Tree of Hope takes an unconventional approach to helping sick children flourish

Going against the trend, Tree of Hope is launching a major new initiative to help all children to have fun and enjoy their lives, even if they are not well.

It has been a recognised fact for a long time that “stuff” for children who are sick or have needs is grey or brown and is more expensive or difficult, if not impossible, to find. “Stuff” like toys, walking aids or gloves for wheelchair use have always been boring, pricey and the only choice is usually “take it or leave it”. It’s simply no fun for the child or for the parents.

Tree of Hope, based in Tunbridge Wells has decided to tackle the problem head-on. They are launching a new social enterprise, called Blossom, with a simple goal: finding funky, affordable stuff for kids with medical needs. And, as a social enterprise, every spare penny made goes straight back to the parent charity, Tree of Hope.

Jeremy Marris, CEO of Tree of Hope said, “Why should a walking aid just be available in grey or brown? Why shouldn’t it be available in red or blue or any other colour of the rainbow? And why should children who use wheelchairs have to use drab and expensive gloves? This is a sector of our community that has been treated as second-class citizens for too long now. We just couldn’t let it go on any longer.”

By searching in unconventional places and by adopting a “can do” attitude, Tree of Hope has found funky stuff that will suit all children. For instance, they recognised that some cycling gloves could be used by wheelchair users, adding funky designs and reducing costs to the parents ofthese children. Or there are the belts that join together with Velcro instead of a buckle and so they allow any child to be more independent, and they have great designs on them too. In total, Tree of Hope have over 90 products that all meet their criteria for being “funky”, helping sick children and being affordable.

Clare Sharpen, Project Manager for the Blossom initiativesaid, “It has been great fun and very rewarding finding products for Blossom. We have worked with parents and experts in this field, such as paediatricians, to identify products that will make a difference. We have not been prepared toaccept the status quo of “bland and expensive”. We have found many products in the UK but we have had to look further afield for some, such as the brightly coloured toy aimed at helping train 2 year olds in basic motor skills and balance that has come from Switzerland. We have already found over 90 greatproducts and we are looking for more.”

Not only will Blossom offer unexpected products, like thewheelchair armrest in the shape of a duck, by adopting an innovative attitude to finding products, Blossom will also be able to offer great value on its funky products. For instance, instead of buying children’s wheelchair gloves for around £30, only available in black and grey, Blossom will offer pastel and dotty and flower gloves suitable for wheelchair using children for £7.99.

Jeremy Marris says, “We are really pleased that we can help the families and friends of children with medical needs to find good quality, affordable and attractive ‘stuff’ to help make their lives brighter, nicer and easier.  We think that just because they’ve got an illness or disability they shouldn’t have to put up with ugly products designed for grown-ups.  We aim to offer products that are harder to find in the UK, at a price that’s fair, in a way that’s sustainable.”

To help gift givers with choosing presents for children, Blossom also offers gift vouchers and the option of setting up a gift register.

As a social enterprise, Blossom will be helping sick children in other ways too. Any profits that Blossom makes from the sale of productswill go to its parent charity, Tree of Hope. Tree of Hope offers hope to the families of sick children in the UK who need specialist medical surgery, treatment, therapy and equipment in order to free them from suffering, giving a better quality to their young lives. This means that any profits on these products will help pay for medical treatment and equipment for sick children.

Jeremy says, “It’s great for everyone. Children will get to use a range of funky and useful toys and aids, parents will save money and see their children having more fun and becoming more independent and all profits from the products will go straight to helping other sick children who really need our support. What’s not to love?”

Blossom is launched today and the initial funky stuff can be seen online now at www.blossomforchildren.com

 

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Notes For Editors

Tree of Hope:

·       Tree of Hope operates with the main aim of offering “hope” to the families of sick children in the UK who need specialist medical surgery, treatment, therapy and equipment in order to free them from suffering, giving a better quality to their young lives.

·       Tree of Hope is registered in England and Walesas a charitable company limited by guarantee, company No 8184807, charity No 1149254 and registered as a charity in Scotland No SCO42611.

·       Tree of Hope is endorsed by the FRSB and the Institute of Fundraising.

·       Tree of Hope relies on donations, both monetaryand material, from businesses and individuals and is using graffiti street art as a new line of potential fund raising.

·       Tree of Hope was originally founded as The Treeof Hope Children’s Charity by Corinne Gardner in 1994.

 

 

Research Links

Blossom                       : www.blossomforchildren.com

Tree of Hope               : http://www.treeofhope.org.uk

 

Contact

For any questions or clarification, please contact Jeremy Marris:

Tel           : 01892 535525 or 01892 710918.

Mobile     : 07878 406103

Email       : jeremy@treeofhope.org.uk

Tree of Hope, 43a Little Mount Sion, Royal TunbridgeWells, Kent TN1 1YP