The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust (NICLT) has partnered with eight NI companies to provide children’s hospital units with much-needed gifts
A drive to deliver much-needed sensory toys and equipment to paediatric units across the province has been deemed a success by NI charity, the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust (NICLT).
The scheme included eight paediatric units and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, and was created by NICLT Trustee Dr Mark Rollins to support children living with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and who spend a lot of their precious time in hospital and/or hospice settings.
The idea came about as a result of the pandemic, which prevented the charity from carrying out its traditional annual flight to Lapland, which has been creating memories for children with challenging conditions for the past 12 years.
A number of leading Northern Ireland businesses are corporate partners of the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust. Their ongoing financial support allowed the charity to present approximately £1,000 worth of sensory toys and equipment to their respective paediatric units.
Among those corporate partners were The Bushmills Inn (Causeway Hospital), Glens of Antrim Potatoes (Antrim Area Hospital), C-Tec (NI) in Newry (Daisy Hill Hospital), Hagan Homes (NI Children’s Hospice), Wineflair (Craigavon Hospital), Barclay Communications (The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children), CosyRoof (Altnagelvin Area Hospital) and Bells Crossgar Motors (Ulster Hospital). The charity was also delighted to be able to make a similar donation to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
Dr Mark Rollins, a senior consultant paediatrician at Causeway Hospital, NICLT trustee and founder of the hospital gifting scheme, explains:
“This is a unique charity drive that allowed paediatric units around Northern Ireland to benefit from the most suitable sensory toys and equipment for their respective environments.
“These gifts will make a difference to children, carers and health teams who know full well the challenges they face daily.
“We are truly grateful for the very generous donations from the charity’s corporate partners in this scheme. They are among some of NI’s most esteemed companies and some of them have experienced one of their most trying times in business during the pandemic, but they haven’t allowed that to get in the way of their generosity.”
Speaking about the impact the inaugural gift delivery had on children in Causeway Hospital, Heather Cairns, Ward Manager, Paediatric Department, Causeway Hospital said:
“Our new sensory equipment has added a new dimension to being able to care for our patients with complex health needs. It addresses our need to manage challenging behaviour let alone anxiety for those finding themselves in an intimidating environment. The calming influence is also clearly apparent both for carers and staff.”
Alan Walls, Hotel Manager, The Bushmills Inn, said: “We have been fundraising for the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust for the last five years and are very proud to be one of their corporate partners.
“In the last year, thanks to the hotel’s generous donations and the support of our customers, we have raised over £5,550 to help the charity with its invaluable work.
“The charity fundraises to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill, life limited and deserving children by taking them to see Santa at his home in Lapland, Finland and creating magical memories that their families can treasure forever but this has not been able to happen recently because of the covid pandemic.
“The work of the charity is truly admirable as, even in spite of the shadow of a pandemic, it has continued to put a smile on the faces of children who deserve it most. We are delighted to be involved in this very special initiative as it is such a deserving cause and hope to further raise awareness of the charity’s work and in the process generate even more funds to make the dreams of many more children come true.”
The charity’s annual Lapland trip with 100 local children with life threatening or life limiting conditions had to be cancelled because of the covid pandemic.
Instead, the charity raised funds to give 110 local children, who were nominated by the eight paediatric departments and the NI Children’s Hospice, a new experience, including a detailed personal letter from Santa, a video from the man himself from his grotto in Lapland, a visit from Santa and his elves as well as a gift to the value of £200, all received in the safety of their own homes.
Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust has also recently welcomed three new high profile ambassadors to the charity.
Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions rugby ace Tommy Bowe, Ireland’s number one country singing star Nathan Carter and Northern Ireland Women’s Football Team captain, Marissa Callaghan have signed up to be advocates for the charity.
If you would like to find out more about The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust or to make a donation check out www.niclt.org