A club helping children aged 5-13 years with special needs
Runnymede Special Needs Youth Club, also known as Brightlights, received a grant from the Leus Family Foundation to support their work with young people with special needs in the Runnymede area in 2021.
Dmitry Leus, the founder of the Leus Family Foundation, said: “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 Brighlights’ excellent programme.”
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, some of them requiring one-to-one care. The club was set up in 1996 and children with varying learning and physical disabilities can come to the club every Thursday evening for two hours during term time.
Some of the clubs’ usual activities have not been possible during the pandemic, but Brightlights has strived to support families during this time.
Thanks to the Leus Family Foundation’s generous grant, the charity was able to keep the club running through the summer holidays, which they hadn’t had the opportunity to do before, and it also funded two trips to Heron Lake which allowed the children taking 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: “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.”
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