Children receiving care at The Donna Louise Hospice for Children & Young People in Stoke-on-Trent 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 The Donna Louise 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.

Another piece of equipment is the Eyegaze, 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.
The hospice is also receiving a special portable bundle of technology for its Hospice at Home team, which provides care for children out in the community. This special bundle, known as the Tech Trunk, can travel wherever the children are, whether that’s in their own home or in hospital.

Dot Gillespie, Director of Care at The Donna Louise commented: “We are so extremely grateful to Lifelites for this incredibly kind and generous donation of equipment - it will make the most enormous difference. For so many of the children and young people here at The Donna Louise who rely on sensory equipment as a means of communicating, the use of this fabulous equipment opens up so many opportunities to develop communication skills and independence, either at the hospice or at home, in a fun and accessible way.”

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 The Donna Louise. 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.”

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 Staffordshire, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire, GamesAid and Microsoft.