‘Thank you so much for help’

Rainbow Flyers youth club, pizza making demonstration by Little Italy. Little Italy manager Danielle Holliday youth club members. EMN-160919-182901001
Rainbow Flyers youth club, pizza making demonstration by Little Italy. Little Italy manager Danielle Holliday youth club members. EMN-160919-182901001

The leader of a youth club for young people with learning disabilities is stunned by the wave of community support responding to The Standard’s front page story last week.

The Standard had reported how vandals had climbed over high iron gates to get into the storage compound at the rear of Ruskington youth club, on the village high street.

There they had stolen and wrecked outdoor toys including two children’s scooters. This left Rainbow Flyers, a club for youngsters with special educational needs which uses the venue, with no option but to launch an appeal for £1,000 to replace and secure equipment.

Offers of donations and support have come flooding in within hours of the story breaking and members of Sleaford and District Round Table contacted The Standard to donate an amazing £1,000 to get the club back on its feet.

Shocked Rainbow Flyers leader Karen Kenward, whose son Thomas is diagnosed with autism, said: “It’s fantastic. You could knock me down with a feather. Everyone in the group is now making plans.”

Chairman of the Round table Martin Osborne explained that Autism Awareness is his chosen charity for the year. His son has the condition too and he immediately felt that he could help.

He said: “Quite a few of the kids that go to this youth club are autistic and so when I saw it on the front of The Standard I just thought it was an ideal opportunity to help people on our doorstep.”

The Round Table will divert the money from some of the £12,000 raised at this month’s Oktoberfest. They presented the cheque on Monday.

Mrs Kenward thanked the Round Table, saying: “I am overwhelmed by their generosity. We will be able to replace the scooters and get a couple of laptop computers and some Xbox games instead of having to borrow my own children’s games.”

She also wants to put the money towards helping the main youth centre committee improve her club’s storage facilities, outdoor security and lighting while enabling her club’s children to carry on playing on darker nights.

Mrs Kenward thanked The Standard for making all this possible.

She has been offered further funding streams and guidance on charitable status. Rainbow Flyers celebrated its first year in operation last weekend with an arts and crafts party while showing parents reflexology techniques to calm their children.

Mrs Kenward also thanked James Broderick of Little Italy Pizza of Sleaford who donated £50 having visited the weekend before with his manager Danielle Holliday to show the children how to make pizzas - all for free.