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Hannah Sampson - 13 December 2016
The tradition of giving and receiving gifts during the festive period means there is no better time to celebrate the act of giving.
As a family that values generosity and aims to encourage and celebrate giving, each year the Foundation’s Trustees research a particular theme and choose a group of small, community-based charities to receive an unsolicited donation, with the aim of providing a seasonal boost. The annual theme is decided by the Trustees and is separate from the Foundation’s strategic funding areas. Themes in past years have included homelessness and social isolation or a geographical focus on a particular region or city.
This year the Trustees have chosen the theme of inclusive leisure activities for children with disabilities and donations of £115,000 in total have been made to fourteen charities. Although Christmas is meant to be a happy period, for many people it can be one of the most difficult times of the year with problems feeling magnified. Family-friendly activities do not always cater for disabled adults and children and, at a time when others are enjoying fun activities, they and their families can often feel even more excluded.
This year’s theme builds upon the Foundation's emphasis on 'creating spaces.’ Our gifts aim to celebrate the work of small charities and support spaces where differently abled people can come together through shared interests to enjoy themselves and enhance their wellbeing.
This year’s charities chosen were from all over the country and provide a range of activities from art and drama, to music and dance, to sports and gardening. Examples include
Daytrippers: A small charity that provides inclusive days out for disabled and terminally ill young people across the UK. Young people are given the opportunity to enjoy themselves, whilst building relationships with others through fun inclusive activities. Daytrippers also host free events for families and schools to enjoy together, such as inclusive sports days and sensory play with sound and light.
The KAOS Organisation: KAOS runs inclusive workshops and groups which aim to raise Deaf Awareness, with young people being taught to both sing and sign. The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children encourages young people of all abilities to perform together, and have performed at the Royal Festival Hall and the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
Gig Buddies: A volunteer befriending scheme for adults with learning disabilities who are matched with volunteers who share their taste in music.