SRPA Partners With Local Charity Umbrellas
A charity which is raising money to provide a meeting place for children, young people and adults with additional needs in Lincolnshire is getting support from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy.
The school has agreed to support Umbrellas by organizing fundraising events through the year.
In return the charity has agreed to provide important disability workshops at the school.
Umbrellas was established in 2014 by a group of parents, led by Charlotte Owen, who all have children with additional needs – including autism, Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, and global developmental delay.
Their aim is to create a recreational facility in Lincoln that has the appropriate equipment and set-up to allow all children and adults with additional needs to play and socialise. This has been successfully achieved in other parts of the country but, unfortunately, such resources do not exist in the Lincoln area.
The name Umbrellas reflects the founders’ inclusive attitude, and their desire to create a safe, sheltered space for those with additional needs to play and relax on their own terms.
Already, the school has raised nearly £1,000 and has plans for fund raising events throughout the academic year.
The partnership between the school and the charity began after Charlotte’s daughter Lily, a pupil at Sir Robert Pattinson, was awarded a “special recognition tie” for the work she was doing for the charity.
Soon after, Head Teacher, Dale Hardy contacted Umbrellas to find out more and was so impressed he decided the academy should help.
Charity founder Charlotte said: “My son Harry has very complex needs, all related to his autism, and we have found it very difficult to find places to go as a family. We want to provide a safe, supportive environment for the whole network of people surrounding the person with additional needs, where families don’t have to go off in separate directions to access the help and support they need.
“There is a centre in Staffordshire which provides this and visits there completely revolutionised our family time. There is nothing like this in Lincolnshire currently.
“I shared photos of a visit to the centre in Staffordshire with friends on social media and some other parents of children with disabilities got together with me, we formed a committee and went from there. That was in June 2014.”
The charity has already raised £100,000 but Charlotte believes the support of the school will be crucial in reaching its fundraising target – and importantly raising the profile of the issue as a whole.
“To have the support of such a prominent school and to know that they are approaching additional needs and disability in a positive and inclusive manner will hopefully help to raise the profile of additional needs in the local community and increase understanding for people with disabilities and their families.
“As a committee, we hope that our involvement with the school will help young people to recognise some of the daily challenges faced by young people with disabilities and how the local community might be able to support them.”
The charity is currently in discussion with one landowner to secure a large piece of land on a long-term lease for a peppercorn rent but nothing has been finalised yet.
Head Mr Hardy said the work of the charity really struck a chord in the way its aims matched those of the school and he was delighted the school community could help Umbrellas.
“I am passionate about ensuring every single pupil is supported and provided with a safe and positive environment to help them reach their potential,” he said.
“We have already put extra resources into helping pupils with additional needs and the aims of Umbrellas fits perfectly with our own ethos.
“But it is also crucial that the whole school community understands and supports our pupils who need extra help and raising awareness is an important part of that process.
“I am excited about the partnership with Umbrellas and the positive difference we can make together.”