The Children with Special Needs Foundation is my choice for the Jellybean 12 days of giving initiative 2020. I have been a supporter and patron for over 15 years of this wonderful local charity that was all set to celebrate its 25th year in 2020 and ramp up fundraising in this momentous year. Sadly, due to Covid, virtually all activity has had to be shelved and as a result essential funds have seriously depleted. CWSNF was inspired by Nick Ivil (who has Downs Syndrome and is still very involved to this day) and started by the inimitable and tireless Gordon and Ann Parris MBE. What sets this charity apart from so many others is that all the money raised goes to the point of need (all the hard working and enthusiastic team involved volunteer their time and expertise), every request for help is personally considered on its merits no matter how large or small the requirement and it is all about providing life-changing equipment and experiences to children with a wide range of special needs.
This relatively unknown organisation relies entirely on volunteers and patrons and its aim is to raise funds to support individuals, groups and schools in their requests for equipment, holidays and tuition as well as providing essential care for children with special needs in the local area. CWSNF works with social workers, doctors, head teachers and other professionals and its work is inspirational and ranges from providing special car seats and wheel chairs to trikes and balance bikes, from outdoor football tables for schools to animal shows and zoo trips, from sensory rooms to outdoor gym frames to name but a few.
Every year it organises 2,000 exclusive matinee tickets to the Christmas Pantomime and in the summer an annual fairground visit where the children have a day to remember all to themselves. Another annual highlight is taking 8 carefully selected children on a week’s trip to Florida to visit Seaworld, Legoland, Disney and have other amazing experiences, not only learning some independence but also creating memories for a lifetime. CWSNF also supports Handicamp where working scouts buddy up with a special needs student to go swimming, canoeing, archery and rock climbing, once again offering a life-changing experience. The list of the specific activities CWSNF supports is endless and always very up close and personal.
In addition to all the amazing practical and emotional support they offer they also recognise the immense strain on the carers of children with special needs and have 2 specially adapted mobile homes in Pagham where 120 families have benefitted from a much needed holiday and availed themselves of the local facilities and beach.
Everything this amazing charity does is only made possible by the generosity of the people it reaches out to: its sponsors and supporters who attend balls, dinners, golf days; its fundraisers who run, cycle, parachute jump, abseil and walk for the cause and of course the generous donations of local businesses.
As I said everybody involved in this charity is completely voluntary, their reward is the happiness they bring to the children which is why CWSNF has the motto of “putting a smile on tomorrow today”.
If you would like to know more or make a donation to this wonderful and worthy cause please visit www.justgiving.com/cwsnf