A WORCESTER charity is helping children with cancer connect with the outside world thanks to National Lottery Funding. The Grace Kelly Trust charity supports children with cancer in memory of city girl Grace Kelly, who died aged 4. They have been awarded lottery funding.

The funding will be spent on robots that allows children in a hospital bed to be ‘in the classroom’ and to interact with their class at the same time.

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Grace Kelly Founder, Jennifer Kelly, said: “Not only does this bring hope and positivity to children (and their families) affected by cancer but also to their peers who are facing the sudden disappearance of their friend. We have seen how Oscar and other children who have made use of the robots by them have benefitted. It allows children who are completely isolated, trapped in a hospital bed for up to 12 months to stay in touch with the outside world. It makes such a difference for them. It is amazing to see.” The total funding the trust will receive is £226,355 spread over a period of five years. Each robot costs almost £6,000, the trust plans to buy 18 new devices for children in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. In the Three Counties, there are about 75 children diagnosed with cancer every year with around 40 being of school age. Of these school children, more than a half will need extended periods of hospitalisation or isolation during their treatment. Referrals will be made directly from cancer specialist nurse teams to ensure that the children that need them are not missed. Dr Kelly, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to give these life-changing devices to children with cancer, and we are extremely grateful to the National Lottery for their fantastic support. However,we suspect that the need for our AV1’s may well increase over time because each year brings a slight increase in rates of diagnosis of childhood cancer nationally. We need to start planning for when funding ends in 5 years’ time because there can be no guarantee of further funding for this project. By planning now, we are aiming sustain this project in the long term, so please do keep fundraising. The more children that we can help support, the better.”