04 Nov Getting notes will help choir hit their notes
A disabled children’s choir, which is having to cancel performances because of transport problems, is to benefit from the Sunshine Fund’s Christmas appeal.
The Chronicle charity wants to buy a minibus for the “signed singers” from Northern Counties School in Newcastle and is asking readers for their help with fund-raising.
The appeal is out to raise £30,622 for a bus to transport the deaf youngsters whose lives have been transformed by music.
The 21 six to 16-year-old pupils have a range of learning and physical disabilities.
But what they share in common is a growing love for the choir which uses sign language to perform popular songs around the local community, raising money for the school and for various charities at the same time.
But they are facing increasing problems because rising membership of the choir over the years means that the current mini bus – which is shared by the whole school – is not big enough to ferry them all around. Nor is it wheelchair-friendly.
Many events have had to be cancelled which is a blow to the children, many of whom have cerebral palsy and autism and find the choir helps develop their social skills,
One parent said her son never liked to go out at all but is now a changed boy who two months on from joining the choir is happy to go into town, even restaurants, and to mix with other children at parties.
Sunshine Fund director Caroll Pattison said the choir is “like one big happy family” and called its members “inspirational” children.
“I absolutely love the signed singers,” she said. “Whenever I see them perform they are so happy and enthusiastic it always puts a smile on my face.”
The aim of the newly-launched Christmas appeal is to buy a fully-adapted minibus which can also be used after school and during the holidays for outings so that the children, including wheelchair users, can have new experiences in the region.
Caroll added: “I know they are struggling with transport and have to turn down some engagements so I really hope The Chronicle readers are feeling generous and give what they can afford to support the appeal.
“It would be great if we could buy these fabulous kids their mini-bus for Christmas. It will make such a huge difference for lots of children for many years to come.”
Ways of helping can include making a donation; organising a fund-raiser event with friends, family or colleagues or taking part in the charity’s annual Christmas jumper day.
This year it takes place on December 9 and involves sharing in the fun by wearing a suitably festive jumper on the day and paying the charity £2 at the same time.
Jo Allen, headteacher of Northern Counties School, said: “We are delighted that has been chosen by the Sunshine Fund as the focus of their Christmas Appeal.
“A new minibus would allow our deaf children to access the community for residential trips and as part of their everyday curriculum.”