An amazing charity that supports parents of children with autism was the big winner in Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s biggest ever Golden Giveaway, as £25,000 was shared between 24 Teesside worthy causes.
In a presentation at the Riverside Stadium, Autism Parents Together (Tees Valley) were announced as the £5,000 winners after topping a series of facebook polls.
The funds were made possible by the generosity of 50 foundation patrons – Teesside companies and wealthy individuals who want to share their success with others.
A number of them presented cheques to the winners – including foundation trustee David Henderson, a director at Tees firm px Group, who presented a £5,000 cheque to Autism Parents Together.
The group will use the donation to fund special activities for Teessiders with autism and their parents.
Nicola McBean, who runs Autism Parents Together with Karen Clayton, said: “We are so proud and happy to win the £5,000.
“The money will come in really handy for us. We have only been going for nine months and only became a charity six weeks ago.
“We have got 700 parents in our group and when we put on events they are all full straight away.
“So the money will enable us to put on more events for more families who feel isolated, bringing them out of that isolation and getting them out making friends.
“Every day the group is getting bigger, so we will now be able to provide that more and more for families.”
Stigma is an obstacle autism families encounter, with Nicola adding: “A lot won’t go out for the fear of people looking, rolling their eyes and making comments – not understanding autism.
“But, because our families are all in the same boat, everyone helps each other.
“Autism awareness among the general public is growing, to be fair, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Some of our families are further along the road with autism than other new parents, which is one of the reasons we set the group up – to help and advise.
“And hopefully getting them out of the house doing things.
Second place in the facebook poll were previous £5,000 winners Neoangels, a very special charity that this time received £2,500 – presented by Helen Lyne of Archers Law – to help them provide family food vouchers for those caring for poorly babies in the region’s neonatal units.
And cheques for £1,750 were presented to both Tees Valley Women’s Centre and Trinity Holistic Centre. TVWC, who received their cheque from Zoe Arkell of InBond, will put the money towards funding an outside play area for children.
Meanwhile, Lisa Corley of Barclays Middlesbrough made the presentation to Trinity, who’ll put the money towards building a summer house to enable patients on the cancer wards at James Cook University Hospital to have visits from their dogs or cats.
Another big cheque, for £1,500, was presented by Ken Devereux of Devereux Transport and Distribution to Happy Talk Stroke Group to fund events for Teessiders who’ve had a stroke.
Another £1,500 went to Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group, with David Henderson again presenting the cheque to fund activities for those with disabilities.
£1,500 was also presented to Stockton Hope – funding children’s activities in the Hardwick estate – by Shaun Hughes of Erimus Insurance Brokers.
And a fourth £1,500 presentation was made by Harriet Spalding of Mandale Homes to Rubies towards their ongoing commitment to raise the self-esteem and belief of young girls in the Grangetown area of Middlesbrough.
Anthony Suddes of Middlesbrough-based AV Dawson presented cheques of £500 to Young at Heart ULO, Tees Valley Sound Tennis and Submit 2 Success.
Ken Devereux presented £500 cheques to Streets Ahead for Information, Spreading the Happiness, Rosebrook Primary School and Middlesbrough Sportability Club.
Middlesbrough Football Club’s Carleigh Stafford was on hand to present £500 each to Matrix Neurological, North Ormesby Primary Academy and Hartlepool Headland Amateur Boxing Club.
And Helen Lyne of Archers Law presented £500 cheques to Hand in Hand Activities, Footprints in the Community and Building Blox.
£500 winners 2nd Thornaby Rainbows and the Chris Cave Foundation were unable to attend.