Surlender Pendress, the co-founder of The Love Writing Co, not only has a passion to help children at nurseries, primary and pre-school with their learning journey, but she is also helping families with a child in hospital.
The Ronald McDonald House at Birmingham Children's Hospital is one of the largest of the 12 purpose-built free accommodation facilities across the UK. It provides 66 bedrooms, a lounge, play area and kitchen that enables families the opportunity to cook together and eat together, and families can stay there for as long as they need to when they are supporting a sick child. The longest family stay last year was for 382 nights, and 837 families stayed at the facility in 2018.
Surlender, who lives close to Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "During lockdown, families were not able to visit their children in hospital and it was really hard for the children not to be able to have visitors or see their families during their stay in hospital. I wanted to share The Love Writing products with those children to spread a little joy in a situation that can be far from joyful."
The company's latest product is a set of washable arty crayons that have a twist-barrel style, a smooth easy glide across the paper, are non-toxic, washable and come in 12 colours.
All the products in The Love Writing Co range, including the washable arty crayons, handwriting and alphabet practice books, writing and colouring pencil bundles, and handwriting practice traceable birthday and thank you cards, are designed to inspire, encourage confidence, creativity and make a difference to children. They are all specifically designed for small hands to use comfortably and are responsibly sourced and endorsed by The British Dyslexia Association.
Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, Surlender was not able to give the products to the children in person, so she gave several sets to the staff at the hospital to share out amongst the children aged between three and 10 years old.
Surlender is hoping that by September this year, many of the Covid restrictions will be lifted sufficiently to allow her to visit the Birmingham Children's Hospital, meet some of the children and also receive a tour of the family accommodation at Ronald McDonald House.
"Ronald McDonald Houses are located as close as possible to specialist children's hospitals," explained Surlender. "This means that families can be by their child's bedside in a matter of moments, whilst also maintaining some degree of normal life."
Katie West, of the Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: "We are delighted to receive support from Love Writing in the form of educational resources for our families, in particular their sick child and siblings. It's important that a child continues their education whilst in hospital, support from Love Writing will enable families to support their child's learning and development with ease. We can't thank Surlender and her team enough for thinking of us and our families in this way."
Surlender is planning to showcase her fun writing products at pop-up stalls in John Lewis stores in August 2021 as part of the Great British Pop-Up initiative. The Love Writing Co will be at the John Lewis store in Solihull, Birmingham on Tuesday 3 August and at the Oxford John Lewis store on Monday 23 August.
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