A Newcastle special school, which was the victim of a shocking attack by vandals, has been chosen as the recipient of a fund-raising football competition.
The attack happened during last year’s Easter holidays and outraged people throughout the North East and beyond.
Donations and messages of support came from high profile figures, as well as businesses, community partners, friends, parents and carers.
“There were also a lot of people we’d never heard of, who’d seen it on the news,” said the school’s business manager David Palmer. “People from Ireland, for example, sending over money. It was really overwhelming.”
Now, the school in Benwell – which is attended by 160 children with additional needs – has been selected by Newcastle business Concept to receive the money it raises through the Concept Cup which takes place in September.
Concept – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xerox – aims to raise enough money to buy a specialised Achiever bed which, said Mr Palmer “allows children to have comfortable support and positioning, meaning they have full inclusive access to all areas of the curriculum’’.
The school currently has two of the specialised motorised beds – each costing around £5,000 – which are used primarily by the more complex profoundly disabled children. “It enables them to strengthen their posture, be comfortable and feel independent,” he explained. “The beds can be moved to different areas of the school, helping to save time by not transferring children in and out of their chairs so they can spend more time in activities they enjoy.
“The beds help to achieve positive outcomes, enhanced function, comfort, sleep and protection of body shape for our children.”
The Concept Cup, which started in 2014, raised money for Hadrian School three years ago to help it buy trampolines.
“Concept are very, very genuine,” said Mr Palmer. “They donate I-pads to help with our raffles. They come to our Christmas plays. They are definitely one of our community stakeholders.”
Concept’s sales manager Stewart Hunter said it was a privilege to support Hadrian School. “What happened last year was terrible, but all the offers of help and donations showed how decent and generous the vast majority of people are.
“We’ve been fortunate to work with Hadrian School for a number of years and been able to see the fantastic environment the staff create for the children. Through the Concept Cup we are determined to raise enough money to buy a new Achiever bed which we know will make such a difference.”
As well as Hadrian School, the Concept Cup has supported The Calvert Trust, Little Steps for Lily and – in 2018 – the North East Autism Society.
The Ashington-based painting contractor Cook & Turnbull won last year’s Concept Cup, beating the previous year’s winners Northumbrian Water 7-4 in the final. Other teams taking part represented some of the North East’s best-known businesses and organisations, including Mincoffs, NCFE, Unite and Virgin Money.
This year the five-a-side competition takes place on 20 September at Goals Newcastle in Gosforth.