Hi Sunshine News readers,
I’m writing this whilst looking out the window at pouring rain and grey skies, and it seems hard to believe that just last week we were all gathered down by the sun-soaked Quayside for the Sunshine Run – we’re feeling very fortunate that we picked the right day for it (although I have a feeling some of the runners may disagree!).
Our photos from the night are officially live on our Facebook page (@sunshinefund), so please do check them out! If you ran with us, be sure to look out for your photo finish in front of Newcastle’s iconic bridges!
Whilst the weather this week is a huge contrast to say the least, no amount of rain and cloud can dampen our moods here at Sunshine HQ, as we’ve been counting up the totals raised from the 20th anniversary Sunshine Run last week and the figure is phenomenal.
Currently, we’re sitting at an estimate of around £15,000 and we can’t thank everyone who contributed to this enough. We’re still seeing fundraising coming through and we’re just so grateful for all the support, both through the positive feedback from the event, and for every single penny raised.
This week celebrates ‘Small Charities Week’ and ‘Learning Disability Week’ – both of which are very close to our hearts. While we are only a small charity made up of a tiny team, the impact our cause has on disabled children in the North East, and the gratitude we have for all of our donors is bigger than anyone can ever imagine.
This year’s ‘Learning Disability Week’ focuses on busting myths around living with a disability and ‘smashing misconceptions about what people can do and shining a light on the stigma many still face every day’.
You may be wondering where this £15,000 will go, so we thought we’d showcase some of the equipment that is currently on our waiting list, and the impact they will have on our Sunshine Children, to really give readers a perspective of how much these items can improve and enrich the daily lives of children with disabilities, additional needs and terminal illness in our region.
The types of equipment we provide can be divided into 4 categories: IT & Communication, Sensory & Play, Living Aids, and Mobility. The cost of equipment varies significantly, but the value that each item has on the life of our Sunshine Children is priceless. Here’s an example of what £15,000 could fund:
1,363 hours of one-to-one family support through our hotline
9 trikes so children can join in and race their friends and siblings
15 play frames for kids who find the local park overwhelming, so they can play outdoors in comfort
30 accessible and exclusive family events for children who can’t attend mainstream events – here, our Sunshine children can play with their friends and make special memories with their families
36 laptops with specialist accessibility features so that children with additional needs can communicate with friends and family, support their schoolwork and develop their learning beyond school, at home
12 buggies which are more lightweight and can provide more comfort, convenience and adaptability than a wheelchair
One item of equipment on our waiting list is from 12-year-old Freya, who will be heading to a mainstream school in September and has applied for a ‘Reveal 16i’. Freya’s an independent girl and explained her need for this device in her application, probably better than we could: “I use a Reveal 16i at school, I have had it for around 2 or 3 months, it replaced my CCTV.
"I have a CCTV at home that I have used for about 6 years. I would like a Reveal16i for home because the screen is much clearer, you can do so much more.
"The CCTV just enlarged my book and worksheets, the Reveal can take pictures of a worksheet or page and you can enlarge on the screen, you can Google on it and use it like an iPad, you can download on it so I can download books straight on to it and if you have text it can read it out, this makes it less tiring for me."
"In September I am changing schools and will be going to a mainstream school, I will have lots of homework. Having the Reveal will mean I can do the homework on the screen instead of needing to write it, it will read information to me when I’m fatigued which means I’m not using my eyes so much. It has Google built in which means I will be able to email directly from it.
"The Reveal is portable, my CCTV is not so it can only stay in my bedroom, I want to take the Reveal to my Granny’s so I can read to her. My CCTV helped me a lot, I think the Reveal will help me more as I get older and help my independence grow.”
The Reveal 16i costs £3,015 – the amount raised from our Sunshine Run could fund 5 of these machines, which could help 4 other kids like Freya. Funds raised at events like the Sunshine Run are also used to organise exclusive events for our Sunshine Families.
These events provide opportunities for children to attend and participate in accessible and inclusive activities and days out where cost and ability aren’t barriers. It allows them to make special memories with friends and families in a comfortable environment, build on their social skills and self-esteem, and be part of the Sunshine community.
We want to end with another massive thank you to all our supporters, not only from the Sunshine Run, but to anyone who has ever donated, be it cash donations or time dedicted as a volunteer, as we celebrate Small Charities Week and Learning Disability Week, and we hope this shows just how far your donations go.