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Grant funding provides bike for children with disabilities and extends toddler group for another year

Published April 01, 2022 9.28am

A wheelchair accessible bike for youngsters at a specialist primary school and funding for a parent and toddler group have been provided thanks to grants from an area action partnership.

Jubilee Fields

Those who attend a parent and toddler group at Jubilee Fields Community Association.

After previously buying an adapted cycle for children with disabilities, Evergreen Primary School in Bishop Auckland wanted to build on this provision by purchasing a bike to help youngsters who are unable to transfer from their chairs.

Our Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership (AAP) gave £4,300 from the neighbourhood budget of Cllr Sam Zair, towards buying the bike.

The adapted bike carries a wheelchair on the front, enabling those pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties to experience what it is like to ride on a bike and take part in cycling activities. Twenty children at the school will now benefit from its use and enjoy the experience.

Making a big difference 

The specialist school is for children aged two to 11 years of age who have severe, profound, or multiple learning difficulties, while some also have an Autistic Spectrum Condition. Some pupils also have additional medical, physical, sensory, linguistic or behavioural difficulties, while many are immobile and require daily physio and input from occupational therapy.

Judith Benson, head of school at Evergreen Primary School, said: "We're delighted to be given funding towards the bike as it will make a big difference to the lives of our pupils. The bike allows for inclusivity and now all of the children attending the school can take part in a cycling activity."

Developing relationships

Jubilee Fields Community Association in Shildon meanwhile has been given £1,599 by the AAP, from the neighbourhood budget of Cllr Shirley Quinn, which will allow it to continue providing a parent and toddler playgroup.

Sessions will run during term time on Wednesdays from 1pm to 2.30pm for toddlers along with their parent or carer for a 12-month period. The events are an opportunity for families to come together with the aim of reducing social isolation and developing relationships, while also complementing and enhancing children's learning and development.

Sessions will be delivered by a small group of volunteers with the support of centre staff. Funding will be allocated towards the centre's room hire costs for a year.

There will be a fee of £1.50 to attend the sessions which will go towards the remainder of the room hire costs.

Sally Ann Taylor, administrator of the community centre, said: "Jubilee Fields Playgroup is a much-needed service within our town at which pre-school children can come together to play in a safe and happy environment whilst parents are able to build new friendships.

"With huge thanks to the AAP and Cllr Shirley Quinn for their support we are absolutely delighted that we are able to continue our playgroup for a further year."

Changing lives for the better

Andrew Walker, Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP co-ordinator, said: "It is fantastic to see funding from AAP neighbourhood budgets helping to provide equipment and sessions which are so important to children and toddlers in County Durham.

"This is what AAP funding is all about, allocating money that goes towards changing the lives of our residents for the better."

Find out more information about Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP