The Sparkle Appeal is a local charity dedicated to providing a purpose built centre and facilities helping the 1200 children with complex disabilities in the South Gwent area to have treatment, care, information, leisure facilities and consultations all under one roof. Through the generosity of our supporters and donors we are delighted to welcome the first children and families from April 2011.

The Centre is looking fantastic, and although we still have a lot more to do, it is an enormous step forward for all of the families in South Gwent who have eagerly awaited its opening. The essential elements will all be in place when children first start to use the Centre, but there is still a large amount of specialist equipment that the therapists would like to have in place, that we need to raise more funds to purchase. Currently the children and their families have to travel out of Wales in order to access a lot of this equipment. In addition, we have been able to fund some of the sports and play facilities that the families need, but there is still quite a way to go to provide all of the facilities we would like, including a specialised playground outside, an outdoor ‘classroom’ where therapists can vary the child’s treatment by performing it outside, and the children can use the area for playing in between sessions, a ‘cycle’ path around the grounds suitable for wheelchairs as well, etc. All of these additional facilities and equipment require us to raise a further £500,000.

However, this isn’t just about the treatment that the children will undertake, it’s about the ability to bring the family unit back together, helping families to socialise (through use of the medi-cinema and leisure facilities), participate and watch disabled sports – the centre will have the only designated wheelchair sports area in South Wales where parents and able bodied siblings can participate in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair football and additional activities.

In addition to this they can participate in social gatherings bringing families with similar needs together, watch wheelchair sports competitions (who knows if the next Para Olympian may come from our centre??) and gain insight into dealing with varying situations, brainstorm ideas and just share knowledge on the best way of caring and nurturing the family unit.