52 Lives

Life #44

Request: A shed, and some sensory toys and equipment

This week, 52 Lives would like to help Isabel, a 5 year old girl from Surrey.

Isabel has complex needs. In 2012 she was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, but then her behaviour became more difficult and she started having very violent episodes of extreme anger. The child mental health specialists have since diagnosed her with post traumatic stress disorder and attachment issues. They say she's a scared and worried girl who is confused about who she is and the world around her. She is now having therapy three times a week.

Her mum was a victim of domestic violence and her father has been in and out of prison since she was born. They had to leave their family home earlier this year, which hasn't been good for Isabel's anxiety levels.

Her mum cares for her and her little brother full time. She is trying to deal with this all on her own but it has become incredibly difficult for her.

She has discovered that what helps Isabel the most is sensory-based activities, and quiet, dark rooms. Isabel has access to these at a specialised play centre she visits, but her mum doesn't have the space or resources to be able to create a similar thing at home.

Her mum found 52 Lives when she was searching for information on sensory sheds online. She came across the story of us helping to create a sensory shed for another little girl, Evie, back in week 17 and was hoping we might be able to do something to help her daughter as well.


1. A shed. The ideal way to help them would be to buy a shed for the mum to convert into a sensory room for Isabel. I know it's a big ask, but if you would be willing to buy a shed for them, or contribute towards one, please let me know.

2. Sensory toys and equipment. Even if the shed isn't possible, these would still be of significant help to Isabel. Please let me know if you would like to help buy sensory toys, and I will send more details of how to do it.

I'm so pleased to say that we have been able to give Isabel everything she needed.

A wonderful woman called Adele from Magrath LLP Solicitors in London decided to hold a company Christmas raffle to raise money for the shed. The firm raised £500, which is just brilliant. Thankyou so much Adele and everyone at Magrath for all your efforts.

We also had two large donations from Paul and Richard, meaning we were able to buy Isabel an amazing shed - actually the word shed doesn't do it justice! It's a beautiful garden building (see photo).

And thanks to Michelle McGuffin, Joanna Ford-Riding, Richard Currie and Kieu Tu (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone?), it will be filled with sensory toys, beanbags, lights and cushions. Thankyou so much for buying things for her. Her mum said every single parcel that arrived in the post gave Isabel so much joy and the sensory toys have made a real difference in her life. She even slept in her own bed for the first time in a very long time. Isabel sent a thankyou card for everyone (see pic).

Thanks so much for helping her.