DM Thomas Foundation for Young People awarded a grant for two new electronic hoists which will allow children and young people with severe disabilities to take part in play activities with others and relax whilst staying at Cherry Trees in Guildford.

Cherry Trees provides home from home short breaks where children and young people with a range of complex disabilities including learning, physical and sensory impairments can stay giving their parents the vital respite care they need. Cherry Trees is open 24 hours a day, 48 weeks a year providing vital care and support to children and their families.

DM Thomas Foundation for Young People is committed to improving the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged young children. By providing specialist equipment and facilities, important training and support, and vital care, the Foundation opens up access to education and opportunities and improving the wellbeing of young people.

The grant of £6,658.50 will install an electronic ceiling hoist in the conservatory at Cherry Trees and another one in the playroom. With the new hoists, the children who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility will be able to access all areas of the playroom and conservatory. They will be able to safely enter the ball pit, sit on the floor to play with puzzles and trainsets, and relax on the sofa reading or watching films. Children will able to take part in activities and experiences that will help them to relax and be comfortable, build friendships with other children and will enhance their quality of life.

Malcolm Allan, General Manager and Deborah Richards, Guest Relations Manager at Hilton Cobham presented the Foundation grant to the local centre. Malcolm Allan said: “Hilton Cobham has long supported the Foundation and young people in our community so I am delighted to present the Foundation grant which will give children with disabilities vital access to play and relax with their friends and family.”

Claire Bryant, Chief Executive Officer at Cherry Trees said: “We are so grateful to DM Thomas Foundation for Young People for providing the funds for Cherry Trees to have two ceiling hoists installed in our playroom and conservatory. These two rooms are the hub of enjoyment for our children; with soft play in the play room and the conservatory used for watching films, playing board games, puzzles and lots of fun toys. The children that come to Cherry Trees who have mobility difficulties, including those in wheelchairs, have on occasions struggled to access all of the fun activities in these rooms. Now we have the funds to install the ceiling hoists, all of the children will be able to make use of the space and enjoy playing with their friends. The difference this will make to our children in wheelchairs will be evident by the smiles on their faces when they are able to play in the ball pond and enjoy watching a film on the sofa with their friends.”