The UK gaming and gambling industry is coming under more intensive pressure from the regulator. So, social reponsibility will be taking a considerably higher role on the agenda of most businesses going forward. Leading the way will be charitable activities and the i-gaming sector, now first in the firing line of Gambling Commission, is expected to step up its community role in the UK. The charity CHIPS is among those really winning favour recently celebrating receipt of its 500th powered wheelchair thanks to donations made by a wide range of organisations from across the gaming and gambling industry.
Strictly star Anton du Beke took time out of a busy schedule to present the 500th powered wheelchair funded by CHIPS, the registered charity founded and funded by the UK gaming industry. The presentation, which was held at London’s Reform Club, was made to 10-year old Abbi Bennett who lives with Ulrich’s Muscular Dystrophy which affects her lower limbs and severely limits her mobility. Abbi, who travelled to London from her home in Bournville, Birmingham is the latest recipient to benefit from CHIPS’ fundraising which totals over £2m, a figure that has allowed it to purchase the bespoke powered wheelchairs that the NHS cannot provide and that the parents cannot afford.
Talking at the presentation Anton du Beke said: “These wheelchairs are life-changing and it’s been an honour to be part of this wonderful achievement with CHIPS! I really love working with smaller charities like CHIPS where you see the impact of their work, even though they’re small charities they make a massive difference. To be part of today has been incredible, I’ve met Abbi – who’s a little beauty – and that wheelchair has made such a difference to her life already. It’s wonderful to see how she’s completely independent not waiting for someone to push her or carry her, she’s just off on her own path! That sense of giving a fuller life to a child is so important and the freedom and independence it brings, is just unbelievable.”
Commenting on how the chair has impacted his daughter’s life, Gary Bennett, explained: “We were hugely lucky to be put into contact with CHIPS by Abbi’s incredibly helpful physiotherapist and it’s led to an all singing all dancing chair being fully funded for her. She loves the new chair, which she calls ‘her legs’ as it enables her more freedom to be out and about, talk to people face-to-face and race around like a little speed demon. We are eternally grateful to CHIPS, the proof’s in the pudding with Abbi and that’s what it’s all about, having her at the forefront of everything for our family. To watch her be able to be more independent and zoom around like she hasn’t got a care in the world, it’s priceless!”
“This new wheelchair is all about Abbi’s independence. This type of chair, which isn’t available on the NHS, just provides her with so much more freedom and the simple hi/lo feature allows her to get to different heights and has made her feel equal to everybody else which is all she ever really wants,” he continued. “CHIPS has been amazing at helping to say what you can do as opposed to what you can’t.”
Commenting on the 500th presentation, CHIPS’ co-founder Linda Lindsay, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved this incredible milestone and in doing so provide Abbi with the gift of freedom which so many of us take for granted. This wheelchair, which cost £7,000, will provide her with the freedom to move around easily and safely and includes a state-of-the-art hi/lo facility allowing her to talk to her friends and family face-to-face rather than always on a lower level.
“I’ve attended virtually every one of the 500 CHIPS wheelchair presentations and have seen how the chairs quite literally change lives, not just the children’s but the whole family as well as carers, teachers and friends. To reach 500 is incredibly exciting and we’re very humbled to have Anton mark this momentous occasion and help Abbi onto the next stage of her adventure.”
CHIPS which is funded by donations from the UK gaming industry, sets the highest fundraising standards with 100 percent of monies raised going towards the provision of powered wheelchairs. Linda Lindsay explained: “Every chair we provide brings great joy not only to the individual child who is able to interact and socialise with friends but also to the family unit. The sad fact is that the demand for specialised chairs that the NHS can’t provide, far exceeds what CHIPS can supply. However, today marks a huge achievement for the charity and with more companies pledging their support to us each year, we hope to reach the next 500 even sooner and continue to bring freedom to youngsters throughout the UK.”
For more information about CHIPS, visit: www.chipscharity.org