Variety supply sensory equipment and accessories for the Happy Hatchlings Nursery

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When the Happy Hatchlings Nursery in Jersey wrote to local companies asking for donations for a project, it was hoped that they would raise enough money to buy a garden shed to turn into a simple sensory room.

But a group of local contractors offered them an even better opportunity, a brand new purpose-built sensory room with the lights and equipment supplied by the Ladies of Variety. The children were able to watch the work being carried out and learn more about the different processes.

Emma Soley, Nursery Manager, said, "We have been so lucky to witness every stage of the development and we have also used it as a great topic for learning. The children wanted to wear hard hats and hi-vis jackets like the builders. We can't believe the kindness of so many people who have made, not only our dreams at the Happy Hatchlings Nursery come true, but also for our children."

She added that the nursery had a number of children attending with one-to-one support workers, including a little boy with autism, and having a specialised room with sensory equipment ensured that they had a place that they felt comfortable and a space to meet professionals when required. "The children are using it every day. Some of the children like to go in because it’s a quiet area whilst some just like to go in and play with all the lovely new sensory equipment”, Emma said.

Barker Paul Pinel commented, "When we were first asked if Variety could help, the Crew and Ladies of Variety said yes immediately. To see the children's reaction to the completed room has made it all worthwhile!"

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Variety at Work Annual Report 2019

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Variety – the Children’s Charity Jersey is part of a worldwide organisation whose aims and objectives are to improve the quality of life for all children. All the money we raise in Jersey remains in Jersey and is used directly for the benefit of children here. Our aim is to try to ensure that as far as possible all children have the same advantages as their peers.

There are primarily two aspects of our work here in Jersey. Firstly, we undertake larger projects for schools, youth organisations, children’s gym and sports clubs, including places which offer respite care like Oakwell and Eden House for children with special needs. In the past, we have provided playground equipment, refurbished gardens, sensory equipment and helped to improve general facilities for children.

Secondly, Variety at Work provides individual help to families and children. Almost on a daily basis we receive requests from Health Visitors, Social Workers, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Paediatric Occupational Therapists and all agencies who have direct dealings with children and their families. Without exception, these requests are for families who struggle financially and are most often single parent families.

Most of the requests are for help with basic day to day needs like food, nappies, baby milk and baby items, school uniforms and shoes. Over and above this help, during the past year we have provided 16 beds and bedding for children who were either sleeping on the floor or had broken beds. We have also supplied some furniture and carpets for children’s bedrooms. For babies and toddlers we have supplied 10 baby buggies, stair gates, high chairs and 16 car seats. At the request of Health Visitors we have provided spectacles for three children. We paid for holiday care for 22 children when the caring parent was ill or when it was thought beneficial for the child. For the home, we have provided 1 washing machine, 2 cookers and a fridge for families who were being re-homed from furnished to unfurnished accommodation.

We paid towards school trips to France for 21 children to enable them to join the rest of their class. For many children this is the only opportunity for them to experience travel during their childhood so this is definitely money well spent. We also paid for an i-pad to enable a GCSE student to continue her coursework whilst having hospital treatment in the U.K. We were also very pleased to be able to pay for a gifted boy to attend the Football Centre for Excellence. The total for this kind of help was 317 families with 670 children amounting to £58,232. 15.

The larger projects we undertook were the complete refurbishment of a bathroom for a family with two disabled children. We also contributed towards the refurbishment of a garden where one of the children in the family is autistic, making the garden less hazardous for the child. We supplied tables and shelving for Gorey Youth Club and we contributed towards a Minibus for St. Martin’s School.

With thanks to Joint Chief Barker, Robyn Lapidus who again donated the venue and wonderful food we had an excellent Christmas Party. The children were entertained by DJ Lummy. Royston’s Balloon Magic and of course Santa made an appearance with gifts for all the children.

In July, again with grateful thanks to the Jersey Mutual Insurance Society for their very generous sponsorship, we held a Summer Party at the Hotel Ambassadeur which was a huge success. We had magic, face painting, dancing and super party food, including jelly and ice cream, which is a must for any Summer Party! All of the children were given going home presents, balloons and an extra ice cream thanks to Barker Stuart Young.

At the beginning of August 150 children enjoyed 2 hours of exclusive rides at the Battle of Flowers Funfair thanks to James Cole, the Manager. The children also enjoyed a light lunch of hot dog/hamburger and chips and a drink. For the children from Mont a l’Abbe Holiday Club this has become the highlight of their holiday treats.

As we look forward we must, without any doubt, make and take every opportunity we can to raise further funds if we are to continue to meet the needs of children in Jersey. In my view, it is imperative that we do our utmost to ensure that every child goes to school with a complete uniform and a well fitted pair of school shoes. We must continue to help with the school trips, ensuring no child who wishes to join their class is left behind. For families who struggle financially, we must ensure that we continue to help to provide children’s cots, baby equipment, beds and bedding. No child should ever have to sleep on the floor or without warm comfortable bedding.

I must thank the Crew, Barkers and Ladies for entrusting me with this very valuable part of Variety which I regard as a huge privilege and which I find extremely rewarding. I should also like to thank the Health Visitors, Social Workers, Paediatric Occupational Therapists and Family Support Workers who are dedicated professionals. It is a pleasure to have contact with them.

We must continue to make every effort to encourage new members and urge support for all our fundraising events. This can be done by contacting Variety – the Children’s Charity – Tel: 856937 or by using the website www.varietyjersey.org.je.

Barker Jeanette Pinel
Variety at Work

Variety at Work in September 2019

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During September we received the usual requests for food, uniforms, shoes and baby items, These included a cot bed and mattress, a car seat and two high chairs. At the request of a Headteacher we paid towards a school trip for a child to join the rest of the class. This is so worthwhile and for many children it is the only opportunity for them to experience travel during their childhood. At the request of the Social Workers we paid towards holiday care for five children where there are social problems.

The totals for the month are 30 families with 54 children amounting to £4,933. 51. Included in this amount is £1,292. 01 for Sensory Equipment for the Happy Hatchlings Nursery which was paid out of the Ladies fundraising.

Variety at Work in August 2019

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As we expected July and August have been particularly busy months, with referrals for help with uniform and shoes being the highest ever, as far as I am aware. Seeing the request forms it is very sad to see so many families who struggle financially to meet the basic day to day needs. This month we have spent £8,946. 27 on uniforms and shoes for school.

Over and above this we have provided food, nappies baby milk and wipes. We have bought a cot bed with mattress and 3 beds with bedding for young boys. We have also bought two buggies and five car seats all for low income families, in some cases where there are health problems or the children have special needs. We also bought a fridge and a cooker for a family who were being re-homed from furnished accommodation to an unfurnished home. We also paid for 3 individual week’s holiday care for three children due to illness of the caring parent.

The totals for the month are 72 families with 171 children amounting to £11,080. 27.

Included in this month’s figures is the cost of providing a light lunch for 150 children at the Battle of Flowers Funfair.

Barker Jeanette Pinel
Variety at Work

Variety at Work in July 2019

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During July, the majority of requests were for school uniforms and shoes along with some requests for food. We also supplied some baby items including 2 car seats and a baby buggy. Over and above this, at the request of Social Workers and The Bridge, we sanctioned Holiday Clubs, Theatre School and Rock Acadamy for 4 children. In each case the children were enduring various illnesses and this holiday time will be beneficial to them.

We bought bus passes for a single parent Mum with 3 children, one of which has health problems, to enable Mum to take the children out during the summer holidays. We also paid for flights to Southampton to enable a young boy, who has been very poorly, and his Mum to go over to see his favourite football team play.

The totals for the month were 44 families with 66 children amounting to £5,707. 19.

Children’s Summer Party

This was held on Sunday 7th July at the Hotel Ambassadeur. The party was a huge success, all the children had a wonderful time and all the families were very grateful.

Battle of Flowers Funfair

With many thanks to James Cole, Manager of the Funfair, on the 31st July 150 children enjoyed exclusive use of all the rides. After which we provided the usual lunch of hotdog and hamburger with chips and a drink. Katrina O’Connor who manages Mont a l’Abbe holiday club tells me that for the children this is the highlight of their holiday treats which they really look forward to. Likewise Fiona from Brighter Futures tells me for their children this is a luxury treat that they would never be able to do.