A charity for disabled children is looking for support to help give the gift of play this Christmas.
Newlife, a charity member of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, has launched an appeal to fund play therapy pods – packages of specialist toys loaned to families to help children develop key skills.
The Cannock-based organisation helps children with disabilities and terminal illnesses, but up to 70 per cent of the families that it supports are on low income or experiencing poverty.
The pods – which cost between £400 and £500 each – are loaned for 12 weeks and are customised to suit different ages and developmental needs. They have also been known to distract from pain and help family bonding.
Amongst those who have already benefitted it two-year-old Gabriella, who was born with achondroplasia, often known as dwarfism.
Her condition meant she has poor core and little neck control and she could only hold her head up for short periods of time, making play difficult.
Since receiving the toys, she has been able to sit up properly by herself for the first time and even play with her older siblings – Ben, Alex and Samuel.
Gabriella’s mum Laura said: “The first time Gabriella sat up and played with Samuel, I cried. I think it was a mixture of relief and pure joy to see that she could sit and play like her peers. It was a very emotional moment for the whole family.”
Paul Maplesden, Corporate Fundraiser at Newlife, said: “Specialist toys can often be expensive. We are calling on support from businesses across the Staffordshire region to help us reach more children like Gabriella, bringing the joy of play to them throughout 2023 and beyond.”
For more information on the appeal or to make a donation, click here.