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Games Aid Announces this year’s Successful Charities


GamesAid is pleased to announce the five charities that received the most votes from you, our members, and will go on to receive a donation of £36,000 each.

The five charities are: Action for KidsJigsaw4uSmall StepsSpecial EffectThe Willow Foundation.

Action for Kids works closely with families of disabled children and young people to help them deal with the barriers to independence by:
– Funding vital specialist equipment not available on the NHS, including high-tech powered wheelchairs, trikes and communication aids.
– Offering a helpline giving advice and a listening ear
– Delivering a wide range of education and training programmes, offering accredited courses in life / work skills
– Providing paid and volunteer work placements and sourcing employment opportunities
– Providing sporting, social and creative activities for youngsters to get together, gain access to and learn new skills, and to have fun!

Jigsaw4u was formed in 1997 to meet the needs of bereaved children, young people and their families. Bereaved children have told us that they feel ‘alone and different.’ At Jigsaw4u we undertake family group work and individual support sessions to help children and young people to communicate their feelings and share these in a safe environment. This reduces their feeling of isolation and difference.  We help to improve communications in families to ensure that parents and children talk about the person who has died. Over time, service users, staff and other professionals have identified the need for further support. In response to this we have created a Pre Bereavement service; so children and young people can have access to us before the death of a close family member which helps with their grieving process when the person dies.

Small Steps works to two aims: Creating structured opportunities/ activities for severely disabled children to develop skills across all areas, though with a focus on their physical development and secondly, to provide support to their parents in the ongoing emotional journey’s of having a disabled child. The approach is holistic, with the child always at the centre and the focus on the positive; what children can and will achieve as opposed to what they cannot or are not able to do. Children are actively involved in their own learning, at whatever level, as opposed to being ‘done to.


Special Effect is the only specialist UK-based charity dedicated to helping ALL people with disabilities enjoy video games – from injured soldiers to young disabled people who can’t play any other way, whether they are in a hospital, hospice, rehabilitation centre or at home. Their team not only provides games access assessments and loans but they’re also changing the way the whole WORLD plays through collaboration with developers and acclaimed online information service – the ‘GameBase’. Their rapidly expanding reputation has meant an ever-growing demand for their services including loaning cutting edge control technology such as gaze-controlled computers, worth several £1000.

The Willow Foundation is the only charity in the UK to provide positive and life-enhancing special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds. Special Days aim to provide beneficiaries and their loved ones with a break from the realities of their diagnosis and treatment. At a time of uncertainty, spending quality time with family and friends can help restore a sense of normality, boost confidence and create precious memories. To date, Willow has provided more than 8,500 Special Days. The Willow Foundation was founded in 1999 by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter, Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs as a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged  31.

Funds have been raised throughout the year in many ways by those working in the videogames industry, including large company-wide events, individual baking sessions and independently organised sporting activities. The significant sums involved this year are a clear illustration of the growing support for the fund-raising collective within the industry.

Membership to GamesAid is open to anyone working within videogames in the UK, at any level and in any area, so if you work in industry you can get involved. Just join up at  There have been numerous organised annual activities in favour of GamesAid including the Gem Golf and Spa Day, the Gamescom to Brighton bike ride, sponsored by NCSoft, the SEGA cricket matchRising Star Games Vets Football and the Eurogamer Expo Party which you can join. Or if none of those are quite your thing then why not set up your own initiative and the trustees of the charity will help you publicise and raise funds for your event?