Making a dramatic difference

Monday, 18th November 2019

Karbon resident Nichola Winthrop and friend Lynsey Baxter dreamed of a place where children with additional needs could take centre stage – so they created it! Karbon has just provided a grant to the Odd Socks Foundation to run drama and dance classes for the next 12 months in South Tyneside. Nichola tells us more…

“I met Lynsey when our children started nursery and we hit it off immediately.

Our children have a number of different health issues and we’d often find ourselves on outings with our pushchairs, talking about the challenges we both experienced. We really just got each other and it was great to have someone else to talk to who understood the things we face as parents of children with additional needs.

That’s what gave us the idea for the Odd Socks Foundation. Primarily we wanted to create an out of school play club for kids with extra needs, but we also wanted to provide a support network for their parents.

Parents told us they’d love us to run drama classes where their children could express themselves without the fear of being judged. A place where siblings could also take part and play together and parents could enjoy meeting each other over a cup of tea. We’ve been running a weekly drama class for a little while and it’s been really successful. Now we’re extending to offer a dance class.

Kids don’t see disability or care about it. They just want to get on with things and it’s lovely to see how they help each other to grow in confidence. We just had a community event and our drama group wowed the audience by singing together. It’s incredible to think some of these were the same children who hid under the table when they first came to us.

We want to open our sessions up to more families by making them as affordable as possible. I was so excited when I stumbled across the fact that Karbon offers help to community projects that support its residents. From the second I spoke to the team they were clearly on my side and wanted to help. The grant we’ve been given means that rather than charging £3.50 a session we will just ask for donations.

We’ll have an honesty box and people can put in whatever they can afford. We know so many more families can benefit from what we are doing and we’d urge anyone interested to come along. They'll receive a warm welcome.”

Odd Socks runs drama sessions 9.30-10.30am and dance classes 11am-12pm every Saturday at Perth Green Community Centre, Jarrow.

For more information check out Odd Socks Foundation on Facebook and Instagram or email oddsocksfoundation@gmail.com

More good news for South Tyneside

Karbon Homes funding now means Durham Cricket Foundation can run a young people’s cricket and leadership development programme in the borough.

And NEYouth will be improving connections between young people and their communities by building a picture of what gaps there are currently in services and facilities, while raising awareness of what is already available.

The project will be carried out in the West End of Newcastle, Chester-le-Street and Stobhill, as well as Hebburn and Jarrow. NEYouth will be out and about asking young people in these areas for their thoughts and will always show their identification to prove it’s safe to get involved. To find out more about NEYouth visit www.neyouth.org.uk