Two sisters who both face the daily challenges of autism have overcome lockdown boredom by creating hundreds of activity packs to keep children in their neighbourhood occupied.
Hannah and Emma Stacey of Nantyffyllon, Maesteg, are compiling packs of brain games, colouring exercises and instructions for making everything from edible play dough to toilet roll monsters, then delivering them to nearby homes.
It began as a way of Emma, 23, keeping her sister from getting too bored. Hannah, 13, loved the activities so much that they came up with the idea of putting them on facebook and asking if other families in the area wanted to share them.
Within days they had orders for more than 600 packs aimed at different age groups with adults enjoying them just as much as children. Now the sisters have no time to get bored as they scour the internet for more crafting and games ideas which they plan to share once a fortnight.
Hannah is supported by Atebion, a service run by Barnardo’s Cymru on behalf of Bridgend County Council, which pre-lockdown organised activities for children and young people with a wide range of disabilities.
Since the lockdown Barnardo’s has been holding video calls with children, including live cookery sessions and other fun tasks for families to do together, The charity is also using technology to organise virtual group wellbeing sessions and provide parenting support.
Barnardo’s Cymru team leader Sarah Rowe said: “The girls’ project is a brilliant and thoughtful gesture and they have clearly put a lot of effort into supporting those around them.
“We find ourselves in such strange circumstances right now, but Hannah and Emma are making a huge difference to the children, young people and adults who receive their well-being packs. It’s lovely to see how communities are coming together to support each other.”
Mum Nicola said: “We were all struggling being in the house all day and Emma came up with some new ideas for games and crafts. Hannah was in her element because she loves anything crafty.
“They offered them to other family members who thought they were amazing and things just took off. We’ve had requests for 658 packs which they are delivering in the Maesteg area and they are also sending out links to people who live further away so they can download their own from the internet.
“It’s keeping the girls exceptionally busy and I am extremely proud of them. The packs are benefiting so many people, not just children but some lonely adults too.”
Emma said she was inspired by seeing her sister struggle with lockdown. “I know how hard it is for her, having Asperger’s myself. This really has been a blessing and a joy to do, as it’s not only keeping our minds occupied, but it’s amazing to know that these packs can relieve the monotony for others during this tremendously difficult time.”
Emma is currently funding the packs from her own money, earned through acting and voice over work.