Ten years of empowering families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities has been celebrated in Worthing.
Worthing deputy mayor Hazel Thorpe and town crier Bob Smytherman joined the parent-carer charity Reaching Families for its anniversary celebrations at The Vine in Tarring on Saturday.
Mr Smytherman said: “Having watched Reaching Families grow and develop over the last decade, I was thrilled to be a part of their tenth anniversary celebrations. I’m sure they’ll do even more for SEND families in the next ten years.”
The Worthing-based charity provides information, training and peer support to families of children with additional needs in West Sussex.
Mrs Thorpe said: “It was a pleasure and an honour to participate in the Reaching Families ten-year celebration.
“The community has benefited greatly from the hard work and commitment put in by the staff and the families in the organisation behind Reaching Families.
“Awareness of the impact of hidden disabilities needs to be in the forefront of our thinking and funding. I wish the charity well for the future. “
The fun day included a range of family activities, including a barbecue, bouncy castle, face painting, coconut shy, live music and a raffle. The charity raised £472.45, with other pledges of support to follow.
The charity will not be resting on its laurels, as it is ambitious to do more for the families it supports.
Project manager Brian O’Hagan, who established the charity in 2008, said: “We’re immensely proud of all that we’ve achieved over the last ten years, particularly with such meagre resources.
“Proud as we are to have come this far, we’re really focused on the future and maximising the support we can provide families.
“Future plans include training for professionals who work with parent-carers and volunteer befriending for families in crisis.”
Each year, the charity supports more than 2,000 families. Over the course of the last 10 years, it has distributed more than 10,000 copies of its parent guides, delivered training to more than 1,000 families and built the largest parent-carer group on social media, with more than 2,000 members on Facebook.
Gary Harrison, landlord of The Vine, said: “We’re always delighted to support local charities, particularly such hard-working groups like Reaching Families. We’re thrilled it was such a fantastic day.”