Happy days for support group

Young people who attend the Hartlepool Special Needs Group on Park Road have received funding for a trip out from the charity, Happy Days. Discussing their plans for the trip are, from left, helper, Sarah Knappett, service users Wendy Slee and Sarah Smith, helper Helen Jolly and service user Andrew Allison.

Young people who attend the Hartlepool Special Needs Group on Park Road have received funding for a trip out from the charity, Happy Days. Discussing their plans for the trip are, from left, helper, Sarah Knappett, service users Wendy Slee and Sarah Smith, helper Helen Jolly and service user Andrew Allison.

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YOUNGSTERS with special needs are set for a treat after a charity organised a trip to the theatre.

Happy Days Children’s Charity has arranged for 30 younsters who attend Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group, aged between three and 17, to watch Cinderella at the Darlington Civic Theatre later this month.

The children, who suffer with conditions such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism and severe learning difficulties, have been given the opportunity courtesy of the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, which has funded this trip.

Working in partnership, Thomas Cook Children’s Charity and Happy Days Children’s Charity have provided trips across the UK for over 110,000 children with special needs, with Thomas Cook Children’s Charity giving over £40,000.

Ryan Sinclair, chief executive of Happy Days Children’s Charity, said: “These children have a range of complex medical needs and learning difficulties and would not normally get the opportunity to have an experience of this nature due to financial constraints.

“Being part of a charity that brings so much joy to some of the most needy children in our society is very fulfilling, and when we receive feedback from our beneficiaries it makes it all worthwhile.”

The support of these two charities have benefited two families from Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group.

Julie Carter, 40, brought her son, Sam Russell, seven, to the group when he was just three-months-old.

Sam, who was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and autism, is one of the children who will be benefiting from the day out on December 29.

Julie said: “Its not just about Sam at this group, it’s about your family, it’s about doing things as a family.

“It’s just one big happy family, without this group I couldn’t cope because you meet families who are in similar situations as you, as well, that can empathise.”

Another mother who has been bringing her 26-year-old son to Hartlepool Special Needs Group since the age of two is Kath Landreth, 60.

Her son Michael was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and will also be going to the theatre.

Kath said: “This group has helped me in such a way that you go out and you are accepted in the community.

“You don’t say ‘I can’t do that’, we say ‘how we are going to do it’.”

People can contact Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group, which is based in Park Road, Hartlepool, on (01429) 863766 or email info@hsnsg.org.uk