Lions Club of Morpeth
For many years, Cleaswell Hill School at Choppington has participated in Morpeth Lions Club’s Dickens of a Draw.
So in 2017 when teacher Lauren Caisley mentioned that it had a project in hand to raise £500,000 to build a hydrotherapy pool, it was of interest to then Lion Vice-President Margaret Trewick.
Margaret, who was the district’s Physical and Learning Difficulties Officer, was looking for a project to assist in her presidential year. She, with Lion President Chris Offord and other members, visited the school to find out more.
Cleaswell Hill is a day community school for almost 200 children, aged three to 19, with special educational needs and disabilities. Some pupils have additional physical difficulties, medical or emotional needs, and others are within the autistic spectrum. Pupils come from all over Northumberland.
The school aims to provide a happy, secure, stimulating environment that allows children to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. This is only possible because of the committed, talented teaching and support staff, backed by visiting professionals, such as speech, language and occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
The Lions were shown the wonderful teaching, activities and facilities. Much of this would not have been possible without fund-raising events and grants from charities.
Pupils were stimulated and were being given the best chance to develop. A wide range of learning opportunities are available, many which lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
Fund-raising Co-ordinator Lauren explained that a hydrotherapy pool uses water properties, such as temperature and pressure, to allow physiotherapy to be carried out in a relaxed and safe environment. The pool also includes light and sound systems to provide a rich sensory, interactive, experience that can encourage independence.
During the visit, the school was introduced to Georgia the Giraffe. Georgia started life as a 5ft Decopatch model used by Steve and Fiona Greenway, of Lateral Arts, Morpeth. They asked children to come up with a name and invited Lion Les Sage to make use of it for fund-raising purposes.
Les and Margaret decided that Georgia would make an ideal collecting box. If filled with £1 coins it could contain up to £3,000.
A further idea was to take Georgia to various locations to encourage donations. These included Whitehouse Farm, Sanderson Arcade and productions given by SA Performing Arts Centre, the owner being Les’ daughter Lucy. Additionally, Les requested donations in lieu of presents for his 70th birthday last year.
A new fund-raiser by the Lions was a fashion show earlier this year at Riverside Lodge.
By virtue of all these activities, Margaret and Chris were able to present £5,000 to the school.
It had also raised £152 by participating in Lionswim so participating students were presented with certificates.
As for Georgia, she has found a new home at the school and will continue raising funds. Following the Lions Club donation, the school has raised over £50,000 through fund-raising activities and its Just giving page.
If you would like to help, see www.cleaswellhill.northumberland.sch.uk