A NURSERY for children with special needs is collecting unwanted mobile phones to exchange for an interactive whiteboard.
The Camelia Botnar Centre requires 500 phones in order to receive the £3,500 learning resource for free from charity Hearts and Minds.
Michelle Brown and her partner Kyle Chapman, of Station Road, Worthing, wanted to help raise funds for the Wellesley Road, Goring nursery, which their son Oliver, 3, has been attending for a year.
Ms Brown said: “I was looking online to see how we could get help with resources as I knew the nursery needed some more iPads. I found a charity which provided packs in return for mobile phones.
“I thought that everyone has an old phone lying around so it seemed the perfect thing to ask people to donate to us.
“We have collected 50 phones so far so there is a long way to go but we are determined to get there. Oliver has special needs which include speech delay and social problems but the centre has made such a big difference to our lives.”
Mr Chapman said the charity, which was set up in 1979 in memory of Camelia Botnar who died in an accident at the age of 20, had provided much needed respite for the family. When he first came all Oliver could say was mum and dad and now we cannot stop him talking,” he said.
“They have done an amazing job and his confidence has increased so much too.”
Nursery manager Helen Davies said: “An interactive white board is very expensive and we have been looking at them for a few years but just do not have the funds to buy one.
“For the children with special needs it would be invaluable as it is amazing that you can just touch it so it is an important resource in every way and the schools all use them so the nursery children can get a head start.
“We are always thrilled for parents to be getting involved and it makes such a big difference. We rely entirely on donations to run the centre so to get equipment we have to rely on fund raising.
“Everyone has got old phones, so they can just drop them in to us.”
The project has also been boosted by a donation of two iPads from presenter Jonathan Ross.
Ms Brown said: “I Tweeted Jonathan Ross as I was trying to get the message out there about what we were doing as much as I could.
“He emailed me saying he would love to help and after we spoke he donated the iPads. It is amazing.
“He had not heard of the charity before but looked us up and wanted to get involved.”
Ms Davies added: “To have a celebrity giving us equipment was amazing, we never would have thought that would happen to a local charity like ours.”
Phones do not need to be working but must have a battery. They can be dropped in to the centre, or collected.
For more information call the centre on 01903 504077.