A-list model and actress Elizabeth Hurley is helping to boost an appeal to build a new centre for children with special needs in Swindon.
At an tea party in the Houses of Parliament on 15th November, hosted by South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, she spoke with MPs to help raise awareness for the need, and the lack of, respite day care for children, a subject close to close to Prime Minister David Cameron’s heart.*
Elizabeth Hurley is the President of charity Hop Skip & Jump, which aims to provide immediate, flexible and sustained day care, and to also highlight the pressures facing families and carers with special needs children and young people. The charity says that access to such specialised care can prevent the breakdown of families.
Hop Skip & Jump was established in 1982 and operates two centres in Cheltenham and Bristol. The charity currently receives around 31,000 visits each year at its existing centres, and is on course to extend its support to families in Swindon and neighbouring counties through a brand new facility to be built in the town’s Lydiard Park. Hop Skip & Jump is campaigning to open more centres throughout the UK using its cost effective model.
It needs to raise £985,000 to build the centre at Swindon which will include specialist treatment rooms, sensory rooms, large play areas, and a wide variety of support facilities for families and carers.
Speaking about the need for respite day care, Elizabeth Hurley who has been the charity’s President since 2007 said, “many families are under strain on a continual basis, and often reach breaking point when they are unable to find flexible and immediate support. This new centre will act as a lifeline for thousands of families and children in the Swindon area. There is a great lack of such provision of respite day care in this Country so together we can provide the much needed support for families many years to come.”
Robert Buckland MP added, "it was a pleasure to welcome Hop Skip and Jump and Elizabeth Hurley to Parliament. The meeting saw a DVD presentation about the charity and heard from two parents who outlined in emotional terms the need for respite care for their children. It was very moving.
"I spoke about the need for space and security when it comes to care for children and young people with special needs. The model offered by Hop Skip and Jump represents a positive waty forward. The Lydiard plans are an exciting opportunity that will bring real benefit to families in Swindon."
Anyone wanting to know more information about the Hop Skip & Jump Swindon appeal can visit www.hopskipandjumpswindon.org
Postal donations can be sent to; The Hop Skip & Jump Swindon Appeal, Avening Park, West End, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8NE.
* "If we’re serious about helping families, making a big positive difference to their lives then we’ve got to make it much easier for parents and carers to access respite care. It made a massive difference to my family. The people who helped us out were heroes." – David Cameron, 16th July 2009. Read the full speech
Above, Elizabeth Hurley speaking in Parliament. Right, with charity volunteer Christine Williams and parent Phil May. Below, a view of the eco-building proposed for Lydiard Park
Coverage of Hop Skip and Jump elsewhere on swindonlink.com
See larger plans for the Swindon centre
Swindon centre receives permission
Fundraising for Swindon Centre
Swindon Town FC captain visits Hop Skip and Jump Centre