Toddlers and teenagers put on their dancing shoes to raise funds for the Royal Free Hospital group’s three A&E departments in Hampstead, Barnet and Enfield.

The 90 youngsters, aged from two to 15, are members of Hampstead’s House of Ballet dance school who took up the NHS ‘Shift Challenge’ with a sponsored dance on November 26 to pay for extra facilities for staff and patients in the emergency departments.

 “We are supporting our local NHS heroes,” the school’s founder Lucy Heard said. “The pupils dance non-stop for an hour for the Royal Free’s amazing A&E staff who walk up to 11 miles in a single shift.

“Our youngsters dance whatever style or format they choose, whether pirouettes, moonwalks or robotic style.

“The goal is to go the distance, just like our A&E staff do every day and night.”

The NHS charity that the dance school is supporting is raising funds to pay for extra A&E facilities at all three hospitals in the Royal Free group, including Barnet General and Chase Farm in Enfield, that can’t be met out of hospital budgets.

The charity’s chief executive Jon Spiers said: “We’re helping the hospital trust to go further than NHS funding alone.

“We can’t create extra hours in the day for our dedicated staff or fix the bigger problems in the system. What we can do is improve the overall situation for everyone, staff and patients.”

Funds are needed for things like ‘calming’ spaces for children with neurodivergent conditions to help reduce distress, as well as measures to reduce disorientation and distress for patients with dementia.

The hospital is also hoping to buy orthopaedic seating for patients in discomfort, mattresses for patients having to wait on trolleys in A&E to reduce the risk of pressure sores and for toys and activities for children waiting for treatment.

They could also do with some cash to spruce up rest areas for the NHS heroes of A&E needing to take a break during their 12-hour shifts.

Well-wishers including businesses in north London are being urged to sign up the A&E Shift Challenge. This could be competing a 10k run every day throughout November, a pub quiz or a sponsored gaming ‘streamathon’.

The House of Ballet is doing it with sponsored dance. Their fundraising for the Royal Free is online at: