Pudsey helps Woodley’s Me2 Club

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

AS THE nation prepares to enjoy an evening of fun television thanks to Friday’s Children in Need appeal, a Woodley-based charity is celebrating the support it has received.

The Me2 Club received funding from Pudsey Bear’s friends which enabled it to send out special Hallowe’en themed activity packs to the families that it supports.

More than 50 of them were distributed.

They contained craft ideas, activities, experiments and toys and sweets, which had been donated by Asda in Lower Earley.

It’s just one of the number of activities that Me2 Club has run over recent months for the children it works with in Wokingham and Reading boroughs.

In normal times, the charity aims to give children with additional needs the opportunity to attend maistream clubs and events. Since lockdown, it has held online events.

One such activity was a virtual Hallowe’en disco, held on Wednesday, October 28. DJ Darren played requests and spooky songs including Ghostbusters and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Children were encouraged to dress up and were sent glow sticks to use.

Shaun Polley is Me2 Club’s new chief executive. He joined earlier this year.

“It’s hard to believe that I’m just at the start of month five – it’s gone really quickly,” he said. “There’s been some challenges, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”

The charity launched its work in Reading at the end of last year, and it has been working with these families over lockdown, something that Shaun is pleased with.

“We’ve been able to go forward with this expansion, just at a bit of a slower rate than we’d hoped for,” he said.

Helping them with that expansion has been the support from Children In Need.

“We currently receive two bits of funding from Children In Need. We have a larger grant that pays for a full-time activities volunteer coordinator. To have that income over a number of years means that it becomes easier for us to make a commitment to children and families.

“The other bit of funding is one of their booster grants: they have us just over £2,500, to be spent purely on the Covid crisis.

“That’s been really helpful for our online activities: We have been able to providea range of activities for our children, such as online coaches doing health and fitness sessions. That’s been really important because during lockdown periods, activity levels have dropped, so we’ve been making sure children have been fit and healthy.

“We also know that lockdown online can sometimes be difficult for some children, either they don’t have access to the equipment they need or they find the online environment quite intense because they’re just sitting there looking at other people on a screen.

“It’s funded physical activity packs with all kinds of arts and crafts, toys and games. We’ve had support from supermarkets and local organisations as well.

“We’ve done three of these packs now – it’s a really good way of being able to ensure the children have got things throughout the week.”

For more details, log on to me2club.org.uk

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