Caroll’s Column Friday 23rd Sept

23 Sep Caroll’s Column Friday 23rd Sept

Hi, With only one week left in September, it’s been lovely hanging on to summer weather.

However, I have noticed the nights are cutting in (as my mother says) and it’s getting dark now before 8pm.

Thank goodness we have Strictly and The X-Factor to keep us entertained – they signal the start of the Christmas countdown!

I am building up my walking again and managed to get from Tynemouth to Cullercoats on Saturday with one of the Grand Canyon trekkers.

The weather was fabulous for September with lots of people in the sea.

The trekkers are all getting very excited about their forthcoming challenge which, after a year of planning and fund-raising, is nearly here. I look forward to seeing all the pictures from it and hearing how much everyone raises for the children we support.

If you would like a challenge, remember we are taking bookings for next July’s trek in Iceland which I am hoping to be fit enough to do.

If you would like to join us on what promises to be an amazing experience then please get in touch.

Next Friday is our Northern Lights Ball so the charity team are working flat-out with last-minute details, from obtaining raffle prizes to confirming entertainment and even sourcing a purple carpet for a welcome mat.

The attention to detail is amazing and we have planned a fabulous event which we hope will raise £25,000.

Let’s hope the guests have a great night and are feeling generous. The funds raised from the ball will be used to buy some of the specialist equipment we have just approved in a meeting on Tuesday.

It’s always very interesting and informative when our equipment committee meets to discuss the requests we receive for help.

We looked through applications adding up to more than £60,000 worth of equipment, from iPads to walkers to inflatable portable beds.

Paramount in making our decisions is the condition of the children and the expected benefits to them of the equipment.

Applications come supported by two health professionals linked to each child and these are then reviewed by our committee which includes its own health professionals.

This month we had a big discussion about what is and isn’t funded by different health authorities as this changes according to their finances.

We also talked about what is available on the NHS.

Since I joined the charity more than six years ago, I have seen a huge increase in the number of profiling beds – those with adjustable technology – which we now fund in the wake of local authority cuts.

These specialist beds help the parents and carers to safely turn and assist a child with, for instance, cerebral palsy without having to do any lifting, so ensuring everyone is kept safe.

And, in situations where a child or even a teenager needs to be constantly turned during the night, the beds can make a huge difference.

We have just funded our first portable safety bed for one child. It has blow-up sides and means the child can sleep safely at another family member’s house, giving her mother a well-earned rest.

It’s lovely when we are able to buy this equipment as we see how it helps people’s lives, so my thank-you this week goes to everyone who has donated to us or is planning to fund-raise to help us buy more equipment.

The requests we receive grow every year which means we are helping more children and families, which is great.

So, please continue to spread the message that we want to buy specialist equipment for as many disabled children in the North East as possible.

At the same time, please keep us in mind for any support you can give because buying this equipment isn’t cheap. Specialist beds can cost anything from £1,000 to £7,000 which means a lot of fund-raising.

Have a fabulous week

Caroll

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