A typical desk top
As anyone who has worked on a
networked computer will know, technical
support is essential and Lifelites provides full
on-site and telephone assistance through
professional third party providers.
The project also enjoys the benefit of a
network of Masonic Support Teams –
volunteers who give up their time and
expertise to ensure that the nursing staff and
families get the most from the equipment
The support of these teams is invaluable
and team members have seen for themselves
the advantages that the Lifelites project
provides. Typical comments have been,
“If we can give the children some quality of life
during their stay at the hospice then the project
is a success”;
“Of all the facilities available at a children’s
hospice, the Lifelites equipment is the most used”;
and “It’s good to know that we are helping these
young people to continue their education and
also keep in regular contact with friends, family
and other children across the country with
The value of the Lifelites project is reflected
in the recent comments of Dalton Leong,
chief executive of The Shooting Star
Children’s Hospice, who said: “We are
extremely grateful to be the recipients of
the generous donation of IT equipment
from the Lifelites project.
“The difference it will make to children
with life-limiting conditions is summed up
by one of our first guests, a 12-year-old girl
who, when she arrived for a week’s respite
stay and saw the equipment, said: ‘Wow!
This is incredible. I can’t wait for tomorrow.’
“Bringing that level of instant joy really
shows how our children and their families
will truly benefit from the use of the
equipment, which will enhance the quality
of lives, where every second counts.”
Over the past five years Lifelites has
become a victim of its own success. When
the project began it was anticipated that
there would be 30 participating hospices by
2008. The reality is that by the close of 2005
there were already 34, and by 2008 numbers
may well have risen to 40. This far exceeds
original expectations. In 1999 the RMTGB
provided £7.5 million to fund the project –
only about half now remains.
If Lifelites is to continue its work it needs
to raise £500,000 each year. This will go
towards upgrading and maintaining existing
installations as well as providing new ones.
Les Hutchinson is secretary to the
Council of the RMTGB
How YOU can support Lifelites
Lodges have asked about donating one
Lodge alms collection annually to the
charity and there have already been
many approaches from individual
Freemasons interested in making a
Lifelites Gift Aid envelopes are available.
You can telephone the Lifelites office at
the RMTGB (020 7405 2644) and they will
be sent to you free of charge.
Key to the success of Lifelites will be its
ability to seek funding from corporate
sponsors as well as from the Masonic
community. If you have any suggestions
for corporate sponsorship, please send
them by email to Lifelites@RMTGB.org.
Be in at the beginning. If you would like
to help, you can do so now.
Please give your support to the newest
Masonic charity. Cheques made payable
to ‘Lifelites’ should be sent to: Lifelites,
RMTGB, 31 Great Queen Street, London
WC2B 5AG or you can donate online at
the Lifelites website at www.lifelites.org.
The website tells you more about
Lifelites and gives details about how
you can arrange for a speaker to attend
your Lodge or fund-raising event.
Lifelites at Ty Hafan
“Here at Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice
we have benefited from the Lifelites
education and entertainment
technology almost since we opened six
years ago.” says Sandra, the hospice’s
Activity Team manager.
“The ‘edutainment’ value for our
children cannot be underestimated.
The equipment is used on a daily basis.
Whatever the ability of the child, the
system has the relevant components
to meet their needs.
“The computers are used by the whole
family and, often, parents can be seen
surfing the net, alongside their
offspring who are playing games –
or vice versa!
“All of the computers are in constant
use, and the camera and printer are
particular favourites for downloading
images and using Paint Shop to create
wonderful pictorial images that are
treasured memories for us and the
families. In fact, anything that moves
seems to be photographed at Ty Hafan!
“Added bonuses have been wireless
technology – an advantage for many
of our children, particularly those with
muscular dystrophy – and the touch
screen for our less able children.
“Many of the children who have limited
use of their arms have found the
webcam and the games that come with
it a great way to use the computers. It
is important that they are not excluded.
“Having constant access to the internet
has been a boon. From helping with the
children’s homework to downloading
information on their favourite groups,
footballers and film stars. Many a time
a young man can also be seen searching
for their favourite female wrestler!
Parents have often used it to research
into their child’s condition and gain
“Of course, none of this would work
with out the back up of our local Masonic
Support Team. We are grateful to the
Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
for the provision of this service that is
Web site created by Mark Griffin