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Catch the grotto bus and see Father Christmas for free

Hi Sunshine News Readers,

Ashleigh here, the Trust Fundraiser here at The Sunshine Fund. Santa and his elves are out and about this week spreading some festive cheer by offering the opportunity for local children to meet Father Christmas (for FREE) on our Grotto bus.

If you would like to get those last-minute present requests in, we will be outside TK Maxx on Northumberland Street until Sunday, December 17! If you happen to bump into us and our amazing volunteers, please do say hi! We love to meet our supporters and talk all things Sunshine - even in the snow!

Today is also our annual Christmas Jumper Day, we have lots of local schools and organisations taking part, events like this are so important as they help raise crucial funds. Good luck to everyone taking part today, we can’t wait to see all your festive knitwear. We know you will smash your fundraising targets.  

As a Trust Fundraiser, it’s my job to connect with grant giving organisations and apply for funding which helps us continue our vital services for families caring for a child with disabilities, additional needs, chronic illness and/or terminal diagnosis. Whilst Sunshine HQ are whizzing around on Santa’s Stagecoach bus, I’m busy beavering away back at the workshop, making sure we stay on the nice list.

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to jump on this week’s column to thank once again some of our incredible supporters. In a year where we received a substantial 43% rise in applications for equipment from local families, our donors have blown us all away with their generosity. As a small charity who receive no statutory funding, your donations really do help keep the lights on and equipment flying out.  

From everyone at The Sunshine Fund, we would like to say a huge thank you to some local funders who have donated much needed grant funding, alongside national grant makers over the past 12 months. Move over John McClane, these are the real-life heroes; The Barbour Foundation, The Wellbank Foundation, Sir John Priestman Charity Trust, The Frazer Trust, LGA Foundation, William Leech Charity, Ruth and Lionel Jacobson Charitable Trust, Roy and Pixie Baker Trust, Carr Ellison Family Trust and Mel Weir Charitable Trust. Their kindness does so much for our local community and creates positive, lasting change in our region.  

As well as donations from our local community, grant funding enables us to purchase life-enhancing equipment, facilitate inclusive events and activities as well as run a free telephone helpline where families can receive practical advice and signposting support which is tailored to their individual circumstances. This service is run by our lovely Family Coordinator Bev, and is available 9am-5pm Monday – Friday on 07593 298 541.

Like all children, our Sunshine kids just want 10 more minutes on YouTube, one more biscuit and a later bedtime. Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand that can make that happen, but what we can do is make sure the equipment they are waiting so patiently for, arrives.

If you have any change to spare and would like to help us make this dream come true, please consider donating to our Christmas Appeal. This week’s piece focuses on seven-year-old Olivia, who we funded a TiiPii for so she has a safe space where she can self-regulate, build confidence, focus, concentrate and engage in daily activities, especially during the winter months.

The piece celebrates her differences; her unique ways of communication, but also highlights the very real struggles families with children with additional needs face day-to-day. You can read more about our Christmas appeal here.

We currently have over £30,000 worth of equipment on our waiting list and need to raise vital funds to meet the growing number of equipment applications we are receiving. This equipment will make a fundamental difference to local children living with disabilities, so it would mean the world to us to be able to grant the children their Christmas wish, but we really can’t do it without you.  

Christmas should be a time for joyful celebrations and creating precious memories with loved ones, but for many people, it can be an extremely worrying time of year filled with stress, sadness, and uncertainty. However, you decide to spend this festive season, please remember it doesn’t have to be perfect to be magical and it’s ok if you don’t feel like celebrating.  

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas,  




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