Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
12:46 PM 3rd February 2021

Charity Lifelites Donates Life-changing Technology To Children At The UK’s Only Baby-specific Hospice

The children’s charity Lifelites has donated brand-new life-changing technology worth thousands of pounds for life-limited and life-threatened babies and infants using the hospice services of Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Middlesbrough.

The hospice provides palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged between 0 – 5 years, suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

The specialist technology, which Lifelites donated to the charity in January this year, gives their children the opportunity to do things their parents never thought possible. The equipment enables them to play, be creative, to control something independently and communicate, for as long as possible.

Lifelites-donated technology also enables the children using Zoë’s Place in Middlesbrough to escape the confines of their conditions, connect with their loved ones and communicate their wishes and fears.

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 using the hospice at the time.

One of the pieces of equipment donated by Lifelites to the Middlesbrough hospice was the POD, a mobile and sensory pop-up tent that offers room for every child, no matter their needs. The tent comes in a rucksack, making it easily manoeuvrable around the hospice, and enables life-limited and life-threatened children to escape to their own little world, complete with sea animals that swim around them and built-in calming music.

Along with other assistive technology, Lifelites has also donated a waterproof and drop-proof camera, together with an SD card and an accessory package. The portable equipment allows hospice staff to take photos of the children wherever they are, or have the children take photos themselves, which can then be proudly presented to the parents. These cherished memories will last a life-time and are so valuable for every family.

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said:
“We are delighted to be able to donate lots of our magical technology for the children at Zoë’s Place in Middlesbrough. The huge range of equipment is specially adapted so that it can be used by anyone, regardless of their ability. 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 their time together.

“We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our supporters, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”

Michelle Larkin, Head of Care, Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Middlesbrough, said:
“On behalf of the charity, the babies and infants that seek regular respite care from Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice, and their families, I would like to extend my thanks to the team at Lifelites for their generous donation of the sensory educational kit, including the POD tent, tilt table, iPads and a waterproof and drop proof camera to the charity’s Middlesbrough hospice.

“The POD tent is an excellent resource, which gives our children a safe, enclosed space and a one-of-a-kind sensory experience like no other. Our children can feel secure in their private sensory bubble whilst being transported away to magical places such as the seaside without any hassle.

“The tilt table is a fantastic piece of technology that is proving to be a huge hit too. It is enabling all our children, no matter their disability, to participate in games, move along and join in with the singalongs. Its amazing functions will support the children to learn, too.

“All of these donated items make the power of play even more powerful for our children, and helps us ensure every child is included and gets to experience the magic of playtime in a way that is suited to their needs.

“We are forever grateful for the support that Lifelites has shown – and continues to show – us. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

Joan Stainsby, Executive Trustee, Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice, said:
“Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice provides palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged between 0 – 5, plus ongoing support to their families.

“The charity receives only modest funding from central government and will never charge families for the care and support they so desperately need and deserve, so the ongoing support from trusts, foundations and grants such as Lifelites is invaluable to Zoë’s Place.

“The donations Lifelites has made to us in the past – and now during this period of uncertainty – is life-changing for our families and our charity, as they are directly helping us to continue offering care, support and further opportunities to our babies and infants and, for that, we will be forever grateful. So, from everyone at Zoë’s Place, 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 include the Freemasons Charity of Yorkshire North and East Riding, and the Age Partnership Charitable Foundation.

Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice was founded in 1995 after Chairman of Trustees, Professor Jack Scarisbrick, identified that families with children suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions were desperately in need of specialist facilities, especially during their early years.

In response, Zoë’s Place – the UK’s only baby-specific hospice – was born. They provide free-of-charge palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged 0-5 years suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

Each of the hospices in Coventry, Liverpool and Middlesbrough provide a caring, safe and home-away-from-home environment for all.