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A relaxing visit to Dryden School

Hello Sunshine Readers,

I hope the rain isn’t dampening your Jubilee celebrations or taking any of the shine off the kids’ half term break! Fingers crossed it will brighten up for the bank holiday weekend.

It’s been a busy few weeks here at The Chronicle Sunshine Fund.

We held another large equipment round in May so it was lovely for Siobhan and I to take some time away from our hectic schedules last week to enjoy a relaxing visit to Dryden School in Gateshead to discuss some exciting plans ... You’ll have to be patient and wait a little longer for that news!

What a very special morning we had! For those of you who don’t know Dryden School, it is a specialist school for children and young people aged 11-19 years old with severe and profound learning disabilities.

Inside there is such a lovely atmosphere there that is so warm and welcoming, and it is decorated throughout with the children’s amazing artwork.

Siobhan could have happily taken a nap in their sensory room ...

We were given a wonderful tour of the school, they have some great facilities with a pool and a fully accessible food tech kitchen.

Unfortunately, we missed out on the Sixth Form's weekly café as they had made some amazing cakes for their Jubilee celebrations day the day before we visited, so the star bakers had earned themselves a well-deserved rest.

We’ve heard about all the delicious goodies they create in the café each week.

Being someone who would never miss an opportunity to indulge in a treat, I’ll be making sure all future visits will happen on a Thursday!

The children and staff greeted us as we popped our heads through their classroom doors to say hello. We were invited to join the end of a good morning session in one class, another class was having the best time in rebound therapy, I had to hold myself back from jumping on the trampoline with them!

A Maths lesson was taking place in another class, they were learning about directions. I listened closely for any hints and tips, I still struggle with left and right without taking a sneaky peak at my hands.

One thing that came across in each group we visited, the children were all happy, comfortable and having fun learning with the wonderful and dedicated staff ensuring each child was getting the most out of their session, learning and experiencing things in their own individual way.

It was such a great morning and to top it off, as a twist of fate while we chatted to the team, the equipment we had funded in our October round arrived ready to be fitted into the outdoor play area! How cool was that?

Eager to help as always, I picked up a spade along with the deputy head, Claire, to dig out the ground fixings for the set of 7 Tubular Bells and Babel Drum. Only joking, after a lot of laughing and a quick photo, we promptly handed the shovel back to the professionals and let the installation team get on with the real work.

Claire Lapworth, the deputy head at Dryden School was as excited as we were at the prospect of the equipment being ready for the children when they return from their half term break: “The new outdoor musical play equipment will provide opportunities for our pupils with visual and multi-sensory impairments to socially interact though joint play experiences, it will encourage play and give an audible landmark outdoors which will help children with visual impairment orientate themselves.”

We can’t wait to see and hear the fun the children, and dare I say Claire and the staff, get up to. They’ve shared some photos already!

The school is participating in our Seeds of Hope initiative. Seeds of Hope is our brand new youth project that is supporting children across the North East to learn and understand about equality, diversity and inclusivity, something we’re obviously very passionate about here at The Chronicle Sunshine Fund.

The classes at Dryden School have all planted their seeds and have now transferred them into pots they decorated themselves.

Now the Dryden Team are looking to raise funds for us and the staff have put together a group of runners for our Sunshine Run this month, with a little encouragement from Claire, they’re all raring to go!

The team will join over 200 runners on the Quayside on June 15 to compete in the 5k fun run race. Online registrations have now closed but you can still join us by registering on the night.

Get in touch with our Erin for more details

So from Team Sunshine to Team Dryden, can we say a big thank you for a wonderful day on site and all your support, we can’t wait to be working with you again soon, just remember though shhh, it’s still a secret!

We had another HUGE equipment round in May, the need for equipment our Sunshine children require continues to rise and more local families than ever are turning to us for help.

This round includes successful applications for specialist chairs, IT communication equipment, power packs for a wheelchair and a kit full of pom poms and ribbons for a dance company who provide dance classes for children with disabilities.

As always, can we say thank you to Chronicle readers for your ongoing support, we couldn’t do this without you.

I hope you enjoy your bank holidays, whatever you have planned. If you’re hosting a Jubilee tea party event over the weekend or planning one in the future all fundraising is always welcome and greatly appreciated. Have fun!

Bev x



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