Hundreds of children at nine NI paediatric units receive sensory toys, and we are rally proud to be a part of it.

The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust (NICLT) has partnered with eight NI companies to provide children’s hospital units with much-needed gifts

A drive to deliver much-needed sensory toys and equipment to paediatric units across the province has been deemed a success by the NI charity, the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust (NICLT). 

The scheme included eight paediatric units and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, and was created by NICLT Trustee Dr Mark Rollins to support children living with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and who spend a lot of their precious time in hospital and/or hospice settings. 

The idea came about as a result of the pandemic, which prevented the charity from carrying out its traditional annual flight to Lapland, which has been creating memories for children with challenging conditions for the past 12 years.

We one of the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust's corporate partners and our ongoing financial support allows the charity to present sensory toys and equipment to the NI Children's Hospice, something we are truly proud of. 

Other corporate partners include The Bushmills Inn (Causeway Hospital), Glens of Antrim Potatoes (Antrim Area Hospital), C-Tec (NI) in Newry (Daisy Hill Hospital), Wineflair (Craigavon Hospital), Barclay Communications (The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children), CosyRoof (Altnagelvin Area Hospital) and Bells Crossgar Motors (Ulster Hospital). The charity was also delighted to be able to make a similar donation to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.

Dr Mark Rollins, a senior consultant paediatrician at Causeway Hospital, NICLT trustee and founder of the hospital gifting scheme, explains:

“This is a unique charity drive that allowed paediatric units around Northern Ireland to benefit from the most suitable sensory toys and equipment for their respective environments. 

“These gifts will make a difference to children, carers and health teams who know full well the challenges they face daily. 

“We are truly grateful for the very generous donations from the charity’s corporate partners in this scheme. They are among some of NI’s most esteemed companies and some of them have experienced one of their most trying times in business during the pandemic, but they haven’t allowed that to get in the way of their generosity.”

Speaking about the impact the inaugural gift delivery had on children in the NI Children’s Hospice, Jenny Thompson, Deputy Head of Children’s Hospice, said:

“We’re delighted to be part of Lapland Trust 3 Steps to Christmas Appeal. The families we care for have told us, that after a tough couple of years it was magical to see the excitement of their children’s faces.

“The new sensory equipment is a lifeline for the children and staff here, because of COVID-19 we have had to create individual sessions with children during their stay with us. These toys have allowed us to create a sensory environment in each child’s room giving them the opportunity to enjoy sensory stimulation or a time to relax at any point during their stay here. We are so grateful to the Lapland Trust for their ongoing support as it makes all the difference in children’s lives.”

Jim Burke, Director of Sales and Acquisitions at Ballyclare based Hagan Homes, who has supported the charity since 2009 and who donated to the initiative said:  

“At Hagan Homes we’re all about making a house a home but in many instances, the children who are supported by the NI Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust spend much of their time outside of theirs. 

“We feel privileged then to be able to donate to a worthy cause that makes those healthcare settings a place of comfort and donate towards equipment that can offer some much-needed entertainment and challenges while they undergo treatments and care.

“Every business in Northern Ireland has a moral obligation to put a proportion of their profits to good use and it is always an easy decision for us to support the NICLT in its efforts.”

The charity’s annual Lapland trip with 100 local children with life threatening or life limiting conditions had to be cancelled because of the covid pandemic. 

Instead, the charity raised funds to give 110 local children, who were nominated by the eight paediatric departments and the NI Children’s Hospice, a new experience, including a detailed personal letter from Santa, a video from the man himself from his grotto in Lapland, a visit from Santa and his elves as well as a gift to the value of £200, all received in the safety of their own homes.

Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust has also recently welcomed three new high profile ambassadors to the charity. 

Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions rugby ace Tommy Bowe, Ireland’s number one country singing star Nathan Carter and Northern Ireland Women’s Football Team captain, Marissa Callaghan have signed up to be advocates for the charity.

If you would like to find out more about The Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust or to make a donation check out