National children’s charity Lifelites has donated a package of specialist technologies for children at St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle.
The children and young people who visit the hospice for short breaks will be able to use the equipment to play games, be creative and communicate with their families, something which may be impossible for them to do otherwise.
The package of equipment and services – which is worth £50,000 over its four year lifespan – was donated completely free of charge by Lifelites. The charity also provides ongoing technical support and training for the hospice staff.
One of the pieces of equipment donated was a Magic Carpet. This is a portable box which projects an image on to the floor, a wheelchair or a bed, which children can interact with. This technology gives them the chance to escape the confines of their condition and play one of the many games or animations, such as playing football or splashing in the sea.
The children also received an Eyegaze. This is a piece of equipment which allows those with limited mobility to control a computer using just their eyes. By using the Eyegaze, children who struggle to communicate with their family and their carers are able to do so – often for the first time.
Other items donated include iPads, touchscreen computers along with lots of games and other software specially designed to be accessible for children with disabilities.
After two days of staff training, families, donors and hospice staff gathered to celebrate the occasion and to officially hand the equipment over to the children and young adults at the hospice.
Carole Dixon, Children and Young Adults Service Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “The equipment Lifelites provides is invaluable to the children and young adults who come for short breaks at St Oswald’s Hospice, and is without a doubt one of the main reasons they look forward to staying with us! Regardless of their disabilities they are young people who want to do everything they see their peers doing, and the Lifelites equipment makes this possible. We’ve had the equipment a couple of weeks and it’s been very well used, our children and staff love using it.”
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “We are thrilled to be able to provide equipment for the children at St Oswald’s Hospice who have life-limiting, life-threatening and disabling conditions. The magical technology we have donated can be used to play, to be creative and communicate, and enrich the lives of these children and their families, for as long as is possible. We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”
Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles over the last 16 years, and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have unlimited possibilities.
Lifelites were able to donate the equipment for free due to the generosity of local donors. Among the donors were Newcastle based trusts The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust and The Rothley Trust. Others included The Morden Lodge (Freemasons), The Barbour Foundation, Microsoft, GamesAid, Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation and Children with Cancer.