52 Lives

#125 Emma and Olivia

Request: Donations for play therapy / a cooker / carpet / home repairs

This week, we want to help a single mum called Emma from Peterborough, and her 9 year old daughter Olivia, who has autism. 

Olivia is facing a lot of challenges. Her sensory issues are so great that she hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything for nearly three years. For two years she had a tube in her nose that fed into her stomach. It had to be removed and reinstated every four weeks, which was incredibly distressing for her. On Christmas Eve a couple of years ago, the tube change went wrong and Olivia struggled to breath. The memory of this still affects her. Olivia now has a tube that goes directly into her stomach, which has been better for her as it doesn’t need to be changed and isn’t as visible - having a tube on her face had been significantly affecting her self esteem.

Olivia’s mum, Emma, is her full-time carer. She was living in private rented accommodation, but couldn’t afford to stay so her and Olivia were on the verge of being made homeless. Fortunately, they were allocated a council house and moved in last week. For a child with Olivia’s needs, moving house is a very traumatic experience. She finds change incredibly distressing. When they arrived at their new house, they discovered it had no carpet, no cooker and filthy floors - Emma has spent days on her hands and knees trying to get it clean. The previous tenant also didn’t clean up after their dog, so the garden was absolutely covered in dog mess, meaning Olivia hasn't been able to go outside to use her sensory equipment.

Emma’s old house was very much centred around Olivia. She had a little school area where she home-educated her, it was decorated in Olivia’s favourite colours and Emma had factored Olivia’s sensory needs into every aspect of the house. Starting all over again, with little money and no help from anyone, is not going to be easy.

The professionals I’ve spoken to who have worked with Emma and Olivia said they are very much a family deserving of help. Olivia isn’t receiving the support Emma feels she needs, and getting more support has been an on-going battle - they have been passed around the system and Olivia is suffering as a result.

Olivia is a very sad and angry little girl at the moment and is finding it hard to deal with all the emotions she is experiencing. Emma is trying to do everything on her own and is desperate to get more help for her.

We want to help make life a little bit easier for both of them, and help Emma feel supported.

What We Need

1. Donations towards play therapy, carpet, and a cooker
Emma feels that ‘play therapy’ would be hugely beneficial to Olivia and help her deal with her emotions and gain confidence and trust in other people again, but she can’t afford the sessions. She also needs to buy carpet for the house and a cooker. Your donations would go directly to buying all of those things for her. Any extra money raised will be put towards additional therapies for Olivia.

2. Tradespeople for home repairs
Emma needs security lights installed and a cat-flap fitted in a double-glazed door. If there are any tradespeople in the Peterborough area that may be able to donate their services, please let us know by filling in the form below.

3. Messages
If you would like to send a message of support to Emma and Olivia, please email it to admin@52-lives.org or post to: 52 Lives (Life 125), PO Box 329, Hampton, TW12 9DF, UK


What We Did

With your help, this is what we we were able to give Emma and Olivia

Thankyou so much everyone. You have not only transformed their home and given Olivia a real chance to improve her life, you have helped Emma to feel cared for for the first time in a very long time. The last few years have been a constant battle for her, and having complete strangers show her so much love has made more difference than you can possibly imagine.

Finally, thankyou to Catherine for nominating Emma and helping us to arrange all of these things, and to Gala Bingo for their incredible on-going support.