Jon at Pimoroni about getting a PCB run spun up to make a number of these for Radio Lollipop stations across the world, and I hope he’ll put some up for auction too – I can think of a number of people who read this site who would be interested in bidding on them to raise money for Radio Lollipop. (And yes, before you ask, this is an instance of something we are very proud to allow use of the Raspberry Pi logo on.)

In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to Radio Lollipop – they’re entirely reliant on your donations for the important service they provide in hospitals across the world – you can do so here, or click on the image above. They provide much more than a radio station, with volunteers who visit the bedside to play games, chat, run art projects and much more. Please donate if you can.