Banks Property zips in to support disadvantaged Leeds kids

January 22, 2014 | Cave Lane News

Hundreds of disadvantaged children from across Leeds will be flying through the countryside air this year after a £5,000 grant for a regional developer enabled work to be completed on a new zipwire at a local charity’s outdoor holiday centre.

The Leeds Children’s Charity, which provides free residential short breaks and respite care for disadvantaged and socially excluded young people from the city, had been looking to install the new 20m-long apparatus in the well-equipped adventure playground at its Silverdale holiday centre near Morecambe on the Lancashire coast.

And now, a £5,000 grant from Banks Property, via its Banks Community Fund, has ensured that the zipwire will be available to the 500 7-11 year-old local children who will spend time at the Silverdale centre during the 2014 holiday season.

The Leeds Children’s Charity has been operating for over a century, and works closely with schools, local authorities, social services and foster families to identify children who could be classed as disadvantaged for reasons such as poverty, neglect, abuse, homelessness or domestic violence.

Young visitors to Silverdale are looked after by a dedicated group of highly-trained staff, and are able to take part in a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, including various sports, arts & crafts, dance and music, cycling, go-karting, treasure hunts and bowling.

Other schools and young people’s groups, such as Brownies, Cubs, Guides and youth groups, are also able to make use of the facilities as the opportunity arises.

The Charity has to raise the bulk of its annual £250,000 running costs itself, and undertakes a wide range of fundraising activities to achieve this goal, as well as receiving donations from individual and companies that raise money on its behalf.

Verlie McCann of The Leeds Children’s Charity says: “The children that come to Silverdale have often found themselves in extremely difficult situations through no fault of their own, and the time they spend with us gives them an invaluable chance to just play like ordinary children without worrying about anything else.

“The experiences that the children enjoy often make a huge and immediate difference to their confidence and behaviour, and can help them to deal with the situations they face at home over the longer-term.

“The zipwire adds the finishing touch to our adventure playground, which already includes facilities like climbing frames, pendulum and hurricane swings, and a living willow structure, and we know that it’s going to prove extremely popular with our visitors.

“Demand for our services has increased in recent years as more and more families have found themselves in very difficult situations, and finding the money to provide the support they need isn’t getting any easier, so we’re extremely grateful to the Banks Community Fund for helping us complete what we know will be a wonderfully well-used project.”

Banks Property is currently looking to secure planning permission to build 181 new family homes on a 7.7 hectare site on Station Road, Methley, to the south-east of the city, which will also include a community benefits package worth in excess of £2m as part of the overall development offer.

The Banks Group is also the company behind the development of the Hook Moor Wind Farm that will be built on agricultural land near Micklefield, and has previous undertaken surface mining operations at sites between Methley and Oulton and at Cave Lane in East Ardsley, all of which have now been fully restored.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, adds: “The work of The Leeds Children’s Charity has a positive impact on the lives of so many children who are facing challenging situations, and we’re really happy to be able to be playing our part in adding to what they’re able to provide for the visitors they host.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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