Hi Sunshine News readers,
We’re full of gratitude this week; as Summer well and truly draws to a close, we ended the season on a high last week as we were invited to a charity fundraising BBQ organised by Milestone Transport Planning in Gateshead. Our Family Co-ordinator, Bev, went along and the day was a roaring success; after a lot of rain in the week, we were extremely lucky with the weather and it remained fairly dry throughout, and the sun even came out for us.
Bev said: “What a wonderful time I had at Milestones BBQ, and the weather held off! Events like this are essential for our charity, as a small charity within the current financial climate without this support we could not provide the equipment we do for local children living with disabilities. The BBQ was a brilliant way not only as a fundraising event but a chance to network share the ethos and purpose of our charity, the specific challenges our children and families face and how the equipment we fund, the activities and support we offer has an real impact.”
The amount of effort put into the day was astounding, with a full Sunshine setup including yellow balloons and props, games with prizes and a raffle, as well as plenty of delicious food and drink! So far, the event has raised over £800 with donations still coming in!
This is going to have such a huge impact on the lives of babies, children and young adults living with disabilities, additional needs and terminal illness in our region, as the demand for specialist equipment grows. Our current waiting list sits at around £30,000 and consists of a range of items big and small.
From sensory tools, trikes and indoor and outdoor play equipment to living aids such as adapted seating and mobile hoists. From IT & communication equipment like iPads, laptops and eye gaze technology to mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and specialist buggies.
The range of equipment we fund is extensive, and while size and price varies, the impact each item has on the daily enrichment of disabled children remains unmatched, and this is why fundraisers like this are so important to us as a small, regional charity that receives zero statutory funding. The BBQ was organised by Joanne Hall, who chose to fundraise for The Sunshine Fund as she has received support from us in the past.
This is what Joanne said about how we’ve supported her family, and why she chose our charity: “I came across The Sunshine Fund through our occupational therapist, it was recommended that we try indoor sensory equipment to help with my daughter’s needs.
"Olivia was diagnosed with autism in 2019 at the age of two, she has severe learning difficulties, sensory processing issues and is non-verbal. The charity funded our chosen equipment, which was a fabulous TiiPii day bed. Olivia loves it! It’s a great way to keep her occupied, especially in the winter months when she isn’t in the garden as much.”
We funded Olivia’s TiiPii bed at the end of last year; the bed isn’t one to sleep in and it’s a great example of the equipment we fund that is not always a specific item developed for disabilities. The bed provides a safe space for Olivia to seek vestibular movements when she can’t access her outdoor items, it can help when she feels overwhelmed and she can also use it to help self -regulate, stop and relax for a moment.
Joanne went on to say, “When I was asked to arrange our next work charity event, The Sunshine Fund were at the top of my list! I know from personal experience how amazing they are, and that the money raised would impact so many local children with disabilities, additional needs, chronic and terminal illness.
"Hosting our Charity BBQ has been a fantastic way to get to know other neighbouring businesses here at Gateshead International Business Centre. It was also a great way to socialise with our clients who came along and supported us and took part in silly ice breaker games!
"Thanks to everyone who joined for making it a huge success!! I’d also like to say a special thanks to Bev from The Sunshine Fund, who’s now an honorary member of the Milestone team(!).
"It’s been a pleasure fundraising for such a worthy cause, I really hope this inspires others to fundraise too!”
We also spoke to Darran Kitchener, Director at Milestone Transport Planning, who said, “When Jo suggested that Milestone Transport Planning support The Sunshine Fund as our nominated charity for our BBQ this year, it was clear that they were a perfect fit for us.
"The work they do to support children in the local area is exceptional and, despite being run by a small group of people, their impact is felt by so many and so makes such a difference, the synergy was obvious, and it was a no-brainer that we should do everything we could to raise funds for them. I’m really proud of the team here for all the work that went into the event, resulting in us raising such an amazing amount.
"I also need to give special thanks to our clients, the GIBC team and our co-located businesses who came along on the day, contributed, and added to the awesome atmosphere – same time next year?!”
Now that Summer is officially over, we are looking forward to all our Autumn and Winter events, with our much-loved Question of Sport black-tie quiz and dinner coming up in November, as well as all things Christmas! We have lots planned and can’t wait to share it all with you. You can keep up-to-date by visiting www.thesunshinefund.org/get-involved.
Thanks for reading!