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Caring for those facing anxieties

Hi Sunshine News readers

I hope you have all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, despite the weather. While its wonderful to see some signs of normality return like our libraries reopening, beer gardens full (Even in the rain!) and hairdressers back in business, its an anxious time for many as restrictions ease. Even families who have experienced prolonged periods of shielding and haven't been able to get out and about as they normally would, are now sharing that they are experiencing real anxiety about life returning to normal and the risks that their little ones still face.

We are here to ensure that every disabled child in our region has the opportunity to lead an active, fulfilling childhood, and to develop the skills, independence and confidence for their transition to adulthood.The equipment we provide is the difference between a child sitting on the side lines, or actually taking part. Or between missing out or making memories. But we know that local families need support which goes far beyond equipment provision and that the pandemic has highlighted this.

In a recent study conducted by our friends at The Family Fund, over 70% of parents and carers caring for a child with disabilities or additional needs feel they have struggled due to reduced services throughout the pandemic and 3 in 5 families are still without the level of support they received pre Covid 19, and a staggering 96% of families surveyed reported their disabled children’s overall health and wellbeing was negatively affected by the pandemic.

We've been fortunate enough to secure grant funding from National Lottery Awards for All to allow us to continue our popular Outreach programme to offer support to families in times of great need. We are so grateful to have received a whopping £9,984 which will allow us to continue to provide online activities, group and one to one support sessions for parents and carers suffering from social isolation due to prolonged periods of shielding throughout the pandemic.

Our families are at the heart of all we do and we have developed our outreach programme based on consultation sessions and feedback from families who we have supported in the past. Key findings suggested that our families seek social engagement with others to reduce social isolation. Our beneficiaries have access to a private online platform, where they can share knowledge, best practice and look to other families in similar circumstances for emotional support, advice or friendship. Families find this to be a cathartic and positive experience which raises awareness of the issues they face such as; increased risk of poverty, prejudice and more recently, social isolation. Many of our families experience barriers to accessing support as well as financial difficulties which has increased the demand for our services making our outreach programme a vital tool for past, present and potential parents and carers of children with disabilities or additional needs. This important funding will also help us to develop a post equipment support service so we can continue to help local families for longer periods of time even after they have accessed life changing equipment for the child in their care. In a period where our ability to fundraise was impacted heavily by the pandemic, vital grants like this one from the National Lottery are a lifeline to the families we support. You can learn more about our outreach programme via the apply section of our website.

Next week, our friends at True Potential will be our guest writers of the Sunshine News and will be chatting all things Great North Run!

Stay safe

Siobhan x



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