Gym lover, 18 year old, Reece Matheson, was surprised when a chance meeting at Cascades Leisure Centre in Gravesend led to a local charity making up the £1,650 funding shortfall to provide a bespoke wheelchair at a cost of £3,850.
A new bespoke wheelchair would give Reece, who has cerebral palsy, a better posture; make him more mobile; more comfortable and allow him to engage with fitness and sport.
Reduced funding from the NHS meant Reece had to raise over £3,000. A fundraising page was set up and achieved £1,400 in 6 weeks, still leaving a shortfall of £1,650.
Lisa Hankinson, Marketing Manager at Cascades Leisure Centre in Gravesend spoke about Reece’s enthusiasm, attendance at the gym and his plight to raise funds. By chance, a member of the Red Eagle Foundation’s team was in the meeting and immediately put Lisa in touch with the charity, who came up with the shortfall in funding.
Reece’s mum, Terrijayne said, “We are over the moon. The independence this gives Reece cannot be measured, we are so grateful to the Foundation; to Cascades, who facilitate and encourage people with impaired mobility; and all the people who contributed to our fundraising to make this possible.”
The Red Eagle Foundation established last year helps children in Kent with mobility, mental health and learning difficulties.
St Anthony’s School (A member of Kent Special Educational Needs Trust) in Cliftonville, nurtures children with a range of barriers to learning, principally; social, emotional and mental health challenges and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The school recently carried out reading assessments on all pupils at the school and found that two thirds of the pupils have a delay of more than two years, when comparing their chronological age to their reading age. This is mainly due to a lack of engagement in their education and/or specific learning difficulties. Many of the pupils, understandably, have a very negative view of reading when they arrive.
St Anthony’s were keen to improve the children’s reading skills and so secured funding from the Red Eagle Foundation to create a bespoke Indoor Reading Garden - a place where children are encouraged and feel comfortable to develop their reading skills. Over 100 pupils, age 6-16 now benefit from this space. Many pupils receive one to one, weekly teaching by Reading Recovery trained teacher, Deborah Salsbury- AKA ‘The Reading Doctor’.
The Reading Garden was officially opened on Friday 7th December by Kent based author and former East Enders scriptwriter, Julie Wassmer and Red Eagle’s Wayne Hodgson, in a special whole school assembly to mark the occasion. http://www.st-anthonys.kent.sch.uk/
Foundation funds Folkestone CIC garden project
Custom Folkestone is a new restaurant concept where diners can donate ingredients or help in the kitchen in exchange for food. It is based in Folkestone Harbour and is the brain child of local artist and chef Cherry Truluck.
Cherry says her food will focus on locally sourced produce and will include fish as well as vegetarian food.
The venture has been funded by online crowdfunding as well as local businesses.
Cherry says the project will create new learning opportunities and work experience for local people, working in the kitchen and garden and is hoping to engage children with profound and severe learning difficulties and physical and sensory impairments, to give them a range of educational experiences they would not otherwise enjoy.
Red Eagle is proud to be associated with the project and has donated £1,200 to cover the annual maintenance of the community garden.
We wish them every success in the project and look forward to popping down for lunch in the future.
You can find out more about the project by visiting www.customfolkestone.co.uk
The Red Eagle Foundation have recently donated £500 towards the Strode Park Foundation ‘Space to Play’ project. This helps benefit children with complex disabilities and life limiting conditions at Footprints, their residential and respite care home in Canterbury.
The Space to Play project will provide: a wonderful new spacious indoor play room; a separate ‘state of the art’ sensory room; the incorporation of an external two bedded respite care suite into the main building and upgrading the respite care accommodation to provide two beautiful bright bedrooms and an adjoining specialist bathroom.
The primary beneficiaries will be children with disabilities from the age of 5 – 18 years across the Kent region. Children with complex and life limiting conditions including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and other genetic and complex conditions. Currently Footprints has 7 permanent children and 18 children coming in for regular respite care.
The project will enable the Foundation to increase the number of children who come for day care placements. The children’s family members also benefit. Respite care gives crucial support to the family, enabling them time to concentrate on siblings, time to have space for themselves and the opportunity to renew the energy required to cope with the demands of caring for a child with complex disabilities.
The Orchards Centre in Sittingbourne,set up in 2012 helps over 2000 disabled children and their families with a range of healthcare services. The Red Eagle Foundation has helped with a number of specialist funding projects over the past few months.
Jannie Pommer, a physio at the Orchards Centre said, "Red Eagle Foundation have helped support a number of projects for the children and families who use the Medway Community Healthcare services at the Orchards. This has ranged from bespoke specialist equipment for children with muscular dystrophy and more recently play therapy sessions for a child who recently underwent an amputation.
The work Red Eagle Foundation has done with services at the centre has really made a huge a positive impact on the children’s lives and their families and friends around them. We are very fortunate to have such great support from Red Eagle Foundation and have always found them to be very responsive when a need arises both large and small."
The Foundations looks forward to continuing their help by funding additional projects in the future.
Seven year old Scarlett has been house bound for one of the hottest summers on record after out-growing her previous buggy.
Scarlett from Sheerness was diagnosed at a young age with severe, non-verbal, autism and suffers from extreme anxiety when out of the house. She has been known to have violent outbursts or attempt to run away when not in a buggy and her lack of danger awareness has made leaving the house extremely dangerous and difficult for Scarlett and her family.
The NHS does not fund buggies for children with autism and after out-growing her previous buggy Scarlett’s Mum, Dawn sought advice from Scarlett’s Occupational Therapist who suggested applying to various charities for assistance.
After applying to a different charity and waiting four months only to receive a rejection letter Dawn reached out to the Red Eagle Foundation for help.
Less than a month later we were able to provide Scarlett with a light weight buggy which has room for her to grow and is stronger than a normal pushchair. The buggy is perfect for the family’s house which has some restricted access and has enabled them to take Scarlett to the dentist.
A life changing moment for Korben. 15 year old Korben Bronger from Minster was born 13 weeks early. Within 24 hours, his lungs collapsed and he developed a bleed on brain, which in turn caused Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus. This has meant his mobility has been limited and more difficult as he gets older.
“Korben was growing fast and I couldn’t lift him any more”, remarked his mum, Melissa. “Our days out with his two brothers and sister to places such as Hever castle, Leeds castle and the local play park were becoming more of a problem.” It soon became apparent that he needed an electric wheelchair to help with his mobility and independence.
16 operations at different hospitals throughout the UK has helped Korben significantly, however the NHS’s help didn’t extent to providing an electric wheelchair. He was assessed at Orchards in Sittingbourne, who put his mum in touch with a new charity, the Red Eagle Foundation, which is supported by ski celebrity Eddie ‘The Eagle’. They provided the £3,000 required for the new bespoke electric wheelchair from fundraising events involving many businessmen throughout Kent.
Wayne Hodgson, Chairman of the charity said, “It’s day’s like this that make every fundraising event worthwhile, all thanks to our generous supporters. I was delighted to meet Korben, who was passionate about his football.”
His mum said, “Korben hasn’t had it easy. He has suffered terrible physical and verbal abuse because of his disability over his lifetime, yet still manages to keep smiling, I’m so proud of him and how he copes with all the problems he faces. We are so grateful for the Foundation’s help, the electric wheelchair will have a dramatic effect on the quality of Korben’s life. It will open many doors for him both at home and at his school, Rivermead in Medway.”
Seven year old TJ from Sittingbourne suffers with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, something that affects 4 in every million born in the UK. He also has Profound Global Development Delay, Chromosome deletion, as well as partial hearing, poor eyesight and a low immune system.
His parents first became aware something was wrong when TJ was 9 weeks old. His mum Melissa Wiseman said, “He wasn’t making the usual baby noises and something didn’t seem quite right right”. Soon after he saw a health visitor and was referred to a consultant when he was one year old. TJ didn’t walk until he was five years old and even now walks with some difficulty using specially made boots to support his legs.
Melissa previously funded a wheelchair to provide some mobility, but because of TJ’s condition, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t ideal and needed to be reclining. A Facebook page to raise awareness and funding led to a Just Giving page. Melissa even went live on Sheppey FM to help her appeal and this led to them putting her in contact with Red Eagle Foundation, a new charity that helps children with bespoke mobility equipment that is not funded by the NHS. Delivered six weeks after being measured up, TJ’s mum said, “The wheelchair is ideal for short outings, it’s lightweight, folds up easily and fits in the car boot. TJ loves it and feels snug, comfortable and with the five-point harness, feels very safe – I’m really grateful to the Red Eagle Foundation for stepping in and providing the funding for the wheelchair.”
Charity Chairman, Wayne Hodgson commented, “We recently held a golf day supported by many Kent businesses and raised over £12,000 to help young people like TJ. I’m delighted that their efforts have been rewarded.”
Melissa is still looking for people to help her raise money for a special bed costing over £10,000. If you feel you can help please visit her fundraising page and donate at: uk.gofundme.com/tj-wheelchair-amp-bed