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Hello Sunshine News Readers


Wow! What a week we have had here at Sunshine HQ. Regular readers will know that we held our Spring equipment round this week and like the Winter round, it was a whopper! Over £35,000 worth of specialist and adapted equipment was applied for by families, schools and organisations in our region – each looking to improve the lives of children with disabilities in their care. Among the equipment applied for we had specialist beds allowing children with complex needs to have a good, safe nights sleep. Having had a child who didn't sleep much until the age of 5, I completely understand the importance of a good nights rest so I often think the beds we supply have value for the child's parents and carers too.

This round also saw applications for sensory and play equipment as families of children with additional needs and learning difficulties look for ways to ease their child's anxiety and bring some joy while shielding. Some of the IT equipment we have approved for funding this week is particularly high tech to meet the needs of children who need support with communication and understanding their world. The meeting itself is an important part of the process. We spend weeks and in some cases months working with families, offering one to one support (Now via Zoom!) and liaising with medical teams who support children to gather the relevant data to take an application to our panel. Our specialist panel of medical, health and social care professionals from all over the North East come together to assess each application and ensure what has been applied for is the absolute best and most relevant piece of equipment for that individual child. Our panel donate their time for free and we are exceptionally grateful to have their expertise, skills and knowledge.




After the meeting, we come to the best bit; we get to make the wonderful calls to our families, letting them know that their child's life is about to be a little bit brighter! It really is the best part of our job. Sometimes with the larger rounds this part of the process can take days and it often involves liaising with equipment designers and suppliers for bespoke and made to measure pieces. Some of the calls we have made this week have been really emotional and the relief in the voices of parents and carers is always evident. Families share their stories with us and are often overwhelmed with emotion knowing their child has been granted the equipment that will help them have a better life. For many of our families, this expensive kit would often be out of their means financially and equipment can range from hundreds, to tens of thousands of pounds. As a small team who is driven by passion and belief in what we do, its hard for us not to be effected by that and many of the conversations that we have with parents and carers will stay with us long after we have hung up the phone.


Your donations make calls like these possible. Thanks to our supporters we were able to pick up the phone and make 20 magical calls this week. As the pandemic progresses and we continue to feel its financial impact, the need for our services have grown and we know our numbers will continue to rise. Your donations make our work possible, thank you for enabling us to change lives. Whether you are a regular giver, a Sunshine Fund lottery player or you have donate d to our Urgent Appeal, you are making a real difference.


If you would like to apply for equipment for a child with disabilities, additional needs or life limiting conditions, our next equipment round will be held in May 2021. Please visit our website and click on the Apply section, where you will find all the information you need to get started in addition to our brand new video resources which take you through the application process step by step. There is also a full set of FAQs available and some top tips, but if you need any extra support please email our Families Coordinator Rachel on Rachel.kaczmar@reachplc.com who is happy to help.


Stay safe and well and we’ll be back next week!


Siobhan

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