Between the launch of the DWF Foundation in December 2015 and December 2019, the foundation awarded over 135 grants totalling over £300,00. Here are some examples in the charities own words of how our grants have helped them.
The project enabled young people with a diagnosis of ADHD and also with secondary diagnoses of autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and related mental health problems frequently co-occurring for children with learning difficulties, to undertake diversionary activities and structured health based learning outcomes. The objective was to enable young people to understand their neurodevelopmental challenges and related social, emotional and mental health needs, in a safe environment with qualified staff who understand their needs. The project aimed to build confidence social skills and the strategies needed to learn 'self regulation'. Self regulation is the skill where by young people learn to regulate emotions thoughts and behaviour. This enables them to overcome their disadvantage through reducing their anxiety and improving their relationship skills to reduce their sense of isolation.
The project was about promoting good mental health and positive attitudes towards mental wellbeing in the context of art and creativity. It was about bringing people together having fun and using the arts platform to help break down stigma towards mental distress in a playful and creative way. The event featured a line-up of music - including Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 - spoken word and dramatic performances alongside a range of creative activities. Local artists offered screen-printing wall-papering and lantern-making workshops with a pop-up exhibition of finished artwork decorating the walls of the venue. There was also a 'soap-box' opportunity for people to get on stage and “rant” for up to five minutes about something that mattered to them. DJs Rebel Soul The Walrus Said and Kid Blast span an eclectic mix of tunes from all over the world and the Cabaret from the Shadows and the Suitcase Ensemble also performed. In the evening local performance collective Bring the Fire led a torch lit procession around the Baltic Triangle. The feedback about the event was very positive and the people who attended felt it made a great alternative to formal meetings or support services which tend to be less 'celebratory' of differences and less likely to see the positive insights which mental distress can bring. It was also a chance to be 'out and proud' about experiencing mental health problems within a safe environment.
The children who come to St Oswald's Hospice for specialist short breaks have life threatening conditions and multiple complex disabilities. Last year changes to safety advice meant that we were no longer able to transport children who weighed less than 22 kg in their wheelchairs within our minibus. Instead we were told that we must provide a specialist car seat which would fit in a minibus seat and could be tilted according to the clinical needs of the individual child. This was an unexpected cost which we were unable to afford. Sadly for a time this meant that we were unable to take our younger children out on the trips which are such an important part of their short breaks with us. Then the DWF Foundation kindly agreed to fund the specialist car seat we so badly needed.
Your gift meant that we were once again able to get all of our children out and about for trips and activities across the North East region. And we have made the most of it! The children have been all over the place and have enjoyed all sorts of great activities. Your gift meant that they were once again able to access our local hydrotherapy pool - always a hugely popular session. They have also been able to make regular trips to a nearby trampolining facility (for rebound therapy) and have had great fun with the specially adapted bikes at a Newcastle leisure centre. They have been to the cinema, watched some of the matches at Newcastle Falcons and had fun at parks all over the region - you name it and we've probably tried it! This month we are planning a fishing trip with our very enthusiastic 'Rods and Cods' group and over the summer we are hoping to rent a beach hut at Blyth so that the children can enjoy a day at the seaside. In short your gift has meant that all of our children have the freedom to get out to have fun and to participate in their local community. We are hugely grateful.