Full coverage will be in BBC South East News on BBC One throughout the day on Thursday 11th January 2024, and also on KMTV throughout the day along with their online portals, KentOnline and Kentish Express.
On the 9th January 2024, we invited Little Acorns Pre-School (Ashford) to become our official base for our launch of 'The Oliver Steeper Foundation' and our LifeVac campaign to place a anti-choking device into every registered childcare setting across Kent and beyond.
We have given out with the help of our own fundraising, local businesses and our own savings 40 LifeVac devices to Ofsted registered childminders, nurseries and pre-schools across Kent and into Essex. A live map can be found here.
With everything set in place, we arrived at the fabulous little setting that is Little Acorns Pre-school who were so welcoming from the instant we made contact. We had both secretly wanted this setting to be our launch base for the charity as they are neighbours to where Oliver succumbed to his injuries following choking on food at the Jellybeans Nursery in September 2021 situated next door.
We don't know if Oliver's death impacted their business but we wanted to give the setting a little publicity just in case. All the staff members were wonderful and made our launch event very special.
We both had to hold some emotion back today as Oliver's legacy is now real and it's very heartwarming and the response today from the Ashford early years educators attending our launch and training session makes it all worth while, and gives us a deep drive to continue this as much as funding allows.
A few photos from the launch and training session...
Myself and Zoe with a quick selfie before people started to arrive. We invited our MP Damian Green who sadly was unable to attend, local councillors and a invitation to all nurseries across Ashford who wished to participate in the official face to face LifeVac training.
A quick photo whilst waiting for people to arrived, the event was attended by 29 nursery managers/staff which far exceeded our expectations for this event so thank you to all who attended.
Matthew Banagan from LifeVac Europe LTD gives the theoretical and practical training course to the staff members present. Staff learn the various positions LifeVac can be used in and how to use the device.
The participants were introduced to 'choking Charlie' who they would all successfully complete training on and removing the blockage from Charlie's airway.
Lewis helps Matthew Banagan of LifeVac demonstrate how you can successfully use the device on a patient that is sat up, for example in a wheelchair.
A Little Acorns Pre-school staff member steps up to complete her practical session.
A staff member being taught by Matthew Banagan on the correct usage of the device.
Cllr Ray McGeever (Kingsnorth Village & Bridgefield) successfully removes an obstruction from the training aid's airway.
Parliamentary candidate (Ashford Green Party) Mandy Rossi also participated in training and was successful in removing the blockage from the airway.
Cllr Katrina Giles (Park Farm South Councillor) also was also successful in removing an obstruction.
A true gentleman, Ian Palmer from BBC South East News very proudly also received a training certificate.
Little Acorns trustees giving a interview to BBC South East's Ian Palmer.
Matthew Banagan giving Oliver Leader de Saxe a interview on all things LifeVac.
BBC South East News Ian Palmer capturing some footage of the LifeVac devices prior to training.
Charlotte Jones (Left - Little Acorns Pre-school trustee) and Claire Rodriguez (Centre - Key Person/Early Years Practitioner) accepts their LifeVac Anti-choking Device from Lewis and Zoe Steeper from The Oliver Steeper Foundation. Pictured with Matthew Banagan from LifeVac Europe LTD (Right).
The goal, a LifeVac device mounted on the wall within Little Acorns Pre-School in Ashford, Kent. Mounted in a location which is accessible to all staff complete with BLS/LifeVac poster and various other material on choking guidance.
We cannot begin to thanks Little Acorns Pre-School for their time, use of their building and the overwhelming positivity shown by their staff towards our foundation.
Thankyou to everyone who attended our launch event, it was a major success in our eyes.
Our new foundation booklet being handed out to settings...
Purchasing a LifeVac for home...
LifeVacs can be purchased for home or as gifts. We have teamed up with LifeVac to offer a 10% discount code to be used at the checkout stage on www.lifevac.uk/shop - LifeVac will then donate 15% back to our charity enable us to fund more free devices for early year settings.
Please use discount code: OF10
Our mission solely relies on donations from the public. If you are able to contribute towards our fundraising, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lifevac-for-childcare-settings
Early years settings: Apply for a free funded LifeVac device...
If you are a Ofsted registered nursery or childminder in Kent, good news! We are now accepting applications for FREE funded LifeVac devices for your setting/home. Head over to our application page and submit a simple application form and we will be in touch as soon as a device is available in your area.