• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

North East Connected

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Disabled young people take on flippin’ fantastic Valentine’s Day challenge

Youngsters with learning difficulties and disabilities had a flippin’ good time as they took on a pancake-themed challenge as part of Valentine’s Day.

Around 20 youngsters cooked and decorated their own heart-shaped pancakes and shared them with people they love as part of the challenge set by Smile For Life Children’s Charity.

They were attending the charity’s ‘Tuesday Club’, a weekly social gathering where they are encouraged to keep fit and interact with people of a similar age.

The ‘Love Pancake’ challenge was thought up by charity chief executive Paula Gascoigne, who runs the Tuesday Club with the charity’s sports and treks manager Iain Jamieson.

Paula said: “Our Tuesday Club is so important to these young people, and even more so in the school holidays.

“So many young people with disabilities or learning difficulties are isolated – this is somewhere safe and secure for them to come and make friends and keep active.

“Many of the people who come here have found it difficult at other clubs, but here everyone accepts each other no matter their background, and we are growing each week which is wonderful.

“With it having been Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day we decided to celebrate them both together and it has been great to see the young people get so involved and produce so many delicious pancakes for themselves and their loved ones.”

The charity runs a number of initiatives to help achieve their aim of improving the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people across the North East.  

As well as regular social gatherings, they aim to give real-life employment skills to students with learning difficulties at their Café Beam on Ashburton Road, Gosforth, through barista and food preparation training.

They also, amongst other things, provide a range of equipment and experiences for young people and their families.

Among those cooking up a storm at the Tuesday Club, which takes place from 5pm-7pm at Coxlodge Community Association, were Macey Cowell and Matthew Morton, who both have learning difficulties.

Macey, 15, said: “I’m making my pancake for Paula and Iain they do such a great job running the club for us. They are really fun and make us laugh.

“I have had such a good time. I loved making my pancake! There were a few disasters – the fire alarm went off a few times – but it all came together in the end.

“The Tuesday club is really great and I have made lots of new friends here. I would recommend any children with disabilities to come here!”

Matthew, also 15, said: “I have been to a few other after school clubs and there were some horrible people there.

“But now I go to the Tuesday Club and we do loads of activities and have so much fun making new friends.

“The charity is great and they do so much to help young people like me!”

Kay Robson, 23, was judged to have come up with the best recipe for her pancake, using Haribo!. She said: “I’m so happy to have won!”

If you know someone who would benefit from attending the Tuesday Club, which is for anyone over the age of 11, or from other services run by the charity, please get in touch with Smile For Life by calling 0191 284 4166.

You can find out more about the charity at www.smileforlife.org.uk or by searching @SmileForLifeNE on social media.

By admin