SHOOTING Star Children’s Hospices have received a donation of life-changing technology worth thousands of pounds from children’s charity Lifelites.
The leading children’s hospice charity offers specialist medical and holistic care to around 700 families who have a baby, child, or young adult with a life-limiting condition or who have been bereaved across west London and Surrey.
For many of the children supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, being given different sensory ways to communicate, play and be creative is very important – helping them interact with the world around them. The specialist technology from Lifelites, donated to the charity’s west London-based hospice, Shooting Star House in Hampton, gives children the opportunity to have fun, play, relax and be stimulated.
The technology, along with training and technical support services which Lifelites provide for free, costs around £46,000 over four years. After this time, Lifelites aim to return to replace the equipment with the latest, up-to-date technology. Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is one of Lifelites longest partnerships, having supported them since 2005.
One of the pieces of equipment donated is the POD tent, a mobile and sensory pop-up tent that offers room for every child, irrespective of their abilities. Coming in a handy rucksack, and making it portable, the sensory tent allows the user to enter a calm and happy virtual world where children are surrounded by colourful images, and they can listen to built-in calming music and stories to enhance the experience.
Another piece donated is the Eyegaze. This equipment allows children with limited mobility to control a computer by just using their eyes. Children can paint pictures, play games, write and communicate by tracking the child’s eye movements enabling them to move the cursor. By using Eyegaze, children who struggle to communicate with their family and carers are able to do so – often for the first time.
Other items include the Magic Carpet, a wheelchair-accessible piece of equipment that projects interactive themed animations and images onto the floor; and the Tilt and Touch Table, a large touchscreen that can, as the name implies, be tilted for every child, no matter their needs, to play and create with.
Rob Lightfoot, CEO of Lifelites said:
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Shooting Star House. As the needs of the children and families using their services change and become more complex, Lifelites has responded by providing an extensive package of the latest assistive technology. With over 20 years of experience, we know that these technologies will empower children and young people with life-limiting conditions to engage and interact with the people they love and enjoy the world they live in. We hope that this support helps them to create many joyful memories.”
Sarah Hodkinson, Head of Family Support Services said:
“We’re so thrilled and grateful to Lifelites for providing such amazing equipment to our hospice. The POD tent, in particular, is so immersive, I immediately felt calm when trying it and know it will be a big hit with the children. This technology will be particularly beneficial for many of the children we support who were less cognitively able, where sensory stimulation is so important. Huge thanks to the Lifelites for donating this transformative technology and for giving training to our team on how to use it – we can’t wait to share it with the families we support.”