National children’s charity Lifelites has donated a package of specialist technologies for children at Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry
The children who visit the hospice 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.
The charity was able to donate the equipment due to the generosity of donors. For this project, money was donated by the Warwickshire Freemasons, as well as the Khoo Teck Puat Foundation, GamesAid, Microsoft and Children with Cancer UK.
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, cameras and 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 at the hospice.
Clare Walton, senior care assistant at Zoë’s Place said: 'The eye gaze equipment will revolutionise the experience that many of our children will have here at Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice. It has already been fantastic to see a glimpse of their full potential and it has been wonderful for the parents to witness just what their children are capable of. It is incredible for the staff and parents to be able to communicate with the children on a far deeper level than we have been able to without this equipment.
'The equipment has so many applications for us and a child can use it for leisure time, completing school work and general communication. It is very easy and intuitive to use and we are currently rolling out the training to all of our staff. We are so thrilled to have this and cannot thank everyone enough who made it happen.'
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: 'We are thrilled to be able to provide equipment for the children at Zoë’s Place 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.
Stay, play and learn
Three Zoë’s Place Baby Hospices are to receive packages of fun technology thanks to Lifelites.
The first was delivered to the Middlesbrough Hospice and contained an array of technology devices designed for babies and disabled youngsters. Simone Enefer-Doy, chief executive of Lifelites, says: ‘This is a great start to 2013 – we’re so pleased to turn our technological expertise to providing these babies and toddlers with new opportunities.’
A total of 13 children’s hospices will benefit from a Lifelites package this year, thanks to the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, which made a £60,000 donation towards the technology charity’s projects. A Lifelites package at each site costs around £37,500 to install and maintain over four years.
Lifelites was founded as a Millennium Project in 1999 and became a separate but subsidiary charity of the RMTGB in 2006, and continues to benefit from RMTGB support. Lifelites does not receive any central masonic funds, but raises money from different sources.
Masons make up the vast majority of Lifelites’ technical support volunteers for the projects it undertakes in children’s hospices.