The Candlelighters Family Support Workers!

Charity Registration number: 1045077

Earlier this year we were able to support our friends at Candlelighters with a grant of £16,000 to fund two Family Support Workers from June to September. The team recently got in touch to update us on the support they have been providing and the impact the family support workers have had during these isolating times.

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the way in which Candlelighters are able to offer their support. Families have encountered enormous hardships, with many being required to shield at home and hospital restrictions meaning only one parent could be on the ward with their child, remaining there permanently to avoid bringing the virus to the ward.

Although some of these restrictions have eased, the threat and reality of local lockdowns and uncertainty over restrictions, has meant families have entered another daunting phase of the pandemic. Many continue to face extreme psychological and emotional challenges as they make decisions on how to adapt to the frequently changing guidelines, whilst limiting risk and protecting their child.

Melissa enjoying her Candlelighters crafts!

Roz Walton, Trusts and Foundations Executive says: “The effect of this pandemic will be felt by our families for some time, but for as long as that is, we will be here to support them. By continuing to offer our adapted support services, we will ensure our families do not face these uncertain times alone.

The grant from The Kentown Wizard Foundation has been fully spent on the salaries of two family support workers across the last four months. These two roles have continued to deliver a range of virtual services to support the children and families during this time and we have been overwhelmed with the numbers of children and families that have been accessing this support.”

The feedback from families has been amazing.

“All my children love the virtual craft sessions and I love how it brings out the creativity in them. It gives me and Dad an hour to catch up with work or make phone calls without the risk of being interrupted and I really enjoy listening to them talking about what they’ve been doing during the week with such enthusiasm (and being stuck in the house doing nothing but them finding fun things to tell Vicky and Emma (The Family Support Workers) makes my heart smile). Vicky and Emma are always so happy and smiley and really engage with the children, making them laugh and feel special.” (Mum, 2020)

Melissa’s Mum said, “The Candlelighters sessions have been brilliant. She has had so much fun doing crafts with Vicky and Emma. It helps her to feel independent (she usually tells mum and dad to ‘go away’ as she can manage on her own!). She has also been able to teach Vicky and Emma some crafts too, as well as seeing other children who understand what it is like being in lockdown, especially when she went to the Virtual Patients Group. It’s been lovely seeing her smiling, confident and happy and proud of what she’s made!”

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Half term at the Play Inclusion Project

Charity Registration number: 1108606

Here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we are delighted to receive an update from our friends over at the Play Inclusion Project. We recently were able to support the team with a grant towards the costs of their half term activities. Play Inclusion Project supports children and young people with additional needs and disabilities within Blackpool, Fylde, Preston and Wyre. They run after school clubs, holiday clubs, evening groups as well as many other activities to help these children enjoy a fuller, more meaningful life.

Joanne Barnes, Charity Manager says

“We had 3 Activity clubs running over half term which were attended by 53 children and young people with disabilities. Thanks to the grant received from The Kentown Wizard Foundation we were able to hire a bouncy castle for the week in all 3 areas and we had a visit from Hands on Animals. This provided huge enjoyment for the children and enabled them to burn off lots of built-up energy. We also had Halloween themed activities throughout the week with pumpkin carving, face painting and sensory activities.

The children loved seeing their friends away from school and they had lots of fun with them. The sessions definitely benefited their mental health and well-being and reduced their social isolation. Not only this but the parents and carers also benefitted, as they were provided with a break from their caring role.”

The support being offered by the Play Inclusion Project throughout these isolating times is incredible and we are extremely happy to hear that everyone involved had such a wonderful half term!

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“I will never be able to thank Stick ‘n’ Step enough.”

Charity Registration Number: 1045077

We are delighted to announce that The Kentown Wizard Foundation will be supporting Stick ‘n’ Step with a further grant towards the costs of providing conductive education to children and young people with cerebral palsy throughout the North West. We already know that conductive education changes lives but we were thrilled to receive this feedback from Olivia who explains in a little more detail just how important Stick ‘n’ Step has been to her.

Stick ‘n’ Step has supported Olivia for more than 17 years. She was born prematurely and spent the first 9 weeks in hospital in an incubator, needing oxygen and being tube fed. Following a hospital review visit, Olivia was diagnosed at 8 months old with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. Luckily Mum and Dad (Janice and Ian) heard about Stick ‘n’ Step from the parents of another child who was attending the centre and were delighted when Olivia was accepted on to the programme for twice-weekly conductive education sessions.

Janice said “At this stage, we were looking for ways to help Olivia improve her gross motor skills and although her muscle tone and movement were quite good, her lower limbs were weak. We wanted to give Olivia the best chance of being independently mobile and to be motivated to do things for herself.”

Olivia was just four years old when she started attending Stick ‘n’ Step and when asked what she remembers about her first few weeks at the centre she said “I was very shy as a young child so I remember feeling quite intimidated when I first came. I didn’t properly understand why I was coming, but that feeling was only short-lived as I soon got to know all the staff and the other children in my group. It is a very friendly, welcoming place where I felt comfortable and safe. Being able to be independent and getting to try out things like rock climbing that I had never done before, was just brilliant. I enjoy any activity that gets my adrenaline going!”

In terms of improving gross motor skills over the years, Olivia learned to step on and off boxes, step through a floor ladder and sidestep using parallel bars. She has learned how to transfer her weight so that she can get from her wheelchair to a car or other chair and has developed her independent living skills. This includes self-care and practical things like using a washing machine, ironing, cleaning windows, cooking, using keys, and grasping a hairbrush to do her own hair.

Not only that but Olivia recently graduated from Leeds University with a 2:1 degree in Linguistics and Phonetics and whilst at University, carried on visiting Stick ‘n’ Step for her Saturday morning session whenever she could.

When asked what difference Stick ‘n’ Step has made to her life and that of her family Olivia said “The team at Stick ‘n’ Step have just been amazing. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and they definitely go above and beyond their normal duties to make sure everybody is happy, fulfilled, and achieving their goals. No issue was ever too small or too big to discuss with them, and in the past, I have approached them to talk about things that I was too scared to talk to my family about. The charity has also been a great support for my parents too. It helped them to better understand my condition and learn about the best ways to deal with it. They felt less alone and knowing that there were other parents who they could share their concerns and experiences with, really helped them.

She added “Whenever I come back after I have missed a few weeks, I feel so much stiffer, and I really benefit from the stretching and other activity tasks which help improve my mobility. Also, it’s great to be able to catch up with the classroom staff and the other girls in the group!”


“I will never be able to thank Stick ‘n’ Step enough… They have been incredibly supportive over many years and have helped to shape the person I have become.”



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“This support is vital now, more than ever.”

Charity Registration Number: 1045077

As we emerge from lockdown, COVID-19 continues to have a massive impact on the charitable sector. We recently reached out to our friends at Candlelighters to offer our support and to understand a little more, the obstacles they have faced and most definitely have overcome throughout this time. Below is a statement from the Candlelighters team in which they describe the effect COVID-19 has had on their work and the alternative strategies they have developed to continue providing much needed support.

“In such unprecedented times, families across the UK have faced challenges like never before, but for families affected by childhood cancer whose lives have already been turned upside down, COVID-19 has made, and continues to make life more difficult than ever.

Families have been required to ‘shield’, meaning they must stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum. Many families have faced time apart, with hospital restrictions permitting only one parent to be on the ward with their child, and remaining there indefinitely to avoid bringing the virus to the ward. Even now as we strive to build a ‘new normal’ and ease out of lockdown, we’re hearing that for families facing childhood cancer, this will become another scary and daunting phase as decisions around returning to work, school and ‘normality’ put extra pressure on the family unit.

Here at Candlelighters, we have been determined to carry on supporting these families and have adapted to focus on offering virtual support, which has had really high uptake and positive feedback; whether that’s daily/weekly check-ins with one of the team, virtual talking therapies for children and adults, activity sessions for the children, or moving our support groups online.

We have also increased our grant provision to alleviate the heightened financial pressure our families are facing. For families on the ward, we have delivered food hampers, drinks and toiletries, which we hope will help parents and carers, as we know how difficult these restrictions are proving. We also put in place a laundry service so that families staying on the ward could have their clothes collected, washed and dropped off to relieve some of the additional stress from not being allowed to leave the ward.

However like many charities, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the money we raise to support our families and we are looking to our supporters to help us through this difficult time.

The Kentown Wizard Foundation kindly supported Candlelighters in May with a grant of £16,000, to support the salary costs of the Family Support Team, who deliver many of these vital services to children and their families.”

This support is vital, now more than ever. The Candlelighters team have been overwhelmed with the number of children and families accessing this support and since lockdown began, the determination they have shown while adapting to these difficult times has been inspiring. We are delighted here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation to help such an incredible charity continue to support the families who need them the most. Families just like Leo’s…

“Leo was diagnosed on Friday the 13th September 2019, aged 8, with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The very next day, we were transferred from our local hospital to Ward 31 at the Leeds General Infirmary.

From then on, we have received continued help and support as a family from the amazing Candlelighters team, both on the wards, clinic, at The Square (family support centre) and now during this pandemic, at home via Zoom!

Leo has been thoroughly enjoying these sessions, it gives him something to look forward to each week and for me as his mum it is so lovely to hear him chatting away to the Family Support Team. They are so engaging and fun for him to chat to. Over the weeks he has made so many great pieces, his favourite is the ‘gribbit’ he says!

We have had to shield at home, which has been so hard for us all but even more so Leo, keeping him entertained and upbeat is so important, and he looks forward to his weekly bit of fun with the team.

It is helping him to get his hands moving again and strengthen them with all the cutting out, sticking and gluing he’s been doing, and it’s also making him think! These sessions have definitely made an impact on him in a positive way and he can’t wait to meet the team in the flesh – he was too poorly at the start of his treatment and an inpatient for many weeks, so he didn’t get the chance to visit the Square before the lockdown hit. It will be great for him to finally get over there once it is safe for him to do so.”




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When You Wish Upon A Star

Charity Registration Number: 1060963

Back in December, the Kentown Wizard Foundation funded a 4 day magical winter wonderland experience, hosted by the amazing team at When You Wish Upon A Star. 35 families from Blackpool & the North West, whose children have life threatening illnesses, were invited to Sherwood Forest, Centre Parcs to experience a weekend full of joy and laughter.

Staff, volunteers, patrons and celebrities ensured that each family had a weekend full of magical memories. A visit from Santa, costume characters, dancing and a firework display were but a few of the incredible activities available to the children and their loved ones. The highlight of the trip was a Costume Ball. The children dressed up as princesses and superheroes and were treated to a night of magic, singing, games and lots and lots of laughter.

When You Wish Upon A Star have been dream making for sick children since 1990, fulfilling 17,500 dreams along the way. Head of Fundraising Diane Hummerston said:

“Without the support of the Kentown Wizard Foundation, we would not of been able to give our Wish families such a magical weekend. The families have been able to create lifelong memories in what can be very difficult times for them. We cannot thank Debbie, David and the rest of the Trustees of the Foundation for their most generous gift – they have truly helped in bringing joy into all of our families’ lives”.

Debbie Bamber, Operations Manager of the Kentown Wizard Foundation, who joined the families with Trustee David Bamber said:

“It was amazing to be part of this magical weekend and share in the lives of these families, many of whom haven’t left their homes, except for hospital visits, in years. The children’s excitement was contagious as they told us about their pony rides, pottery painting, zip wire races and fun in the tropical pool. Without the team of doctors and medics that attended the weekend, we know many of these families would never have had this experience”

We are delighted to be able to look back on incredible memories such as these and we look forward to catching up with the When You Wish Upon A Star team very soon!


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A Kentown Christmas Carol – Future

Charity Registration Number: 1163956

As we reach the end of our Kentown Christmas Carol it seems only right to take a look at our Christmas future.

Here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we are excited to announce that we will be sponsoring the outstanding When You Wish Upon A Star Winter Wonderland Ball next Christmas!

Each December the North West Wish Team welcome around 45 families to a snow filled Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest for a 4 day break. Each day is filled with exciting activities, not forgetting a very special visit from Santa, the highlight of the weekend is the spectacular children’s Ball.

This 4 day break gives the families they support the perfect opportunity to unwind, have fun and make lots of magical memories, to treasure for a lifetime.

In previous years they have hosted spectacular breakfasts with Santa Claus, very tasty sweet stalls and unmissable discos. The children get stuck in decorating gingerbread, badges and Christmas cards and can be seen jumping up and down with excitement as they spy their favourite TV personality!

We are overwhelmed by the opportunity to support such an incredible event and will be counting down the 365 days we have to wait!


“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas”

Charles Dickens

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A Kentown Christmas Carol – Present

Charity Registration Number: 1163956 

This Christmas at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we are delighted to announce our exciting Christmas grants!

The first grant goes to our wonderful friends over at Rainbow House. The Mawdesley based charity will use their £10,000 grant to continue supporting 90 families per week.

Their specialist service is Conductive Education which is a complex programme using repetitive learning to re-train the brain. They provide bespoke sessions designed to increase mobility, communication and independence whilst rehabilitating, educating and being fun all at the same time! Other services include physiotherapy, rebound and sensory therapy and multidisciplinary.

Margaret Ingram CEO of the Kentown Wizard Foundation says

“We’re delighted to be supporting Rainbow House. Their vision is to run a centre of excellence for children with life limiting disabilities whilst inspiring and empowering them to become more independent and increasing their life skills”

Our second grant is being made out to the amazing Stick n Step charity in Wallasey. Stick ‘n’ Step offers support services to children with cerebral palsy and their families. All conductive education sessions are provided to children free of charge, allowing

them to gain the skills they need to live independent lives. 94 children from across the region attend these sessions weekly or twice weekly. The charity will use their £10,000 grant to help cover core costs of running the charity next year.

Debbie Bamber, Operations Manager at The Kentown Wizard Foundation, says, “The aim of our Foundation is to award grants where we think they are most needed and where they will have the greatest impact. As well as observing the determination and commitment of the children and their conductors, we were so impressed with the results that are being achieved by Stick ‘n’ Step. We were very pleased to award a grant to aid their efforts further.”

Both these charities work tirelessly to provide families with the help they deserve and here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we are extremely proud to be able to support them this Christmas.




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A Kentown Christmas Carol – Past

Charity Registration Number: 1163956

Play Inclusion Project

Unique Kidz & Co





This time last year, here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we set out on our very own 12 days of Christmas countdown. 12 incredible charities were chosen to receive a Christmas grant ranging from £1500-£6000. This enabled each charity in their own unique way, to improve the lives of children and young adults living with serious, life-limiting conditions and disabilities.


Donna’s Dream House

NW Children’s Support Group

Blackpool Tiggers

Debbie of the Kentown Wizard Foundation says

“It was a privilege for me to visit all 12 recipients and see the dedication and hard work of these smaller charities. They help thousands of children a year and are a life-line to so many families”


This year we would like to take the opportunity to express how proud we are of these charities and all they have achieved, since our visit last year. Each charity has continued spreading happiness across the North West with organised activities and holiday experiences.

Aiming Higher

Wipe Your Tears

A Day Of Sunshine

Blessing In Disguise

We have seen some outstanding sensory rooms, messy craft rooms and even rooms filled with trampolines. We’ve heard of a number of courageous excursions, unforgettable holidays and not to forget, upcoming Christmas pantomimes!


The work of these 12 charities is not only an inspiration to us but is very much a necessity to the families they help.

Sign Hi Say Hi!

Oj’s Care








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Charity Registration Number: 1045077

Candlelighters is a children’s charity dedicated to combating cancer, leukaemia and serious blood disorders by supporting children and their families from across Yorkshire. They offer practical and emotional support as well as therapy and wellbeing at their family support centre, The Square. They heavily invest in staff and equipment funding at Leeds Children’s Hospital, funding 665hrs of staff roles every week.

At the beginning of 2017 Candlelighters purchased a cottage just a short walk from the hospital. Once renovated this cottage would provide free accommodation for families facing childhood cancer, enabling them to be closer together and reduce the financial burden of travel costs.

The cottage itself was uninhabitable at the time and needed completely stripping back.

Amongst other things, the property needed a new roof, re-wiring of electrics, a new plumbing and heating system, damp proofing course, full re-plastering and insulating to name but a few.

An extension was to be built in order to expand the communal areas for families, as well as four bedrooms that needed their own ensuite, toilet and wet room shower installed

On top of all this, the entire property would need to be refurnished with everything from beds and chairs through to towels and cutlery.

It was in May 2017 that the Candlelighters Cottage campaign was launched, which raised over £250,000. An amount that the Kentown Wizard Foundation are delighted to have match funded in order for the charity to begin renovations.

After months of incredibly hard work from both the Candlelighters and their supporters the cottage was complete and the grand opening set for September









Margaret Ingram, CEO of the Kentown Wizard Foundation- “We were trilled to attend the Candlelighters Cottage grand opening, it is a fantastic project and the renovations are amazingly impressive! This will be a very comfortable home from home where families can spend precious time together”

The Candlelighters have now officially opened the cottage to the public and most recently released a Candlelighters Cottage storybook to commemorate the project.

The delightful and enchanting book, written in rhyming couplets, tells the story of how the Candlelighters Cottage magically comes to life with the help of some feathered friends.

Written by local author Donna lliffe-Pollard and illustrated by Christina Little, all proceeds from the book are being donated to Candlelighters.


“A brick is just a building block, it’s nothing on its own

But when it’s joined by thousands more, it turns into a home”

Donna lliffe-Pollard




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Muir Maxwell Trust

Charity Registration Number: SC034364

The Muir Maxwell Trust is a paediatric epilepsy charity that aims to make a difference by providing children and their carers with practical support and by speeding up what can be a frustratingly slow diagnostic process. Though not a dedicated Helpline, they are always on hand to give help and advice to those facing the challenges of caring for children with severe epilepsy.

The Trust began distributing potentially life-saving epilepsy movement sensor bed alarms to families in June 2003, coinciding with its launch. Whilst the Trust has funded and completed many different projects over the years, the distribution of epilepsy alarms remains on-going. To date they have successfully distributed over 3,000 alarms at a cost of over £2 million.

The decision to distribute epilepsy alarms to families was based on the Maxwell’s own experience of an epilepsy alarm and the quality of life it brought to their son Muir and to the rest of the family. The alarm allowed Muir to sleep in his own room and it brought the whole family peace of mind knowing that they would be alerted to a seizure, should Muir have one in the night.

The Kentown Wizard Foundation are supporting Muir Maxwell Trust with a grant of £23,000 in order to purchase 46 epilepsy alarms to be distributed across Lancashire and the North of England.

Family liaison manager Ann-Marie Nelson said: “On behalf of the Muir Maxwell Trust, I would like to thank Kentown Wizard Foundation for its generous donation and the valuable support it gives our work with children suffering from epilepsy and their families.”

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A Day Of Sunshine

Registered Charity Number: 1149764

A Day Of Sunshine is a Lancashire based children’s charity aiming to bring a little sunshine into the lives of local deserving children, by providing them and their families, with an all expenses paid holiday either in Spain or the UK

The Kentown Wizard Foundation donated £3000 to A Day Of Sunshine back in December 2017 as part of a 12 days of Christmas campaign. The grant was used to fund 4 children and their families on a well deserved summer holiday. This included 8 year old Katie, who had never been out of the country before.

Katie suffers from severe anxiety as well as selective mutism and for years hasn’t been able to speak to anyone other than her father, Fin.

During her Day Of Sunshine holiday, while engrossed in a number of exciting activities, Katie was able to relax enough to break her silence and make some new friends.

David Lee, the founder of A Day Of Sunshine Charity said

“When Katie first came into the charity shop with her dad, she was so shy. We would always try to make her feel comfortable in the shop but she never felt confident enough to speak”

On returning home, Katie is making great progress and is now able to chat with her big sister as well as her friends at school.

A Day Of Sunshine Charity continues to work extremely hard to provide families with well deserved holidays, each creating incredible memories, just like this one.



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(Established in 1989 as Christian Lewis Trust)
Charity Registration number: 1113821

Kids Cancer Charity aim to improve the quality of life for children and their families affected by cancer by offering emotional and practical support.

With over 27 years’ experience in providing respite care breaks, they understand the importance of families being able to spend time together in peaceful and relaxing surroundings away from their normal environment.

A grant from the Kentown Wizard Foundation has enabled Kids Cancer Charity to purchase a luxury caravan, sited on the beautiful South Wales coast at Lydstep Beach Holiday Village. The £75,000 grant includes wheelchair friendly adaptation of the caravan and 3 years site fees.

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Charity Registration number: 1070532

Rainbow Trust offer bespoke support to families who have a child with a life-threatening illness. A dedicated team of family support workers and committed volunteers offer families a lifeline at home, in hospital or in the community. This can be anything from meals cooked, siblings looked after, transport to and from hospital to respite.

A grant totalling £200,000 from The Kentown Wizard Foundation has enabled them to strengthen their North West team and expand their support to even more families needing emotional and practical assistance and help relieve the day to day pressures of living with a very sick child.

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