* This post is kindly supported by Variety The Children’s Charity, but all opinions are my own. *
Variety, the Children’s Charity believe that all children should have equal opportunities to reach their potential, regardless of their circumstances. Founded in 1927 for fellowship purposes by movie moguls, the original Variety Club was redeveloped after a baby was left in a theatre. The mother had heard of the showman’s generosity and seeing as she was unable to care for her child, she could only hope the Variety Club would rise to the challenge. Amazingly, they not only went on to raise a well-educated child but also began raising funds to support other children in need. Fast forward to 2020 and the international charity has raised over $500,000,000, in addition to £270 million from the UK!
Research shows that families supporting a disabled child in the UK, typically spend an additional £600 per month on general outgoings compared to families without a medical diagnosis. This is why Variety offer grants to children and young people with disabilities, life-limiting illnesses and long-term health conditions. Allowing children to access life-enhancing devices and experiences that would otherwise be unattainable. There have four main ways in which Variety deliver their funding:
Variety’s Sunshine Coaches are a familiar sight on the roads of the UK, as there are currently over 900 specially adapted, accessible coaches enabling groups of children with additional needs to get out and about in their local area. Coaches are donated to both SEND Schools and non-profit organisations that work with disabled or disadvantaged young people.
Variety's Wheelchair Grants provide children with bespoke wheelchairs when statutory funding isn’t available, and personal financial resources cannot cover the cost of something suitable. This is why the charity offers partially and fully funded manual, powered and sports wheelchairs to ensure the user's individual needs are fully supported, regardless of the purpose.
Variety’s Equipment Grants are designed to alleviate some of the financial pressures associated with funding specialist equipment, for families who don’t have the means to pay for it themselves. As long as there is a medical or sensory need, the charity can help source specialist medical equipment, bespoke wheelchairs, sensory activities and more.
Variety’s Great Days Out Programme creates memorable experiences for children and young people who may otherwise not have the chance to go on a special outing. Allowing thousands of children each year to experience a fun day out at the zoo, an aquarium, a theatre or one of many other attractions, where everything is tailored to their needs to ensure the children have a day they will never forget.
None of these incredible services would be available to children in need if it wasn’t for the act of giving. So whether you want to fundraise, volunteer your time, or choose one of the many ways to donate, your offer of help will be greatly received. Alternatively, if you know an organisation that would benefit from such services, or perhaps you know someone under the age of 18 in need of help - don’t be ashamed to get in touch.
At AYL we are committed to sharing unbiased information on the best products and services for people with disabilities, so it is an honour to be partnering with Variety! For more information on their collection of life-changing services, making a donation, and becoming a volunteer - simply check out the links below!