Lottery cash is real boost for community group supporting families in borough

Children at Happy Days special needs community group celebrate receiving a grant from National Lottery
Children at Happy Days special needs community group celebrate receiving a grant from National Lottery

Members of a community group are celebrating a £9,000 windfall, just months after it was set up to support the families of children with additional needs.

Mums Beverley Parr, Helena Molyneaux, Sarah Gregory and Hannah Denton-Ellis came together in June to launch Happy Days Special Needs Community Group so they would have somewhere to go with their own youngsters.

Already the group is supporting more than 20 families and has now received £9,421 from the National Lottery’s Awards For All funding scheme.

The grant will make a big difference for the Leigh-based organisation and ensure it can continue to keep helping families during the year ahead.

Beverley, whose six-year-old daughter Bethany has Down’s syndrome, said: “We are really pleased. We are over the moon. We can do so much now.”

Happy Days provides somewhere for parents to speak to others in a similar situation and gather advice, as well as for children to play and make new friends.

The cash will allow the group to secure its venue for the next 12 months, pay for training courses for parents and buy electronic devices and outdoor games equipment for the children.

It will fund special guests at the monthly meetings, such as someone to run arts and crafts activities, and day trips, including an outing to see Blackpool’s illuminations.

Beverley said: “It’s never-ending what we can do this year for the children, the parents and carers. It will make a huge difference. People have said to me how difficult it is to get these grants from the National Lottery on the first time of trying. It’s obvious that this type of group was needed in Leigh. There is nothing like it in Leigh that does all the disabilities. It’s not just for Down’s syndrome, it’s not just for autism. Even children who haven’t been diagnosed yet can come.”

While the grant will help Happy Days for the next 12 months, there is no guarantee the funding will continue next year so organisers will keep raising money to secure its future.

Events will include a party to celebrate its first anniversary in June, a sponsored walk, fun day, tea party and regular raffles. The group meets at All Saints’ Church Hall, on Kenwood Avenue, Leigh on the last Sunday of each month, with the next session scheduled for Sunday, February 23.

To find out more, search for Happy Days Special Needs Community Group on Facebook.