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Our Featured Charity: Seashell Trust
At Potter Rees Dolan, we’re keen to support local charities and the amazing work they do all over the country. As such, we’re starting a featured charities campaign, where we’ll focus on the inspirational stories of charities, how they were founded and the work they do.
Seashell Trust provides education and around the clock residential care for 126 children with profound learning disabilities and sensory impairments such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and autism. Many of the children at Seashell Trust have brain damage and have little to no ability to communicate.
We spoke with Wendy Bray, Fundraising Manager at the charity to understand more about the work they do and her role in the organisation.
Providing support for children and their families
Based in Cheadle Hulme, just outside of Manchester, Seashell Trust provides care for young people from the age of two, all the way up to 25 years old.
Their work helps young people develop the ability to communicate and make independent choices about basic everyday needs which sometimes, can be for the first time. Despite being based in Manchester, Seashell Trust works with families across the whole of the UK.
In addition to the charity’s work with young people, the team works with families to build the confidence they need to bring up a severely disabled child.
Sometimes, that may mean parents need a short break from caring for their child, and as such, Seashell Trust offers a respite service for those at breaking point.
Seashell Trust employs 540 staff as well as 100 regular volunteers and 1,000 corporate volunteers, allowing them to deliver additional activities, including their award-winning Children’s Able and Disabled Sports (CADS) programme - which provides inclusive sporting opportunities for over 500 youngsters.
Expertise in multi-sensory impairment
Seashell Trust was founded on the 11th June 1823, by two Manchester-based businessman one of whom had a deaf son, and as such, didn’t have a right to an education. Over the course of many years, their organisation has started to specialise in in a range of other physical and learning disabilities; including those with complex medical conditions. As such, Seashell Trust is well-known and respected for its expertise in multi-sensory impairment.
A selection of recent achievements include:
- Producing an international research paper around use of fragrance to initiate communication with severely disabled children
- Co-delivering a national training Programme entitled ‘Future of the Sector’ to 70 local authority Heads of Specialist Support Services, as commissioned by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership
- Chairingthe National Parent Partnership Forum, which reaches out to 65,000 families of disabled children
Transforming children's lives
Evie, a child born with the genetic condition CHARGE syndrome, suffers from severe hearing loss, is blind in one eye, has impaired vision in the other, and has difficulties with verbal communication and learning difficulties.
When she went to Seashell Trust, Evie was wheelchair-bound and had a limited capacity to communicate only doing so by reaching towards items of interest. She was unable to express her wants, desires and needs.
The team at Seashell Trust worked with Evie for 18 months. She received intensive support and has undergone a dramatic transformation.
She can now walk without the use of a frame, ride a bicycle, use stairs and perhaps most importantly; for the first time in her life, Evie is communicating with her family through pictures and technology.
Evie’s disabilities will always be a challenge, but with the help of Seashell Trust, she enjoys a level of independence that wasn’t possible before receiving this help.
Dancing for donations
Being a charity, Seashell Trust relies on grants and generous donations from members of the public. In one of their most innovative fundraising events to date, charity held their inaugural ‘Strictly Seashell Ball.’
The soon to be annual event encouraged eight business leaders from the North West to compete for the coveted glitterball trophy - and our very own Ruth Wright did a sponsored show dance!
Specialising in the Argentine Tango, Ruth mesmerised guests, sponsors and partygoers, and helped to raise a whopping £70,408 for Seashell Trust. The event was attended by more than 300 people and the money raised will help Seashell Trust educate and care for more children and young adults with severe and profound learning disabilities.
Supporting Seashell Trust
If you’re interested in finding out more about the work Seashell Trust do and to find out about volunteering opportunities, visit their website here. You can donate to them if you wish by following this link here.
Finally, if you’ve read this blog post and fancy being featured as Potter Rees Dolan’s charity of the month, drop us a message using our online enquiry form.