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.
Q&A with Noel Davies
Tell O2e supporters about Sparkle
Sparkle is a charity that helps children and young people from Gwent with a disability or developmental difficulty. Life isn’t easy for these children, or their families, which is why Sparkle raises money through donations and grants to fund services, staff and equipment at the Serennu Children’s Centre in Newport where we’re based. The centre is one of Europe’s leading facilities. Set in its own landscaped grounds, it provides access to lots of different services and care from doctors, therapists, nurses and psychologists to social workers, family liaison officers and play workers all under one roof. This means that children don’t have to travel to lots of different places for their treatment and care, providing consistency and support to the whole family.
What are the main challenges the charity faces?
Financial resources. We have to raise a minimum £400K+ a year to fund the vital services we support. This is only possible thanks to the hard work and generosity of organisations like O2e. If we can raise even more money we can help more children and their families and this is our goal in the coming years.
How can the O2e community help?
The O2e community has helped so much already. Their work has transformed the lives of the children we help beyond words. The impact upon these kids’ lives and their families too is nothing short of seismic. We are so grateful to O2e’s supporters for all their efforts. Without it we wouldn’t be where we are. What makes these efforts even more heart-warming is the genuine interest from O2e’s supporters of our work. They don’t just raise money; they believe passionately in how it is spent and that inspires us just as much. We hope O2e will continue to support us because with their help we can reach even more children with life-changing conditions. That help means they won’t miss out on they opportunities in life they deserve.
What benefits will there be for the children Sparkle supports from the funds donated by O2e?
O2e’s support goes direct to funding the services, facilities and projects we support. In the last couple of years these have include the funding of a state-of-the-art sensory room, which allows children with severe disabilities to express their feelings and not feel scared by the world they live in. Moving forward we would like to fund more away trips for some of the children we help. Because of their conditions going on a weekend trip or break can be impossible for their families, but with O2e’s support we can give them the chance to enjoy what so many other children take for granted.
From the perspective of a supported charity, what does O2e look and feel like?
O2e is one of the most amazing charity’s I have ever had the pleasure and honour of working with. The people that are its community are so warm and welcoming, yet it is their united passion for others that leaves you with goose bumps. They are our friends and we think the world of them.