Mystery donor's £5,000 is lifeline for disabled teenagers' activity group

The Shine Together activity group

The Shine Together activity group

First published in News

A Bradford activity group which helps teenagers with disabilities has been handed a funding lifeline after an anonymous £5,000 donation helped to secure its immediate future.

Shine Together, which met every Saturday at the Landmark Centre in Little Horton, gave the families of young people with conditions such as autism and aspergers syndrome a place to meet and relax, but was forced to close its doors at the end of March when money for the project ran out.

After seeing the group’s appeal for support in the Telegraph & Argus, the mystery benefactor came forward, and organisers say the funds will allow the group to reform for at least the next nine months.

James Clayton, co-ordinator at the Landmark Centre, said: “The generosity this person has shown is incredible.

“It is a phenomenal gesture, which really has saved the short-term future of the group. We were forced to say it was the end, for now, when we had to close a couple of weeks ago, but now this has happened.”

The youth group’s previous funding, from the Short Breaks for Disabled Children Grant Fund, ran out at the end of February, and although the sessions limped on using charity reserves, the end came when no more money could be secured.

“I know the young people were gutted, as for many of them it was the highlight of their week,” said Mr Clayton. “They wrote some really touching notes on one of the boards at the centre to say how sad they were the sessions were ending, but we had basically run out of options.”

It costs about £9,000 a year to run Shine Together, established five years ago and led by group worker Aasim Qureshi, to cover the varied range of activities provided for a core of around ten teenagers, aged between 13 and 19, who attend the sessions each week.

Activities on offer before the temporary closure included baking, arts and crafts, a treasure hunt, movie nights, and a trip to a disability fun day at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre on March 16.

Mr Clayton said the group, which hopes to hear back from other funding bids in the next few months, is now looking to re-start just after Easter.

“Parents say their kids get so excited about coming to the group and, for them, it can be the only break they get from care work,” he said.

“It would have been a great loss to all the families if this much-valued service had closed, but now we can look forward with new excitement.”

Anyone wishing to contact the group should e-mail info@allsaints-landmark.co.uk, or call (01274) 733798.

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