For IMMEDIATE Release VCEDA CONTACT: Jonathan Belcher     276-889-0381 or jonathan@vceda.us

LEBANON, VA – MAY 17, 2021 — Children with developmental delays,  congenital disorders, neurological disorders, cognitive disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, prematurity, sensory processing disorders and many other diagnoses seen in children, will soon have a place in Russell County for focused outpatient occupational therapy in an indoor setting geared especially for them.

The Play Hut, PLLC, operated by Kelsey Bush, of Lebanon, a registered and licensed occupational therapist, strives to bring pediatric health and wellness opportunities to underserved communities in Southwest Virginia. The Play Hut, PLLC, was a recent recipient of a $9,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

“The services projected to be offered by The Play Hut, PLLC, made their seed capital grant application quite unique,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “In addition to providing therapeutic services to children in need, the new business also projects making its space available in the community as a place to hold special events and a play space for children and their families. The Play Hut, PLLC projects two full-time and three part-time jobs.”

Open play to the public and playgroups will be offered for children in a supervised setting and in addition to providing occupational therapy services, screenings, and developmental play, The Play Hut, PLLC will also offer space for holding special events and parties. Indoor play options include equipment for pretend play, gross motor play (large muscle groups such as arms and legs) and fine motor play (small muscle movements with use of hands and fingers), small kitchenette with a party room for tables/chairs will be set up for patrons renting out the space to host children’s birthday parties or other special events with family and friends.

Located at 635 West Main Street in Lebanon, Va., the Play Hut will offer group play to help children reach age-appropriate developmental milestones while also providing social interaction with others. Groups offered include the fine motor group which focuses on strengthening finger movements and coordination required for daily self-care skills and handwriting readiness; the gross motor group which focuses on big movements with arms and legs to include crawling, sitting, running, jumping, skipping and balance; sensory groups focused on using the child’s five senses that can help a child who is either overstimulated or sensory seeking to regulate their body; a music and instruments group to provide developmental skills and school readiness skills through music and movement; and a caregiver/parent and me group focusing on creative and developmental play for younger children leading to increased social, physical and cognitive development.

Also being explored is offering drop-off themed summer play camps operated by occupational therapists.

“I started the Play Hut hoping to provide a playful environment for children of all abilities to have fun, meet developmental milestones and most of all, play,” Bush said. “My hope is that the Play Hut will be a place for kids and caregivers alike to have fun together.”

Bush graduated from Radford University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. She has had experience working with pediatric patients at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Niswonger Children’s Hospital. She is certified for early intervention services for children ages birth to three years and will soon be able to serve insurance patients for pediatric outpatient occupational therapy. Physician referrals are accepted for therapy needs, but Bush added, parents who are interested in having their child screened to assess whether he or she has met, or is on target to meet, developmental milestones are also welcome to set up a time for their child to be screened.

She said the VCEDA grant is being used for play equipment and for renovations to the Play Hut space. Renovations are now nearing completion and a projected opening date of July has been set.

“The VCEDA seed capital grant has really helped,” Bush said. “It has been used for renovations and play equipment and there is no other way I would have been able to purchase therapy/play equipment and building materials all at once without this grant.”

Bush worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College. The Russell County Industrial Development Authority provided a letter of support for the project.

The Play Hut is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theplayhutva.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. ###

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