Trio of Yorkshire children’s charities nominated for award

Lewis, four, and Taylor Court, three, from Harrogate, with Montague.'' Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Lewis, four, and Taylor Court, three, from Harrogate, with Montague.'' Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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WHETHER it’s using animals to provide therapy to disabled children, giving autistic youngsters a place where they can have fun without any pressures, or bringing young people together from across a diverse city - three charities hold one thing in common, they have all been nominated for an award for their fantastic work.

The Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards recognise the most courageous youngsters at a prestigious ceremony each year - but also celebrate the organisations working to give young people a better life.

Freya and Ben Stones, 10, and 12, meet one of the Donkey Sanctuary's donkeys.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Freya and Ben Stones, 10, and 12, meet one of the Donkey Sanctuary's donkeys. Picture Bruce Rollinson

This October, three Yorkshire charities will battle it out to be crowned group of the year at a ceremony in Leeds.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Assisted Therapy Centre in Eccup, Leeds, provides therapy to 200 school children with additional needs or disabilities from across West Yorkshire each week.

The riding therapy helps to improve confidence, self-esteem, motor skills, core balance and gives the children a real sense of achievement. A small team of staff work seven days a week at the centre, and also have two mobile units that visit schools in Halifax and across Pudsey and Bradford.

Centre manager Cathryn Dixon said: “What we offer is quite unique, and we don’t get any Government funding, so to be recognised by the Children of Courage Awards is fantastic.”

Meade, two, and  Erin Horn, three, taking part in one of the centre's activities.''Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Meade, two, and Erin Horn, three, taking part in one of the centre's activities.''Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Also nominated for the award is the Springboard Youth Club, which is run and funded by the Harrogate Branch of the National Autistic Society. It started out as a holiday club six years ago and flourished into the youth club it is today, offering young people with autism and Asperger’s a place they feel safe to have fun, they way they want to.

Leisure development officer Danielle Mulholland said: “A mainstream youth club could be a scary place for someone with autism or Asperger’s, but we give them something a little more controlled and a little more structured. It’s lovely to see the young people thrive here. When they first arrive they will never leave their parents’ side, but once they get used to it they come independently. Some have gone on the achieve great things thanks to the confidence Springboard has given them.”

The final nominee is Door 84, a youth club based in The Groves, York - one of the most diverse areas of the city.

It holds sessions for 8 to 17-year-olds three times a week, offering a “welcoming and stimulating environment” where children can develop skills but also have fun, senior youth worker Ashley Jones said.

The Donkey Sanctuary, which offers donkey assisted therapy for children with additional needs and disabilities, is one of the nominees in the Yorkshire Children of Courage Group Awards.''Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Donkey Sanctuary, which offers donkey assisted therapy for children with additional needs and disabilities, is one of the nominees in the Yorkshire Children of Courage Group Awards.''Picture Bruce Rollinson

Awards founder Stephen Mitchell, Leeds’ representative of the St James’s Place Foundation, said group award was a chance to recognise local charities rather than individuals.

He said: “This year the committee researched local charities and came up with three. The beauty of this award is that the voting continues right up until the evening of the awards. These three Charities do fantastic work and we encourage all the Yorkshire public to vote for one of them.”

Voting for the winner of the group award is open until midnight on September 30. The winner will be announced at the awards on October 16. To vote visit www.yorkshirechildren.co.uk

Get your tickets for awards

LAST YEAR, £100,000 was raised at the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards.

This year’s event, on October 16 in Leeds, aims to raise just as much to support local good causes through the Yorkshire committee of the St James’s Place Foundation. It established the awards in 2011 to recognise brave and courageous youngsters, but also raise staggering amounts for charity through those who attend the event.

Hosted by BBC Breakfast journalist Steph McGovern, and featuring dinner by Aagrah Restaurants, the evening is inspiring and heart-wrenching. For tickets, visit www.yorkshirechildren.co.uk

Read more on the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards’ star support here.