Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Something Different for Christmas from PhotonStar...

PhotonStar has chosen not to send out paper Christmas cards this year as part of our sustainability policy. We chose, along with other local companies and volunteers, to give a Christmas “gift” to a local family instead. Sustainability is, we believe, also about supporting the local community that you live in. Whilst we continue to create more and more UK based jobs, at this “time of goodwill to all men” the money that we would have spent sending on cards was spent on helping a very deserving family in Fareham at Christmas time.

So here is your own Christmas “gift” with best wishes and holiday greetings from all at PhotonStar:

We donated LED luminaires for the renovation of the family’s home, a project which is part of the BBC one series ‘DIY SOS’; the DIY show which takes on ambitious builds to help truly deserving families. This particular family, based just 20 minutes away from our Hampshire office, was chosen because of their inspiring yet unfortunate situation. Haanagh and Mike Smith bought their modest two bedroom house in 2003, when they were expecting their first child and were both fully employed. Six years later they were delighted to learn that five year old Harry would soon have a sibling and, whilst they knew space in the house was limited, they were confident about the future of their growing family.

The pregnancy scan revealed not just one baby but twins, who were born prematurely after seven months with many complications. Reuben sadly suffered a brain hemorrhage and was consequently diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, while Zachary is now severely deaf following two bouts of Meningitis. The twins survived despite their life-threatening disabilities and are both happy and adventurous two year olds; however both live with mobility, speech and learning problems.

After two redundancies their father Mike is now a self-employed contractor and regularly works away from home, leaving Haanagh to care full time for all three children in a very small house that is unequipped to support disabled children like Zachary and Reuben. The family found themselves trapped, unable to upgrade to a more spacious home due to financial constraints. They were keen to remain in the Fareham area because they have a lot of friends and a strong support network but the house was far from comfortable, with the twins sharing their parent’s bedroom and nowhere to store bulky disability equipment.

DIY SOS recognized the family’s cry for a more accessible and suitable home and, whilst they couldn't provide the masses of extra space that we’d all like to give them, ‘The Big Build’ was able to adapt and renovate the house accordingly. During the build, PhotonStar donated EcoStar 500 luminaires for the whole house, which were installed by local volunteer electricians. These will help to lower Mike and Haanagh’s energy bills significantly as they use just a fifth of the electricity that halogen lamps do.
The ground floor was opened up and a single-storey extension was added to provide an open-plan spacious kitchen and dining room with easy entry to the garden. A large awning was erected in the garden to create a beautiful extra room for the family without being completely outside. A new wheelchair friendly bedroom with a wet room was added to the ground floor for Reuben, and the DIY SOS volunteers created a fun and inviting room upstairs for Harry and Zach to share, giving their parents back the space they deserve.
Many local companies and individuals volunteered to provide products and services for the project and we are proud to have been able to help and take part in changing the family’s lives. We are confident that you will agree with our decision to support the local family and share their inspiring story instead of sending Christmas cards.

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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