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Two-year-old in Barrow to receive pre-school support after hip operation

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A pre-school can now offer extensive educational support to a two-year-old who is set to undergo surgery, thanks to a grant from a charity.

The grant will ensure Alice Baynham’s education continues, despite having very little mobility in the months following an operation to correct her hip dysplasia.

Children’s charity Joni’s Army stepped forward to give £26,000 to Plum Tree Pre-school in Barrow, which will allow it to provide teacher training, special equipment and home visits.

Alice and her mother Helen Bull, along with staff and Lee Brown from Joni's Army
Alice and her mother Helen Bull, along with staff and Lee Brown from Joni's Army

Alice’s mother, Helen Bull, said: “The NHS diagnosed her so quickly and have been absolutely fantastic throughout. And now, once she leaves the hospital, Plum Tree will have the funds they need to continue providing Alice with the best support.”

Alice will be in a restrictive spica hip cast after the procedure and will need to learn how to walk again during a recovery period which could last several months.

This will completely immobilise her hip joint while she is in recovery, making simple daily tasks impossible.

Plum Tree Pre-school was unable to secure funding from the government to support her, as Alice is under three years old.

Fortunately, Joni’s Army has no age limits on providing help for children who are struggling with health issues.

The charity was founded after the death of Joni-Mai Stevens at the age of nine from a rare form of bone cancer and raises funds to help support children who are facing medical adversity.

Tanya Merton, director of Plum Tree Pre-school and childcare services, said: “We need extra training, equipment and the opportunity to carry out home visits. With this funding, we’ll now be able to provide that.”

Alice’s mother Helen works in the West Suffolk community along with looking after her children.

She said: “It’s a corrective procedure so she’s very mobile currently, but after she has the operation that will change. It’s hard to say how long the recovery period will be but it will be months before she regains full mobility.

“The NHS and Plum Tree have been brilliant and we are so grateful to everyone over at Joni’s Army. The funding is going to make such a difference for Alice.”

To find out more about Joni’s Army or to help to raise funds for the charity, go to http://www.jonisarmy.co.uk/