Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Centre for disabled children has best ever year for fund-raising

THE Chiltern Centre for disabled children in Henley has enjoyed its most successful year ever for fund-raising.

The charity’s annual meeting heard that it had raised more than £250,000 in the year ending March 31.

This included a £16,500 donation from the Mark Benevolent Fund, which is run by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.

This paid for the refurbishment of the centre’s sensory room, which was re-opened a year ago.

The charity put £5,000 of its own funds towards the room, which allows children to explore all their senses through equipment including a wall of different textures, a ball pit and a tunnel with multi-coloured lights.

A group of more than 30 parents and governors from Trinity Primary School raised about £15,000 by cycling from Henley to Paris in a day last July. This went towards the charity’s running costs of £200,000 a year, as did grants of £20,000 from South Oxfordshire District Council and £25,000 from the Sobell Foundation.

Additional contributions came from the centre’s friends scheme, which was launched late in 2016.

Members pay a minimum of £5 a month, although some pay several hundred pounds a year.

Any surplus money will be saved to refurbish, extend or relocate the centre off Greys Road if this ever became necessary.

Paul Barrett, chairman of trustees, said: “We will always be dependent on fund-raising to remain financially viable and while we have just enjoyed a year of feast, there is always the risk of a year of famine.

“We are extremely grateful to all our supporters and never take their contribution for granted.”

The centre, which was called the Chiltern Resource Centre before it became a charity in 2004, provides respite care, including overnight services, to children with physical and mental disabilities. It saved itself from the threat of closure in 2011 by successfully campaigning to raise £350,000.

Its next major fund-raising event will be a Bollywood-themed ball at Henley town hall in October and it is also looking for people to take part in a sponsored trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro next year.

For more information, email chiltern@chiltern

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