Staff Festival 2019 charity vote winner

SNAPS (Special Needs and Parent Support) has been selected as this year’s official Staff Festival charity

Four-year-old Ralph (pictured to the left of the dancer) enjoying last year’s Staff Festival with his mum, Dr Lucie Middlemiss

Four-year-old Ralph pictured (to the left of the dancer) enjoying last year’s Staff Festival with his mum, Dr Lucie Middlemiss. April 2019

Hundreds of colleagues took the chance to cast their vote, with SNAPS attracting the most support from a list of eight good causes nominated to benefit from fundraising at the annual staff celebration, which this year takes place on Friday 28 June.

An announcement about the winning charity was made at Tuesday’s Staff Benefits Fair.

SNAPS provides leisure support services for children with special needs of all kinds, and their families. Its aim is to support the entire family, by enabling the child – along with siblings, parents and other carers – to participate in a shared experience of physical activity, fun and conversation in relaxed surroundings, supported by professional and dedicated staff.

Operating out of two sites – Penny Field School in Meanwood and Broomfield School in Broom Place – the charity offers physiotherapist-led hydrotherapy and rebound sessions (exercise therapy using trampolines), along with swimming, arts and crafts, soft toy play and a range of other fun activities, such as dance, sign and sing, boccia, storytelling and music therapy.

SNAPS was nominated by Dr Lucie Middlemiss, Associate Professor at the Sustainability Research Institute (School of Earth and Environment).

Her four-year-old son, Ralph, has used the charity’s services on a number of occasions.

Dr Middlemiss said: “We first joined SNAPS about a year ago when we heard about this fantastic little charity that helps to support families of disabled children through a weekly Saturday playgroup, offering physiotherapy at affordable prices.

“My son has a disability that affects his walking, and he got so much out of his hydrotherapy sessions at SNAPS. The charity also provided the chance for our whole family to meet other disabled children and their carers. We so often go to places where my son is different, but at SNAPS everyone is a bit different, making it an accepting and enabling community.

“The forum it provides – for children to meet other kids who face disability challenges and for parents to meet other parents that understand the challenges – is both rare and essential. Most importantly, SNAPS offers a high level of acceptance. There’s no judgement of children or parents, with a super friendly and accepting atmosphere at all events, and a community of children with disabilities and their parents where people can care and look out for each other.”

SNAPS Community Fundraising Manager, Jenny Sellers, said: “This is fantastic news.

“Thank you to Lucie for nominating us and thank you to the staff at the University for choosing SNAPS as the festival charity. We're really grateful for your support.”

Last year’s festival raised a record sum of £2,888.26, which was donated to Pets As Therapy.

Plans are in full swing for this year’s exciting instalment of the hugely popular Staff Festival. All colleagues, family and friends are invited to join us on campus on Friday 28 June for an enjoyable afternoon of activities, full details of which will be announced nearer the date.

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