Crisis appeal to fund respite care for children with brain injury

The Children's Trust has launched an urgent appeal in order to deliver critical day and overnight breaks for disabled children across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. For more than 30 years The Children’s Trust has provided a range of respite services for children with brain injury and neurodisability from across the UK, these include short breaks, Saturday clubs and holiday clubs. The charity, which has seen enquiries for its services almost treble in the last year, has launched The Little Break Appeal in a bid to raise £100,000 to provide vital respite to families to prevent them from reaching breaking point. Families of children with a brain injury, who require around the clock care, describe having a break where their child’s medical needs are met as a crucial lifeline, and something that’s becoming increasing difficult to find. Not only are short breaks essential 'time out' for parents who provide 24/7 care, they provide children with complex needs an opportunity to make new friends and participate in fun activities they may not be able to access at home. One child who comes to The Children’s Trust for a few hours on Saturdays, a few days in the school holidays, and occasionally whole weekends, is 14 year-old Harley. Harley had a bleed on the brain as a baby, and as a teenager he uses a wheelchair full time. He can’t speak, has seizures and he has the understanding of a child of 4-6 months. Mum, Cheryl, explains what having a little break from 24-hour caring means to her: “Before we found The Children’s Trust it was non-stop, relentless, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. But with a little break, the pressure releases a bit. It’s a lifeline to be honest. I have the dates in my calendar when Harley’s coming to The Children’s Trust, and I tell myself, ‘we’ve just got to get through this week’. But importantly, Harley loves it too. He comes home with cakes he’s iced, plants he’s potted, dinosaurs he’s painted and a big smile.” Dalton Leong, The Children’s Trust Chief Executive said: It should not be underestimated how important recuperation time is for families caring for disabled children who require round the clock care. We must make this as easy as possible for them and not something they need to fight for. The Children’s Trust is determined to help these families. We need to raise £100,000 so that we can ensure families get the support they desperately need. We urge you to support The Little Break Appeal. You can donate online at www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk or visit one of The Children’s Trust charity shops. “Parents of disabled children are under enormous strain; the little time afforded to them for respite is an absolute lifeline. Please help in whatever way you can. Thank you.”

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