It is hard to imagine how difficult it must be for children to spend long periods of time in hospital. Being surrounded and often visited by loving family can definitely help. But not all children in hospitals units are this lucky. Fortunately, people like Sarah Mather exist, who dedicate their extra time and energy to help these children.
Sarah Mather’s daughter Amelie was recovering in the Great Ormond Street hospital after a brain surgery. While spending time with her own daughter, Sarah met another little girl who was a patient on the same unit as her daughter. Sarah found out that the little girl lives in residential care. Sarah was moved by this fact because it has never occurred to her before, that children with health difficulties could be living in residential care. Sarah was interested in the stories of those children and reached out to the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital to enquiry about organisations which provide residential care for children with specialist needs and found out that The Together Trust was one of them.
The Together Trust provides care, special education and community support for children and young adults in the North West region including individuals with emotional and social difficulties, learning disabilities or autism. The charity also provides residential care for children with disabilities or complex health needs. At the heart of the Together Trust’s approach is supporting individual needs whether it comes to health, learning, personal development or social integration. As a charity with complex aims and many areas to cover, the Together Trust is happy for any support they receive from fundraisers like Sarah. ‘Our fundraises are crucial to the work of the Together Trust, helping us to support around 2,600 vulnerable children and their families each year across the North West’, says the Event and Community Fundraises from the Trust, Julie Williams.
To support efforts of the Trust, Sarah set up a Christmas fair in Warrington. Recruiting volunteers and small businesses from the local area, she set up stalls selling gifts, homeware as well as food and drinks. She also made sure there were activities for children including crafts and other sensory activities. Due to Amelie’s condition, Sarah recognizes the importance and value of stimulating activities and sensory toys for children with similar condition. Sarah said: ‘Amelie loves playing with sensory toys and messy play activities. When I started looking into fundraising and speaking with people from different residential homes quite a lot of them didn’t have things like this, which matched the children’s sensory requirements. I heard that the larger businesses that drop off presents at Christmas time, will buy typical presents from the large stores like Argos and Toys R Us, but these aren’t necessarily the type of presents that children with special needs want or will play with.’
Sarah therefore decided to raise money for the purpose of buying more appropriate toys for the children who live in residential care for Christmas. Sarah’s Christmas effort helped to raise £1,000 which was split between the Together Trust and another charity, the Chailey Heritage Foundation.