The Buzz Blog - Events
Report from Alan Bates of Bee For Battens regarding this years Summer School part sponsored by "Bee For Battens"
The ‘Foyle Parents and Friends Association’ has been supporting individuals with physical and learning disabilities as well as their parents and carers since 1963! For the past 4 years however they have been instrumental in delivering a 5 week long summer scheme to children with physical and learning disabilities of all levels based at Foyleview Special School in Derry.
Working in conjunction with the ‘North West Volunteer Centre’ a core team of highly experienced and qualified staff work in conjunction with a large number of volunteers of all ages and abilities to provide an exciting and engaging range of activities suitable for all levels of physical and learning disability.
The summer scheme promotes equality and provides an excellent opportunity for volunteers to work with both able bodied and disabled children. In some cases children that have previously taken part in the summer scheme have now returned and are helping out as volunteers.
By taking this positive and open approach a strong sense of community is built, irrespective of political or religious affiliation, level of disability or lack thereof all participants are treated equally, this way the summer scheme helps to engender a positive attitude towards disability in future generations as well as breaking down the barriers of politics and religion that are prevalent in Northern Ireland.
Funding for the summer scheme comes from a range of sources from corporate sponsorship to the local health trust to donations from parents; this year, however, the scheme was in jeopardy as insufficient funding had been secured to guarantee the scheme. Thankfully Bee for Battens, itself a registered charity dedicated to the support of children with Batten’s disease and their families, stepped forward with a donation sufficient to ensure that the scheme went ahead.
One of the regulars at the summer scheme over the past few years has been Rhiannon Bates, who suffers from Batten’s disease herself. As both her parents have volunteered and helped out at the scheme Rhiannon and her cousins have been able to enjoy an activity packed summer that has helped to keep them occupied and make the long summer break pass that much more easily as Rhiannon loves school and misses it very much during the long holiday. For children with disabilities the long summer break can often be a source of distress as their regular routine is disrupted and the summer scheme helps to ‘plug’ this gap and make the summer that little more bearable for everyone.
So with many thanks to Foyle Parents and Friends Association, North West Volunteer Centre and Bee for Battens this year 192 children had their summers made that little bit brighter!
: Bee For Battens are delighted to have been involved in this Summer School, which means so much for one of our special Children, Rhiannon Bates & her parents Shauna & Alan, both of whom are executive members of Bee For Battens. We would like to thank The Foyle Parents & Friends Association who hosted a 5 week long Bee For Battens / Batten Disease Awareness Campaign.