Daisy Chain is a unique charity that addresses the needs of children affected by autism, as well as their parents, carers and siblings. Hundreds of families visit the charity's site in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, each year and take advantage of the day centre, farm, sensory gardens and wetlands.
The charity's recent 10th birthday was marked by a fantastic party, complete with a bouncy castle, balloons and games. Daisy Chain's mascot, Daisy Bear, played with the children and helped to cut the delicious birthday cake.
Sarah Kirkman, Media and Communications Officer at Daisy Chain, explained that the party was the perfect way to celebrate the continuing success of the charity: "We look after the parents offering those one-to-one support. We look after the siblings and then we look after the child as well. We do that on our 5.5 acre farm. We've just got lots of things that cater especially for children who have autism.
"Our children and families are celebrating by coming here on Saturday and we've got an extra special activity day going on."
People with autism often have anxieties in relation to social integration and communication, which makes getting to know their peers increasingly difficult. Daisy Chain's birthday party was a brilliant way of bringing autistic children, and their families, together in a relaxed and familiar setting.
"It's a place where parents can come and meet other parents that are struggling with some of the same issues", said Angela Middleton, an autism specialist who works for Daisy Chain. "Daisy Chain is a kind of a lifeline for them and without Daisy Chain they'd feel very isolated. We wouldn't be able to do it without People's Postcode Lottery".
In between the fun and games Matt Simpson, Chief Executive at Daisy Chain, took the time to speak about all that the charity has achieved over the years, the lives that have been positively affected and the hundreds of families that their volunteers have helped: "In 2003 founder Lesley Hanson envisioned a ‘haven for families affected by autism'. Her vision is now a reality for the hundreds of families that access our site in Norton every week and we can't think of a better reason to celebrate."
Matt reminded guests to look through the books of memorabilia which documented the development of Daisy Chain from a run-down farm in 2003 to the renovated and modern building it is today. He also talked about future plans for the charity, which include creating a wild flower meadow and developing a new education centre and improving the site's car park.
To date, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised more than £355,000 for Daisy Chain. This funding helps the charity to continue its support work and increase awareness about autism throughout the UK.