The Special Lioness

Community Organisation Award

Community Organisation Award for Disability: Sponsor - Direct Line Group

Nominee Profile

Location: Tyne and Wear
The Special Lioness, Established in 2017, is a small charity based in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
We support families of children with additional needs, disabilities and life limiting conditions. We provide parent/carer support by way of weekly meet ups and outings. We provide events and activities for the whole family with the purpose of making special memories and giving families a safe place to attend fully inclusive activities and events.
With the families of children with life limiting conditions in mind, we throw an annual family ball, this is a formal occasion for the families and a real chance to make some truly unique memories with a mother and child and father and child first dance. We believe no family should go without making the memories most of us take for granted, such as experiencing a formal event, prom or getting married so our annual ball intends to give families an experience as close as we can.
Each year we charter a fully accessible catamaran to give families the opportunity to explore the north east coast line as a family. This really is a very special event as the children and adults get the opportunity to drive the boat and the skipper leads the families to do donuts in the water. This is an activity for all of the senses and particular children who are full time wheelchair users get so much sensory input from this, from the salty sea air in their hair and splashes of water in their face to the motion of bouncing on the waves and speed like sonic on the water. With the boat trips we aim to reach around 70 families.
We have recently opened a fully accessible play space (The Roaring Rainforest) for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, a safe and unique space for these children to explore their senses in an environment that meets their needs. We have a range of sensory activities within the space including our sensory tree which has been designed to fit a child within the tree in their wheelchair enabling the child a have totally unique and immersive sensory experience.