Hi Sunshine News Readers
We hope you are all keeping safe and well. It’s been a hive of activity here at Sunshine HQ this week as we rolled out the next phase in our Outreach Program. As a small charity, our main aim is of course to provide specialist equipment to children living with disabilities that can’t be funded by the NHS or Social Services. However Outreach is an additional support service that we offer to families, carers and medical professionals who are applying for, or who have previously received, specialist equipment on behalf of a child or young adult. Being the parent of a child with often complex disabilities can be isolating and lonely, our outreach offers a listening ear to existing or potential families who we support and can be a real life line. As well as guiding families through the application for equipment process, we are there to facilitate introductions and offer signposting advice so that our families are getting all the help they need. Outreach activities allow us to engage with our community and help us to ensure we are reaching as many families who need us as possible so it’s a really important part of what we do and who we are as a charity.
Now our outreach support sessions usually comprise of one to one help from our Families Coordinator Rachel. This can be in a face to face meeting at our office, a phone or video call or even a group session with one of our intermediary partners across the region. The pandemic has meant that we have had to look for different ways to ensure we are supporting our families whilst also abiding by the Covid 19 guidelines on safety and social distancing. We knew we had to change the way we offer help and we've been working hard on a series of short video tutorials offering step by step guidance to assist applicants. We have also set up a dedicated applications phone line so parents can ask questions via text or leave a voicemail message out of hours.
Rachel, who leads on our Outreach Program said “Outreach at the Chronicle Sunshine Fund is changing. We're listening to our families about how we can better support people to apply to the charity and now we're really excited to announce that we've developed a whole package of online and one to one support which can be delivered virtually. I'm delighted to share with you that we will soon be unveiling some shiny new video tutorials, created by Team Sunshine and our amazing friends at ITV Signpost. In the meantime; you can contact me directly on the new Outreach and Applications hotline - 07593298541. You can arrange a one to one telephone or video call appointment or just have a quick query answered via text message”.
So on Tuesday of this week, it was all “Lights! Cameras! Action!” We were kindly gifted a conference room to use for the day for filming from our friends at Reviving The Heart of the West End, who had the perfect facilities and kept us going with lots of cups of tea! You can find out more about how they are supporting business and providing training opportunities and the spaces available at the fantastic John Buddle Work Village, which really is a hidden gem in the West of Newcastle, by visiting their website www.rhwe.org
Applying for a large and expensive item like a powered wheel chair or a specialist bath can be extremely daunting. Some of our parents have additional needs themselves so it’s important we are able to offer additional guidance to them. The fantastic team at ITV Signpost will edit and subtitle each tutorial video for us, ensuring they are accessible to all. We are so grateful to the team at ITV for helping us make these videos, we know the impact these will have.
Being “On Set” with Rachel and Digital Fundraising Manager Lauren was as close to being a Kardashian as I think any of us will ever get. Lauren definitely has the skills to be a director (In that she loves telling people what to do….) and Rachel effortlessly delivered all of her lines like a true professional. I was just there to keep them in brownies and millionaires squares …. Overall we can’t wait to share the finished product with you all soon.
Lauren will be bringing you your weekly dose of Sunshine News next week as Im off on half term break. I hope you all have a suitably spooky Halloween!