Brightlights has been on the receiving end of a considerable grant from the foundation to help further its work for local youngsters.

Runnymede Special Needs Youth Club, also known as Brightlights, has recently received a grant from the Leus Family Foundation to support their work with young people with special needs in the Runnymede area.

The club is for children aged 5-13 years with special needs in Runnymede and surrounding areas. The children have disabilities ranging from autism, Asperger’s, Downs and moderate to severe learning difficulties, with some of them requiring one-to-one care. 

Established in 1996, children with varying learning and physical disabilities can come to the club every Thursday evening for two hours during term time. 

The youth club is known for providing a vibrant programme that includes the use of the soft play area, crafts and external outings, trips to places like the Isle of Wight, Disneyland Paris, Spain, Lapland UK, Paultons Park, Beale Park, and Legoland. 

The club also holds a Christmas party every year where the children receive a visit and presents from Father Christmas. Easter eggs are also received. 

Some of these activities have not been possible during the pandemic, but Brightlights has strived to support families during this time.

The charity arranged two trips to Heron Lake which allowed the children to take part in water sports and activities which they greatly enjoyed. These trips also gave the members and families the opportunity to meet up and see each other, which was most needed during this difficult time.

Lucy O’Neill, the chair of Brightlights, welcomed the contribution from the Leus Family Foundation, saying: “We are here to provide fun and recreation for young people with special needs, which can also play a helpful respite role for their parents and carers. 

We are a safe environment for children who might have difficulty accessing other facilities within the local borough.

Our base at Egham Orbit Leisure Centre enables the use of the soft play area, arts and crafts activities, books and toys from our toy library. We occasionally hold family and friends evenings when parents and carers can meet and discuss family matters. 

The contribution from the Leus Family Foundation will help us to keep bringing this fun and support to children and their families and we’re very grateful.”

Dmitry Leus, the founder of the Leus Family Foundation, adds: “We are delighted to support Brightlights. Our foundation’s focus this year is very much on helping children and families bounce back from what we know has been a tough and isolating year for many.

Young people with special needs and their families have felt the lockdown restrictions even more than most, so it is a priority for us to bring fun, learning, connection and community support to them via Brightlights’ excellent programme.”

To find out more about Leus Family Foundation and the other projects and initiatives it has supported, visit the website.