Fun in the sun

14th September 2016

TAGS activities, disabled children, SEN, Sheffield Parent Carer Forum

  • Our annual fun day attracted a record crowd this summer, with over 300 people enjoying a free day out in glorious sunshine.

    Disabled children and their brothers and sisters took part in a wide range of inclusive activities, while their parents had a chance to relax and catch up with friends. The event saw the return of many old favourites from previous years: dance workshops, adapted cycles, the miniature train, and the ever-popular bungee trampolines.

    New attractions included a climbing tower, provided free of charge by Activity Sheffield, and a petting zoo with exotic animals. Children jumped at the chance to cuddle a skunk, walk a meerkat, pet a python, and even hold a tarantula! Mia, aged, 10, took a shine to the racoon, which promptly fell asleep on her lap. She was a bit suspicious about the skunk, however: “They said it’s had its stink gland removed, but I think it still smells,” she reported.

    Joel, aged 13, never got much further than the miniature train and the inflatable assault course. “He just loves it,” said his mum. “Sitting at the top of the slide just makes him so happy, and here, nobody minds.”

    Many parents commented how low-key and friendly the event was – just right for children who don’t cope well with crowds and noise. “Hillsborough Sports Arena is a great venue,” said the Forum’s Development Worker Eva Juusola. “Having such a large but enclosed space helps children feel safe and relaxed. You don’t really notice how many people there are until lunchtime, when everyone descends on the buffet!”

    She added: “We’ve been lucky to get a lot of support from local organisations – Gripple and Caremark allowed some of their employees to volunteer on the day, schools lent us their chairs, sports providers ran free activities, a fire crew dropped by … Sheffielders really are a helpful bunch!”

    But those contributions only go part of the way. “Without the funding from Sheffield City Council, this event simply couldn’t happen,” she advised. “What a brilliant investment this is, though: not only does it give disadvantaged children some wonderful memories, it also helps isolated families feel part of a community.”

    To see photos taken at the event, head over to our Facebook page (you don’t need to be a Facebook member to see them).

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