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Aliyana was about five months old when we came to realise she was having difficulties with head control, alongside low birth weight and consistent eye infections. Eventually, she was diagnosed with global developmental delays, which means that she has not been able to meet her developmental milestones. As a result, there is a big question mark looming over how able-bodied she will be as she grows up.

We then discovered Playskill, and it is safe to say it has been a lifeline. Aliyana began during the summer term and I can honestly say she has flourished since going to the weekly sessions; she has achieved all the targets which were set for her. Playskill have offered us lots of support as parents too, including networking opportunities with other carers, informative classes and even a toy library.

Alongside the regular and much-needed sessions of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, Playskill have taken the time to provide advice on how we can navigate and thrive in this new ‘world’. They also bring families with children who have additional needs together, creating a community of support to help overcome the physical, mental and emotional toll that weighs on all of us.

I am now fundraising for Playskill as they desperately need support, in the same way we were desperate for theirs. They have given me the strength to be able to swim eight hours across Lake Windermere, and swimming this 20km has been an incredible achievement, mainly because I know that these efforts allow them to help other families the way that they have helped ours.

£1 from every Mansion on the Hill cocktail purchased at our bars will be donated to Playskill.

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