Terminally ill and disabled children at the Demelza children’s hospice in south-east London have received a brand-new package of assistive technology worth £50,000, thanks to West Kent Freemasons’ support of specialist technology charity Lifelites
Lifelites has provided a range of specially adapted technology, including a Magic Carpet, which is a portable unit that projects interactive images onto a floor, bed or wheelchair tray, and equipment that enables children with limited mobility to make music or operate a computer using just their eyes.
Ann Fagg, care services lead at the hospice, said: ‘This very generous donation from Lifelites has made a world of difference to the children who use our facilities.’
Find out more: To learn more about the charity’s work, or to lend your support, visit www.lifelites.org
The United Grand Lodge of England’s Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton has lend his support and expertise to a new role as patron for Lifelites, the charity which donates and maintains inclusive technology for terminally ill and disabled children in hospices
Sir David was introduced to Lifelites through his role as Assistant Grand Master and as Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, a livery company for senior practitioners in the information technology industry. Since learning more about the charity’s work, he has decided to lend his name to help the organisation and the children it supports.
Sir David devotes much of his time to supporting charities and other non-profit organisations. He has previously worked with organisations such as The National Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, The King’s Fund and Charles Dickens Museum, among others.
Lifelites – originally a Freemasons’ millennium project but now a registered charity in its own right – donates and maintains specialist packages of assistive and inclusive technology for the 10,000 terminally ill and disabled children at every children’s hospice across the British Isles.
The technology the charity provides helps these children to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible. It gives them the opportunity to escape the confines of their disabilities and do the things which we take for granted, but which they never thought possible: paint a picture, make music, or play a game with their brothers and sisters.
Sir David Wootton said: ‘I am delighted to be in two organisations that are big supporters of Lifelites and am therefore doubly keen to support them. I recently visited their office and was shown what the dedicated team do there by their terrific Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy.
‘They have a musical instrument you can play just by passing your hand through a beam of light, a screen you can paint on in different colours electronically just with a move of the eye and the amazing magic carpet which projects an image or game on to the floor that you can actually interact with. These are all products of great imagination which transform these children’s lives and give them the chance to do what we all take for granted.’
Chief Executive of Lifelites Simone Enefer-Doy commented: ‘We are bowled over that Sir David has agreed to become a patron and support the work of Lifelites. We have no doubt that his status in the City Community will be perfect to assist us in raising the profile of Lifelites among this important audience.’
To find out more about Lifelites, please visit the website here.
LIFELITES is giving one lucky bookworm the chance to win The Ultimate Library of 100 signed books
The prize, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity, will be given away as part of an online raffle hosted on givergy.com, and tickets will cost just £5 each. That’s equivalent to just 5p per book, but to a book lover the prize will be priceless, as every single one is signed by the author or illustrator. Everyone who buys a ticket will also be helping to support the charity’s work providing and maintaining specialist technology to children in hospices across the British Isles.
The 100 signed books cover just about every genre including crime, romance, fantasy, historical, biographical, mystery, comedy, political, poetry, food, travel, and thriller.
Among the authors who have kindly donated are Jeffrey Archer, Julian Barnes, Alan Bennett, Tony Blair, Bernard Cornwell, Jonathan Dimbleby, Max Hastings, Douglas Hurd, P D James, John Le Carré, Michael Palin, Jeremy Paxman, Malcolm Rifkin, Stella Rimington and Ann Widecombe, among others.
As well as the top prize of 100 signed books, there will also be a second prize. The list of books in each prize can be found on the Lifelites website: http://www.lifelites.org/get-involved/enter-one-of-our-raffles/ultimate-library-of-100-signed-books
Every penny raised will support Lifelites’ work to enhance the lives of terminally ill and disabled children in hospices through the power of technology. The charity donates and maintains cutting-edge, accessible equipment to give these children with limited lives unlimited possibilities. The equipment, staff training and ongoing support costs Lifelites over £1,000 a month per hospice but the charity donates this completely free of charge.
Fundraising and PR manager Dominic Hourd said: 'Lifelites is so excited to be offering this prize. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are extremely grateful to every author who has kindly donated a signed book. Each one will help us raise money for all 10,000 terminally ill and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles.'
The raffle is live now and will end on February 10th. Visit the Givergy website to buy tickets: https://www.givergy.com/listing/lifelites/win-the-ultimate-library-of-100-signed-books
RW Bro David Hagger, Provincial Grand Masterfor Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, visited the headquarters of Lifelites on Wednesday 15th December 2016 for a demonstration of some of the equipment that is provided by the charity to children’s hospices
Lifelites began as project within the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and became an independent charity in 2006. It provides specialist entertainment, educational and assistive technology packages to over 9,000 children and young people with life-limiting, life-threatening and disabling conditions in children's hospices including Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People based in Loughborough.
Caroline Powell, Lifelites Training Manager, drives the Lifelites' training strategy to ensure all of the donated equipment is utilised to its full potential by hospice staff was delighted to demonstrate some of the equipment including Eyegaze which makes a computer accessible for disabled young people. Through a sensor, Eyegaze allows them to track their eye movements enabling them to move the cursor around the screen. Children whose carers and families thought they were unable to communicate, can now do so with this magical technology – they can tell their carers what they would like to eat or drink and can even, for the first time, tell their parents that they love them.
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: 'We are hoping to provide Rainbows in Leicestershire with another new package of our latest technologies in 2018 and will be fundraising for that project in the New Year.'
Could you be a superhero for the day and run for Lifelites, the charity which donates specialist technology packages to terminally ill and disabled children?
The charity has places in the Superhero Run, which takes place in London’s Regents Park in May.
The run is a fantastic event for runners of all abilities and you have the option of choosing a 5km course or a 10km course. It’s a great opportunity to dress up, have some fun, raise money for Lifelites and run against the backdrop of one of London’s stunning royal parks.
The run takes place at 11.00am on Sunday 12th May in London’s Regents Park. Registration costs £25 and runners of all abilities are welcome, you can even jog or walk it. All participants will be given their own superhero costume for free, but you can also come along in your own.
You can take the whole family along too, children up to the age of 8 years old can take part in a free 200m run, ages 8-15 can register for £10 and take part in the 5K or 10K run, and over the age of 15 pay £25.
Lifelites was originally a Freemasons’ millennium project, but is now a separate charity and works incredibly hard to raise funds. All the money goes towards donating specially adapted equipment to children in hospices. This technology allows them to play, be creative, communicate and control something for themselves. The charity has donated equipment to every children’s hospice across the British Isles, and funds raised from your run can be spent on the Lifelites project of your choice.
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.
Setting the stage
Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jasmine Elcock is hitting the high notes thanks to strong masonic support for her family, as Peter Watts discovers
‘Jasmine has always been singing,’ says Julian Elcock, adding with a laugh, ‘She even used to sing in her sleep.’ Julian, a mason since 2008, is talking about his 14-year-old daughter Jasmine, who provoked standing ovations, tears and Golden Buzzers as she sang her way to fourth place in the final of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent.
The result of talent and hard work, Jasmine’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the masons, who provided financial and emotional support after her dad’s business collapsed.
Jasmine beams as she recalls her audition on Britain’s Got Talent when her performance of Cher’s Believe wowed presenters Ant and Dec so much that they activated the Golden Buzzer, which automatically put her straight into the semi-final. ‘When Ant and Dec ran on to the stage I thought they were going to give me a hug, but then they pressed the Golden Buzzer and everything changed. To touch people’s emotions like that was amazing.’
After the audition, the family drove all the way from London to Durham so Jasmine could appear at a masonic event. ‘We drove for four hours, but nobody felt tired because we were on such a high after what had happened,’ says Julian.
As she progressed to the final, Jasmine received tremendous support from those around her. ‘My friends were very supportive,’ says Jasmine, who had to keep her involvement in Britain’s Got Talent secret for six months. ‘That was very hard – but when they found out, they leafleted the streets and put posters up asking people to vote for me.’
Jasmine is delighted to have come this far. ‘Just to get to the final and get fourth place out of thousands of people from all over the UK – as a 14-year-old, that’s something I’m proud of,’ she says.
More support came from the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, now part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). Les Hutchinson, Chief Operating Officer of the MCF, has known Jasmine for years, as he attends the same lodge as Julian, Fortis Green, No. 5145. ‘We always knew Jasmine was special,’ he says. ‘Julian would come to meetings with YouTube clips of her performing in talent contests. She was competing in Britain’s Got Talent on the same evening as a lodge meeting, so I encouraged all the members to get their phones out to vote.’
A way of life
The Freemasons supported the Elcock family with a grant to ease the financial distress they faced and provided a package of support for Jasmine and her brother Michael, including termly maintenance allowances and dancing and music lessons. In the time that the masons have supported her, Jasmine has also performed on the West End stage.
For the Elcocks, entertainment is a way of life. All three of Julian’s brothers are musicians and Jasmine’s brother Michael is a talented actor, poet and dancer, who has performed at London’s Barbican and studies at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. ‘Whenever Michael is looking for some advice for a song he turns to Jasmine and singing starts all over the house,’ says Julian.
Jasmine admires artists like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, whom she terms the ‘big belters’. Their diva approach seems a world apart from Jasmine’s unassuming personality, but she explains that their voices and how they presented themselves on stage inspires her. ‘It’s the hand movements, the gestures, how they stand,’ she says. ‘It helps me with my own performances. It’s the whole package.’
Both Michael’s and Jasmine’s talent has been nurtured by a succession of teachers and courses, while Jasmine has been attending talent shows for years. It takes discipline to make the most of such a talent, and Jasmine has to attend regular one-on-one lessons, complete singing homework after school, and watch her diet. ‘With using your lungs and diaphragm, you need to be fit,’ she explains.
Since the support of the masonic charities was fundamental in nurturing Jasmine’s voice, it’s no surprise that Julian describes his decision to join the masons in 2008 as one of the best he ever made. ‘Everything I read said it helped you to become a better person,’ says Julian, an accountant who ran his own transport business. ‘I met interesting people who could give advice and support, and developed rapport and friendships with people I could trust.’
‘They pressed the Golden Buzzer and everything changed. To touch people’s emotions like that was amazing.’ Jasmine Elcock
Making a contribution
When Julian lost his business in 2009, Les suggested he apply for help. ‘But I had a lot of pride and felt the business was always going to survive,’ remembers Julian. ‘Then I was given 28 days before the bank repossessed my house, and that was when I called the charity. It stepped in straight away and I also got back into employment. Through that, Jasmine and Michael could continue to develop. I can’t think what would have happened without that.’
Les is delighted that the support of masons has had such an inspiring, tangible result but emphasises that the MCF should not be seen as a last resort but a source of assistance as and when it is needed. ‘If you are a Freemason or the son, daughter, stepchild or grandchild of a Freemason and are in need of support, we urge you to come forward as soon as possible,’ he says. ‘I know that pride can be a stumbling block, but please come forward. We noticed in the last recession that we did not reach the peak in applications until about two years after it happened. People in need of support were struggling on for far too long.’
Mindful of the support she received from the masonic community, Jasmine has become a patron of the masonic charity Lifelites. Visiting children’s hospices and backing Lifelites’ fundraising campaigns, she is proud to take part and make a contribution: ‘Freemasons supported me and my family, so it’s nice to give something back in return.’
‘We always knew Jasmine was special. Julian would come to meetings with YouTube clips.’ Les Hutchinson
Lifelites charity announces youngest celebrity Patron
Lifelites has announced their latest and youngest Patron, Britain’s Got Talent 2016 finalist and Golden Buzzer winner, Jasmine Elcock. Jasmine, 14, is the daughter of a London Freemason
Lifelites – recently recognised for their good work with technology as a 2015 Nominet Trust 100 winner – is the only charity to provide assistive and inclusive technology packages for terminally ill and disabled children in every baby and children’s hospice across the British Isles. The package of technologies is both donated and maintained by the charity and includes items like special iPad communication packages, Eyegaze eye-operated computers and interactive magic carpets.
Talented young singer Jasmine Elcock, who is from Dagenham, Essex, was a favourite amongst this year’s Britain’s Got Talent viewers and especially with presenters Ant and Dec who chose Jasmine as their Golden Buzzer winner. She wowed the judges with her beautiful performances and her charm and likeability shone through, even impressing BGT boss Simon Cowell.
Jasmine visited Lifelites with her father Julian Elcock at their offices to learn more about their work with children’s hospices. Jasmine’s father is a member of Fortis Green Lodge No. 5145 and has been a Freemason for over eight years. He has had some involvement with Lifelites some years ago representing the charity in the Lord Mayor’s Parade. As a new Patron, Jasmine will help to raise awareness of Lifelites’ work in children’s hospices. She will support the charity in a variety of ways, including visiting children’s hospices and backing their fundraising campaigns. Lifelites is extremely grateful for her support and is delighted to welcome young Jasmine as their newest advocate.
Jasmine said: 'My life has been transformed through music making and it is a great joy to be able to express myself through singing; I’m delighted to see the magical technology that Lifelites provides can offer similar transformational experiences for terminally ill and disabled children in hospices. I am proud and privileged to help raise awareness of the work of Lifelites and am looking forward to being a Patron of the charity.'
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites, said: 'We are so excited that this lovely young woman has agreed to lend Lifelites her support. Jasmine will be a great advocate for Lifelites. She is likeable and has won the nation’s hearts through Britain’s Got Talent so she’ll be good at attracting attention to our great cause. We’re really looking forward to working with Jasmine in the near future and welcoming her on board #TeamLifelites.'
Jasmine Elcock joins a star studded line-up of Lifelites Patrons which includes Dame Esther Rantzen, Rick Wakeman, Peter Bowles, Joe Pasquale, Anita Dobson and Lord Cadogan (among others).
Lifelites is pleased to announce that they have been shortlisted in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards 2016 in the category Charity Digital Leader of the Year. 500 projects have been nominated and Lifelites made the final 100. The charity are up against nine other organisations in the same category. Lifelites was also a 2015 Nominet Trust 100 winner for their good work with technology.
Lifelites is the only charity to provide assistive and inclusive technology packages for life limited and disabled children in every baby and children’s hospice across the British Isles.
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites, said: 'It’s fantastic news that our charity has been shortlisted in the category Charity Digital Leader of the Year. We provide these magical technologies for the children to enhance their short lives and give them opportunities they may not otherwise have. It’s a voting process and we need as many votes as possible to win the award in our category so, if you're inspired by the work we do providing technology for terminally ill and disabled children in hospices please click on the link and vote for us. Please forward this information to your networks, tweet and share this news on your Facebook page to help us spread the word about voting for Lifelites.'
Voting closes on the 27th May 2016
Voting link: http://www.digileaders100.com/vote/#charity
Dame Esther Rantzen in Lifelites video
The national children’s technology charity Lifelites has launched a fundraising video campaign featuring its latest patron, television presenter and broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen.
Last year Lifelites was a 2015 Nominet Trust 100 winner, and is the only charity to provide assistive and inclusive technology packages for terminally ill and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles.
Dame Esther is featured in Lifelites’ latest awareness video, shown speaking to staff and young people at children’s hospices about the impact of the charity’s donation.