Charity donates life-changing technology for children at Essex children’s hospice

October 29, 2019 by

Children receiving care at Little Havens Children’s Hospice in Benfleet have received a donation of life-changing technology worth thousands of pounds from children’s charity Lifelites.

Many of the children using the services at Little Havens have complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions, but the specialist technology which Lifelites has donated can give them the opportunity to do things they never dreamed of. It enables them to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as is it possible.  

The technology, along with training and technical support services which the charity provides for free, costs around £50,000 over four years. After four years, the charity will return to replace the equipment with the latest, up to date technology.

One of the pieces of equipment donated was a Mobile Magic Carpet. This is a portable unit which projects an image on to the floor, a wheelchair tray 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 enjoyed by children with disabilities. Lifelites also gave the charity vouchers for further training and technical support.

Using the Eyegaze technology, nine-year old Ruby was able to tell us what she thought of the new equipment. “Cool, cool, fantastic. I think it is interesting.”

Head of Children’s Services at Havens Hospices, Katie White says, “We are overwhelmed by this incredibly generous donation. At Little Havens, we want to empower our children as much as possible and help them reach their potential, and this technology allows us to encourage this by stimulating their senses and allowing them to get involved, no matter how complex their condition.”

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “We’re delighted to be able to donate some of our magical technology for the children and young people at Little Havens. The huge range of equipment is specially adapted so that it can be used by anyone, regardless of their disability. Every moment is precious for these children and their families, and this technology will give them the opportunities they deserve to make the most of whatever time they have left. 

“We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our supporters, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”

One supporter, John Finlay - Assistant PGM of the Mark Masons Essex added, “This equipment is absolutely marvellous. The opportunity it gives children to interact in the world around them is a wonderful thing to see.”

Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles over the last 20 years, and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have a chance to escape the confines of their conditions.

Lifelites were only able to donate this package of technology due to the generosity of supporters. They were the Mark Benevolent Fund, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex, Freemasons of Essex, the ROSCA Trust, GamesAid and Microsoft.

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