Nadine Coyle has joined forces with BBC Children In Need and Asda to launch a campaign that will raise money to help disadvantaged children and young people through play.
The former Girls Aloud star said she is thrilled to support the 2018 Power Of Play campaign, and is the initiative’s new Play Ambassador.
The singer recently visited the Limes Community Centre in Walthamstow, north-east London, to find out how funding from the charity is helping disabled children with opportunities to play.
The centre, which encourages its young attendees to try new things, develop skills and explore their senses through different play-related activities, is partially funded by Children In Need, receiving a grant of just over £75,000 from the charity across three years.
The funding enables them to pay for a Child and Family Support Co-ordinator, who plans and delivers play activities.
At the centre, Coyle met Aleenah, who has no sight in her right eye due to Peter’s Syndrome, a rare condition which means the eye does not fully develop in the womb.
The Limes has been invaluable to the eight-year-old, as having access to its sensory room has helped her be more relaxed with light, and her sensitivity levels have improved.
Coyle, 33, said the centre has a “beautiful atmosphere” and is a “very happy place” for all those to use it and benefit from it.
She added that there should be more such facilities available across the country to help those in need.
Dr Amanda Gummer, a research psychologist specialising in child development, said: “Play is vital for healthy child development – it’s how children make sense of their world and develop all sorts of important skills.
“Children’s natural curiosity and imagination help them learn about the way the world works, and playing with friends teaches them the social skills they need throughout their lives. Active play promotes physical development and well-being and a balanced approach to play promotes healthy, holistic child development.”
Coyle has worked with Children In Need several times throughout her career, and said the Power Of Play campaign was the “perfect” project for her.
As part of the campaign, Asda also hopes to inspire parents to play games with their children in an attempt to get them away from their computer screens, something that Coyle has struggled to do with her own daughter.
Coyle noticed a change in four-year-old Anaiya, her daughter with partner Jason Bell, when she was playing on her iPad.
The singer said: “She loved watching videos of other people opening presents and playing with toys.
“It put her in a bad mood, so we stopped it completely.”
Asda customers will be able to pick up a play planner, take part in in-store fundraising activities or purchase Pudsey clothing and ears, with all donations going to Children In Need.