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Charity Lifelites donates specialist technology for children at Shooting Star Chase with grant from Middlesex Freemasons

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The children and young people at Shooting Star Chase children’s hospice have received a donation of assistive technology worth £50,000 from national children’s charity Lifelites, thanks to funding from Middlesex Freemasons.

The technology donated is specially adapted for children with disabilities and can be used by the children to play games with their family and carers, be creative with art and music, and communicate with those around them. It gives them opportunities to interact in a way that might not have been possible otherwise.

The package of equipment was provided completely free of charge, and the charity will continue to support the hospice with training, technical support and equipment maintenance until the equipment needs replacing in four years. This is the fourth time the hospice has received a donation like this from Lifelites since 2005.

One of the pieces of equipment they received was an Eyegaze. This allows those with limited mobility to control a computer using just their eyes.  By using the Eyegaze, children who can only use their eyes and struggle to control anything for themselves, are suddenly able to play a game, paint a picture or even communicate with their family and carers, perhaps for the first time.

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Another item donated was a 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.

This technology will make a huge difference to lot of the children at the hospice, including two year old James. James has a rare, painful skin condition that means his skin can tear and blister at the slightest touch, so it can be difficult for him to play games outside. The Magic Carpet gives him the opportunity to play football, and lots of other games, safely indoors under the watchful eye of his carers.

Other items donated include several brand new iPads in special drop proof easy grip cases and a touchscreen computer, as well as lots of games and other software specially designed to be accessible for children with disabilities.

John Briggs, Provincial Charity Steward from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to assist Shooting Star CHASE Hospice. They do an outstanding job helping kids with terminal or life limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families through very difficult times.”

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Sandi Hillery, Head of Care at Shooting Star House, said: “The technology provided by Lifelites makes such a huge difference to the work we do at the hospice. The equipment is just fantastic – with pieces like the Eyegaze which allows children a new opportunity to play and engage and specially protected iPad cases letting children of all ages and abilities play with them. We look forward to using Lifelites technology every day.”

Charity No: 1042495

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “We are thrilled to be able to provide equipment for the children at Shooting Star Chase who have life-limiting, life-threatening and disabling conditions. The magical technology we have donated can be used to play, to be creative and communicate, and enrich the lives of these children and their families, for as long as it is possible. Freemasons in Middlesex have been extremely generous with their support for Lifelites over the years and we are very grateful for their contribution to this new package for the children of Shooting Star.”

Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles over the last 17 years, and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have unlimited possibilities. The donation of technology to Shooting Star Chase wouldn’t have been possible without the following donors: Middlesex Province Relief Fund, Microsoft, Children with Cancer UK, GamesAid, The Childwick Trust, Peter Stebbings Memorial Charity and Freemasons of Middlesex and London.

Charity Number: 1165791

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