Nursery children helped to hear thanks to Voice reader's generous donation
STAFF and families at a Yate nursery are saying a big thank-you to a mystery Yate & Sodbury Voice reader who answered their call for help.
Parents started raising money to pay for ‘sound clouds’ to help children who have difficulty with hearing loss and communication at Sodbury Vale nursery.
The ceiling-hung devices help to cut out background noise and make it easier for children with hearing issues to listen to speech.
But after almost all fundraising events had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, the appeal was left well below its target – until an anonymous donor who read of their plight in last month's Voice stepped forward and gave them £1,000.
The nursery, at the Ridgewood Centre in Station Road, has high ceilings which reflect background noise, making it difficult for children with hearing difficulties to communicate.
Since the pandemic its soft furnishings have had to be removed, making its already-poor acoustics even worse.
Parent Samantha Coleman set up an online fundraising page before lockdown, after finding that 24 out of 80 children attending the nursery needed additional help with speech and language.
Among them is her own daughter, Olivia, who is deaf in her left ear and has fluctuating hearing loss in her right ear.
Olivia, who is three, uses a mixture of BSL and Makaton sign languages to help her communicate and wears a bone anchored hearing aid.
The Voice reported on the appeal last month – and the situation touched many hearts, with a series of new donations being made to its JustGiving page.
And one reader was determined to make sure the appeal succeeded.
Nursery manager Julie Norcombe said: “A well-spoken gentleman phoned the nursery to say that he had seen the article in the Yate and Sodbury Voice and asked if we were still fund raising for our sound clouds. I replied that we were around £1,000 short of our target.
“He explained that he wanted to remain anonymous and he would make sure the £1,000 got to us within the next few days! We can’t thank him enough, it was such a kind thing to do.”
Samantha said she was "blown away" by the response to the article.
She said: “We are over to the moon to have reached our target – the support and generosity of so many people has been amazing, and we are really grateful.
"The sound clouds can now be installed, which is very exciting – they will help my daughter's hearing difficulties enormously and enable her, and all the children of the nursery, to engage and communicate better, which in turn creates a happier environment for playing and learning.
"A huge thank you to everyone who had supported us – it means so much.”
Julie added: “We have been talking to the children about the clouds and what to expect, which has promoted some lovely discussions around different types of weather, where the children have talked about thunder, lightning, rainbows and sunshine.
"The staff at Sodbury Vale are excited to see what a difference these clouds will make to our setting.”
The final total raised by the JustGiving page was £4,849, plus an additional £170 from selling new books donated by Morrisons, making a total of £5,019. The original target was £4,600 and the extra money means the nursery can buy extra sound clouds to improve the sound quality even further.
The installation will take place during half term week, later this month.