Staff at North East property and energy firm the Banks Group have adopted a charity which works with local children and young people with disabilities as their new fundraising cause.
Having raised £11,000 during 2014 for DEBRA, the national organisation working on behalf of people with the genetic skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), employees at the Durham-based firm have now chosen Integrating Children as their charity of the year for 2015.
Integrating Children offers a service to children and young people aged between six and 25 years old with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties.
The organisation works with up to 100 children and young people a year and offers over ten thousand activity hours each year during both term time and school holidays.
As with last year’s chosen charity, Integrating Children was put forward by a member of staff at the Banks Group with personal experience of the work that it does, with procurement coordinator Lucy Hinds’ younger brother Rob benefiting from the works the charity does each week.
Lucy Hinds says: “Rob has been attending Integrating Children’s activities for a number of years, and I have seen the positive impact that the charity’s support has had on him.
“Rob is a typical 15 year old boy in so many ways and doesn’t want to spend all his time with family, but he doesn’t get the opportunities to go out with friends as others do.
“The charity enables him to do many of the activities that we take for granted with other young people whilst being supported by an amazing team of professional staff – I really don’t know what we would have done without their care and support over the years.”
Based in Chester-le-Street, Integrating Children aims to involve children with disabilities in mainstream activities which can help them build key life skills and friendships, improve confidence, and enable them to interact better with others.
The charity has no full-time employees and shares responsibilities for managing and delivering its services amongst sessional staff and volunteers, including its trustees. Their work is designed to reduce stigma, promote emotional wellbeing and have an overall positive impact on young people’s health and self-image.
Activities are organised between Integrating Children’s staff, the young people in question and their families, and include individual and team sports, music, rowing, going to the cinema or theatre, shopping trips, or going as a group to a restaurant.
Employees from across the Banks Group’s different businesses and locations will be undertaking a range of fundraising activities throughout the year, including workplace lunches, raffles and other competitions.
Catherine Fabi, who is part of the Banks Group’s charity fundraising committee, adds: “The impact and importance of Integrating Children’s work for local children is clear to see from the results they get, and supporting a charity that’s based so close to our headquarters provides even more of an incentive for us to raise as much as we can through the year.”
Richard Taylor, Chair of Integrating Children, says: “Often people do not realise just how isolating life can be for a child with learning difficulties. In partnership with many local organisations, Integrating Children helps local disabled children to enjoy a real social life in their community. To be supported by the Banks Group is so wonderful. It will allow our services to continue to offer support seven days a week, fifty weeks a year.”