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A successful night of fundraising with the Newcastle Falcons and how you can support Team Sunshine

Hi Sunshine News Readers,


This time last week we spent the evening collecting donations at the Newcastle Falcons v Benetton match. Despite the loss and the sub-zero temperatures, we had a great night engaging a completely new audience, and getting those all-important coins in buckets.


We were joined by a team of over a dozen volunteers who spread across the stadium shaking our yellow buckets and despite the cold, they got into the spirit and the comradery was unmatched!

We’re delighted to say that we raised a total of £363.48 on the night, and we’re hoping a few more Geordies now know about the work we do in the region! This could fund an iPad which could help a non-verbal child develop their communication, or help a child with a visual impairment socialise with friends online or progress digital learning.


It could fund a trampoline or a couple of mini scooters, to give children with complex needs the same opportunities to play with their friends and siblings, or allowing kids to release energy and have fun in the comfort of their home, when the public park is just too overwhelming. It could fund a buggy pod, for siblings who both have additional needs, allowing parents to attach the pod to a buggy or wheelchair to make days out possible and appointments easier to manage, and we’d have enough spare to provide another child with autism a bundle of sensory toys and tools.

Newcastle Falcons players have enthusiastically engaged with the Sunshine Fund in recent weeks, helping with our Christmas grotto during the festive season. The European rugby clash has allowed our partnership to grow, and attending the match last week allowed supporters of the Falcons the chance to get behind our small local charity.


Our charity director, Siobhan, said: “The Chronicle Sunshine Fund has rich history, a royal connection, and is one of the longest running charities in our region as this year we are celebrating its 95th anniversary. Due to the life-changing equipment and essential services we provide there’s often a misconception that we are amply funded by the NHS or by local government, but sadly that is not the case.


"We rely on the generosity of Chronicle readers to continue the hard work that we do. Demand in equipment is growing rapidly, and our charity needs to raise £320,000 per year to provide hundreds of disabled and terminally ill children in our region with the equipment they desperately need.


"This is why fundraising events like this and support from organisations is so important to our charity. Without them, we simply could not continue our work. Every penny that is donated to The Sunshine Fund goes directly towards improving and enriching the daily lives of local babies, children and young adults living with complex needs, and we thank everybody who supports us in any way. Here’s to another 95 years!”

We provide adapted equipment to children aged 0-19 living with disabilities, additional needs, chronic and terminal illness in the North East region. These types of equipment are not available through statutory services like the Local Authority or NHS, but they enrich quality of life for not only the children, but their wider families and communities.


We believe that a piece of equipment has the power to open the door to endless opportunities, and can allow a child to reach their full potential. However, our support extends beyond funding equipment; we provide help, advice and guidance through our families hotline and organise free family events throughout the year which allow children to participate in activities in a comfortable, inclusive environment where cost and accessibility aren’t barriers.


These events also allow parents to meet other likeminded people – forming friendships and building a community. We’d like to remind readers of the many ways you can support our small charity, and in turn, help the growing number of children in our region who rely on our services, and who are patiently but desperately awaiting pieces of equipment.


You can donate online here, you’ll find our bank details and address if you’d like to send a bank transfer or cheque. These details are also available at the end of the column.


You can also text SUNSHINE 5 to 70085 to make a one-off donation of £5. Texting EQUIPMENT 5 to 70085 will set up monthly donations of £5. Simply change the number to anything from 2 – 20 to amend the amount donated.


You can also support us and win something back by entering our weekly £1 lottery, where players have the chance of winning the national prize of £25,000, as well as monthly bonus prizes and a local prize pot. This month, you have the chance of winning a £1,000 luxury getaway, with the option to just take the cash! Sign up now at https://bit.ly/3WYQkbm.


We would like to thank any Chronicle reader who has supported us; we recently received a £200 donation from a regular reader, who over the last two years has donated a phenomenal total of £2,100. We are so grateful for support like this, and it is vital in ensuring that we can continue our hard work.


If you’d like to support us by taking on a personal challenge, the Great North Run ballot is now open until February 12 – if you want to take part in the region’s iconic race on Sunday, September 8, or if you’ve entered already, please consider running for Team Sunshine! We will have a limited number of guaranteed charity spaces which have already proven popular, so please let us know if you’d like to be added to our reserved list. Our GNR 2024 campaign will be sponsored by the wonderful True Potential, who are returning for the sixth year running and we have some very exciting plans in the works!

And the GNR isn’t just for adults… after our hiatus last year, we will be returning to the Quayside on Saturday, September 7 for the Junior and Mini GNR where we will be bringing back our VIP Sunshine area! If you’re a parent, get your kids involved in either the Mini, Junior, Wheelchair or Mini50 wave and get them to join Team Mini Sunshine!


All participants will receive their own t-shirt and a certificate recognising their achievements. The Junior and Mini event not only allows our young supporters to race for us and spread our name, but it also gives many of our Sunshine Children the chance to take part in a mainstream sporting event where their disability does not prevent them from having fun!

For all things Great North Run, please contact Amanda.Keddie@thesunshinefund.org or drop us a DM on socials – you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn.


To keep up-to-date with all upcoming events, please visit www.thesunshinefund.org/get-involved.


Thanks for reading,

Sophie X

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