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Our families visit the Centre For Life Science Village

Hi Sunshine News readers,

We’re finally seeing some sunshine and blue skies - we hope you’re loving it as much as we are!

We’ve got a lot of exciting things to talk about this week, starting with our visit to the Centre For Life last Friday. We were kindly given spaces to take some of our Sunshine Families to the science village to enjoy a free day out where cost and accessibility weren’t a barrier.

We had so much fun and based on the feedback we’ve had already, it was an enjoyable day out for our Sunshine Children as well! The day started as we met outside the centre and the children were greeted by our very own Easter Bunny, handing out chocolate eggs and posing for photos! This was thanks to Karen Haq at the Home Group who provided the treats and brought along her furry friend.

SAY CHEESE: A group photo taken outside the Centre for Life

The families had the freedom to explore at their own pace, independently or with other families, and it allowed them to create special memories together that I’m sure will last a long time! We have a private Sunshine Families Facebook group where families can keep in contact and hear about news and events.

EASTER TREAT: The children met the Easter Bunny on their recent trip to the Centre of Life

We also had the pleasure of meeting with David Jones, the Community Liaison Manager at Centre For Life, whose enthusiasm shone through whilst talking about the continued improvements they’re making to the centre:

“We recently won the North East Tourism Award for Accessibility and Inclusion, and though of course it’s lovely to win the award and receive recognition for our work, we see it as a milestone rather than a destination. Since the judges visited the centre, we have still continued to work hard to make the centre more accessible, which is the most important thing to us, and we will continue to do so.”

In fact, one of our Sunshine Children, Freya, who has charge syndrome and severe sight loss, highlighted how the use of red tape to close off a display wasn’t helpful for her needs. Since our visit a week ago, this feedback has already been flagged and plans are being put in place to improve it.

David also showed us the ‘sensory bags’ that can be obtained from reception. These include various sensory toys, as pictured below. He says, “the sensory bags were developed by inviting in young people from the North East Autism Society who brought along their own sensory tools.

"They tipped out the toys on to the table, talked through each of their favourites and why they’re useful, until it was narrowed down to 8-10 items. We’re not afraid to say that we’re not the experts, which is why we work so closely with communities to gain a more insightful understanding of how we can continue to improve our services”.

HELPFUL: These sensory bags are available to pick up from reception

In other news, following on from the Stagecoach charity collections over the Easter break, we’re pleased to say that they raised £2,441.32 for the Sunshine Fund! This could fund two trikes for our Sunshine Children. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Stagecoach and anybody who donated to our charity buckets!

Whilst we’re thanking people, we have two other shout outs to supporters who are taking on their own challenges to fundraise for us. Firstly, to Michelle Emberton from Sage, who is running the London Marathon for us this Sunday and has already exceeded her target!

And secondly, to Lauren Scobie, who is taking on the Cheviots Challenge for us at the end of this month! Both Michelle and Lauren have been huge supporters of the Sunshine Fund and we’re always so grateful for the work they do for us and our Sunshine Children!

Lastly, our Charity Director, Siobhan, and Events Co-ordinator, Erin, were invited to Durham Cricket Club for an event hosted by the Dunelm Foundation and Swinburne Maddison LLP, who presented us with a donation of £2,000 for The Sunshine Fund! A lovely time was had by both, and we’re all very grateful for their generosity!

DONATION RECEIVED: Siobhan at the Dunelm Awards

Thank you for reading!

Sophie X



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