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.
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.”
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 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 and hope to further raise awareness of the charity’s work and generate even more funds to make the dreams of many more children come true.”