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Sheffield Children’s Eleanor Tidswell wins Dame Barbara Clayton Award for innovative activities

Image of Eleanor holiday her Dame Barbara Clayton award in front of a pull up banner
13 July 2023

We’re delighted to announce that Eleanor Tidswell, Renal Specialist Paediatric Dietitian, has won a Dame Barbara Clayton Award 2023 – an award which recognises where dietetic services have demonstrated innovative and new ways of working. 

Eleanor has designed bespoke activity placemats for her renal patients to help them gain a greater understanding into the specific diets that they’re following. When a child or young person needs help from our renal dietitians it is because their renal system is not working very well and this can be helped through diet changes. Commonly seen conditions include chronic kidney disease, renal tubular disorders, and nephrotic syndrome. 

Dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals. They use the most current evidence on food, health, and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. 

Initially diet education was provided through booklets which were given to the parents or carers to understand but Eleanor’s activity placemats are specifically created for children, to educate them on being mindful of their diets. Through activities such as fill in the blanks, naming pictures, colouring, top tips and more, children and young people can learn and engage with their diet. 

Eleanor said: “The activity placemats are a fun way of engaging and educating children and young people. They are designed to go on meal trays and are given to patients requiring a renal menu. The advice they provide to young people is also timely given it is at mealtimes.   

“The sheets help explain differences between the renal and standard menu that other children may be having. The activity placemats can also be used out of dietetic hours, so it prevents any delay in giving patients nutritional advice about a renal diet. 

“I feel so honoured to have been given this award. I feel it reflects not only the work I have put into this service but the tremendous efforts of the whole renal team. Dr Ehidiamhen, Consultant Paediatrician with a Special Interest in Nephrology, and Dr Lunn, Paediatric Consultant Nephrologist, have worked tirelessly hard to establish an incredible renal service. They have been exceptionally supportive of my work as they really do want to ensure our patients get the very best care and always love it when this can be provided in a fun, patient-focused way.” 

Lynn Hagin, Head of Dietetics at Sheffield Children’s, added: “I am delighted that Eleanor has been awarded the Dame Barbara Clayton Award for Innovation. I am very proud of the work she has done in thinking of and developing different ways to educate children and young people on the importance of their diet in a fun way.” 

Also, excitingly, these activity placemats are being adapted and produced for children across the country. Dietitians will be able to access the sheets from a variety of NHS trusts to help with educating their patients.  

Eleanor said: “I am thrilled that the sheets will be used across the country. We have not only supported our own patients but also those up and down the country!” 

A huge congratulations Eleanor, we’re thrilled to have you as part of the Sheffield Children’s team! 

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