The children’s charity Lifelites has donated brand-new life-changing technology worth thousands of pounds for children with life-shortening conditions using the services of Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
All of the children cared for at Chestnut Tree House have life-shortening conditions, made all the more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. The specialist technology, which Lifelites donated in January this year, can give them the opportunity to do things they and their parents never thought possible. The equipment enables them to play, to be creative, to control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as possible. Lifelites-donated technology enables children using Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice services to escape the confines of their conditions, connect with their loved ones and communicate their wishes and fears, which is proving especially vital during this unsettling time.
The technology, along with training and technical support services, which Lifelites provides for free, costs around £50,000 over four years. After four years, Lifelites aims to return to replace the equipment with the latest, up-to-date technology that is bespoke and most suitable for the children at Chestnut Tree House.
One of the pieces of equipment donated by Lifelites was the POD, a mobile and sensory pop-up tent that offers room for every child, no matter their needs. It comes in a rucksack so hospice staff can easily bring it to children’s own homes for Hospice at Home visits. The sensory tent enables children with life-shortening conditions to escape their often stressful lives and into their own world. They can be surrounded by sea animals, that swim around them while they listen to built-in calming music.
As part of the package of assistive technology, Lifelites donated inclusive gaming equipment such as the Xbox with an adaptive controller and switches that enable children to play and control something for themselves. It also gives the children’s parents, brothers and sisters the chance to join in and play together as a family. The virtual reality set gives children the opportunity to do things they’ve never thought possible, like walking along a virtual beach or sitting around a virtual campfire.
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said:
“We’re delighted to be able to donate a brand-new package of assistive technology for the children at Chestnut Tree House. The huge range of bespoke equipment that Lifelites has donated is specially adapted so that it can be used by any child, regardless of their ability. Every second counts for these children and their families. This magical technology will give them opportunities to make the most of every minute.
“We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our supporters, so for this, we are incredibly grateful.”
Cathy Stone, CEO at Chestnut Tree House, said:
“On behalf of everyone at Chestnut Tree House, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lifelites for their generous donation. We feel extremely lucky to have had the support of Lifelites for many years now. The entertainment, educational and assistive technology packages that they donate to Chestnut Tree House make such a big difference to children with life-shortening conditions and their families.
“Often, the short-break care that we offer at the House is the only time that parents can be parents, instead of carers. It currently costs over £4.6 million each year to provide all the care services offered by Chestnut Tree House. Families are never charged for their care and only a small percentage is funded by the government. So, donations like this make a big difference to hospice care. Thank you.”
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, who included the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex Freemasons, Isabel Blackman Foundation, John Coates Charitable Trust, Lawson Trust CIO, and the Miss Pannett Charitable Trust.