What a week this has been for us all. The 12th April saw a small step towards normality for many of us as non essential retail, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality reopened after the third lockdown period. For many this was a much anticipated sign of brighter days to come and a small sense of normality in what has been a turbulent and worrying 12 months. For others who have shielded due to illness or caring for a loved one with complex needs, its an anxious and uncertain time. As a charity our focus is and always will be our families and their welfare, so we are pleased to have been a source of support for hundreds of local families over the last 12 months. We've been here for our families since 1918 and we plan to be here for many, many more years to come!
Our phones and social media inboxes have been going crazy this week as we have been contacted by parents and carers of Mini and Junior Great North Runners keen to know if the event is going ahead this year! The Mini and Junior Great North Run is a huge event for us as its one of the only events in the region where able bodied and disabled children can take part together, giving siblings the chance to experience all the excitement of the event together and enabling families to make lasting, previous memories. The introduction of the wheelchair race in recent years was a welcome addition for many of the families we support and we are proud to have campaigned for this change for so long. Making the event more inclusive has opened it up and created new experiences for children who would have otherwise sat on the sidelines. It really is a special moment seeing so many of the children we support wheeling, walking and running over the finish line being cheered on by their loved ones. It always gives us a tear in our eye!
In light of the messages, we reached out to Great Run for an update and the good news is, the event organisers are optimistic that this years events will go ahead on Saturday 11th September 2021 as planned.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 guidance and restrictions, there will be some changes to how the event day will operate to ensure the safety of all participants and families. However, the essence of what makes this event one of the best children's running events in the UK, will still be at the very heart of the day. Entries for this year's Junior and Mini Great North Run will open exclusively to 2020 entrants prior to places going on general sale meaning if you had a place to run for Team Sunshine last year, you will be contacted first before the general public. Although there is no official date for entries to open yet, Great Run are confident that they will be open by the end of May. When entries open, Great Run will send you an email with a unique entry code for you to redeem, the registration fees for this years events have been frozen to 2020 prices.
Our fundraiser Ashleigh is standing by to welcome you all to Team Mini Sunshine and this year we have some special treats in store for our runners! Ashleigh said "We are over the moon that the Junior and Mini Great North Run is going ahead this year! This is such an incredible event where many of the children we support come together to take part, celebrate and help us raise vital funds. We can't wait to see their happy, smiley faces make their way over the finish line to a chorus of cheers. We know the children representing Team Sunshine were devastated last year when the event got cancelled, so we are determined to make this years bigger and brighter than ever before!"
We are thrilled to announce we have confirmed our usual place on the Quayside Seaside area, hosted by NE1 and Northumbrian Water. This area is exclusive to our runners and means we have plenty of room for families, wheelchairs and buggies, seated areas and even a quiet tent for our children who need a little down time. This years campaign will be sponsored by the fantastic True Potential who will also sponsor our adult GNR campaign once again. They really do love a good running event and we couldn't be happier to be working with them on one of our favourite campaigns in the calendar!
Stay safe and well