Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting children’s activities, Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization is actively seeking to raise money for playground equipment that will help with kids’ fitness and well-being.

The non-profit organization in Nanaimo, which supports children with neurological disabilities, has limited activities due to social distancing and closures associated with the pandemic, said Samantha Hayes, the organization’s learning centre manager. It has caused children a lot of anxiety and it is hard for them to understand why they’re unable to continue routines and regular activities, she said.

“A big part of our programming … is community inclusion and sharing of physical activities and just because of the limitations from COVID and to make sure that they are safe and well, they have lost out on a lot of their physical activities or their outside programming,” said Hayes.

She said NUKO used to arrange afternoon activities at pools, gyms and parks, but those trips are no longer happening.

“Our vans have been put on hold due to not being able to social distance or properly sanitize the areas, so they’ve lost out on all those afternoon outings that we used to take them out on,” Hayes said.

As of Friday afternoon, approximately $1,000 of an $8,000 goal had been raised on a GoFundMe page. The organization seeks to buy All-In Clever Climbers outdoor play structures.

“We have purchased other gym equipment and we’ve created a movement area within our centre to allow a gym program to be done here, instead of going to the gyms or going swimming or outside for walks [but] our funding is limited,” said Hayes.

Occupational therapists come into the centre and the structure will be available for their use as well, Hayes said.

Donations can be made online by searching for ‘Encourage Social Interactions’ on www.gofundme.com and Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization is also accepting cash and cheques at the centre.

More information on the organization can be found at www.nuko.ca.

RELATED: Nanaimo’s unique kids have new place to call their own



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