North East children with a range of special needs will have more opportunities to play, thanks to money from NE1’s Geordie Jackpot

The local lottery has helped buy new sensory equipment for children with special educational needs and autism for Eldon Leisure in Newcastle City Centre.

The equipment, which includes a brand new sensory wall, has been installed in the soft play area so that more sessions can be offered to children with additional needs.

The play sessions for children with special needs were the brainchild of Eldon Leisure employee, Peter Harrison who has received a national award in recognition for his work and his services to the community.  

He first came up with the idea of introducing special events for children and young people with special educational needs and autism after seeing a child who became very distressed in the soft play.

He said: “I asked the child’s mother if I could be of assistance and if there was something we could do to help her and her child – and she explained that her child was autistic and found the general sessions in the soft play difficult. 

“The experience stuck in my mind and I asked my manager if we could host special sensory sessions for children to see if they would be popular and we have never looked back.”  

The team at Eldon Leisure were overjoyed when they heard they had been successful after applying to Cash for Kids for a Geordie Jackpot grant. 

Peter added: “We are delighted that the money we’ve been granted by the Geordie Jackpot has paid for extra sensory equipment and I know it will be put to good use by young people and their families. 

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from families from across the North East who have been able to go out together in Newcastle to enjoy an activity as a family for the first time.  

“The Geordie Jackpot money will enhance the children’s enjoyment and use of the centre and we’re so pleased we have been able to put the money to such good use.”

To date over 1300 children and young people have attended the sessions with families travelling from all over the North East to visit the centre.  Between 10 – 20 children attend each drop in session, which last up to two hours.  The sessions are £2.50 each, the cheapest ticket for any activity offered by Eldon Leisure. 

Pam Carefull, Project Manager at lottery operators, NE1 Ltd  said: “The Eldon Leisure sensory wall is such a great, heart-warming example of how local generosity of Geordie Jackpot players is helping families and children with special educational needs and autism.

“This is exactly the type of activity that the Geordie Jackpot was designed to support.

“Great activities like this are happening across the city and we are looking forward to making further grant awards in January.  We would urge more people to play the Geordie Jackpot to help charities, improve the city and to be in with the chance of winning.”

NE1’s Geordie Jackpot began in October 2017 and has been making grant awards to worthy charities ever since.  Money raised by the Geordie Jackpot is also channelled into improvements in Newcastle City Centre.  

The team at NE1’s Geordie Jackpot are looking forward to bringing back the Grey Street Gathering in the Spring, the pop-up park was the first city centre improvement paid for by the local lottery. 

There are now more ways to play and be part of the Geordie Jackpot with the recent launch of Geordie Jackpot gift vouchers.  Starting at just £5, the vouchers can be bought online and gifted to friends, or family. 

I Love Newcastle Magazine would love to hear your thoughts about the above post, so please feel free to share them in the comments box below.

Have Your Say