Children In Need, the Warrington Wolves Foundation and Gladstone Brookes all came together to create a special end of term treat for a group of Warrington children on a day out at Chester Zoo.
The children, who all have additional needs, are members of two special groups that the Foundation run throughout the year and which Gladstone Brookes staff help out.
Wolf Print is a dance and performing arts group designed to give the children chance to express themselves in a way they particularly enjoy. Headed up by Leah Biddle, it works with children who have either disabilities or additional needs. Activities take place in schools and community settings to create an inclusive environment for the children to develop their skills, confidence and social groups.
Said Leah: “It was a fund day out at the end of the school year and start of the summer holidays and we must thank Gladstone Brookes again for all their support in making outings like this possible.”
Total Sport, as its name suggests, is aimed at the more sporty types who attend and works with local special schools and children with special educational needs, delivering sporting activities to the children both in term time and in the school holidays.
Co-ordinator Craig Thomason said: “The Children In Need budget allows us to organise a number of trips a year, but doesn’t cover all the costs. Gladstone Brookes are Foundation patrons and as well as sending staff to help with running the event they also paid for the transport without which the day would not have been possible.
Rebecca Hope and Kayleigh Slater were the two Gladstone Brookes volunteer staff who helped out on the day.
Kayleigh said: “Loved going to the zoo. The kids are brilliant and it’s so rewarding to see them smile and laugh when we’re out having fun, doing activities.
“Emily, who I was looking after, did really well and I was so proud of her for building up the courage to get on the boat in her wheel chair. It was a really rewarding day and all the children thoroughly enjoyed it as always. Can’t wait for the next one,” she said.
Rebecca said: “I’ve been involved in a number of Foundation events, so I jumped at the opportunity to go to Chester Zoo with them. Working alongside the foundations staff, we were split into teams to ensure each child had adequate attention and supervision. The girls I was teamed with were an absolute delight – each with very strong personalities. As individuals they were well behaved, polite and a credit to their parents.
“I particularly enjoyed the bat cave. Normally it would be an area I avoid, as it is a phobia of mine, but the children were so eager to explore they led me through, laughed when I screamed and patted me on the back when we walked through the exit door. It was nice to see roles reversed and made me realise how caring they all are.
“It was lovely to see the group as a whole making memories, learning as they are so inquisitive and I am thankful to them for accepting us with open arms. Whilst there, numerous parents approached me and thanked Gladstone Brookes for the work we do with the foundation in bringing something different for the children to enjoy. I’m glad to be part of doing it,” she added.