With help from players of People's Postcode Lottery, Whizz-Kidz help thousands of young people every year transform their lives. In 2014 alone, they gave over 2,700 opportunities to disabled children and young people through the provision of essential mobility equipment and services.
The funding from players, which thus far totals £300,000, enables Whizz-Kids to run youth clubs, provide wheelchair skills training, arrange residential camps and work placements, as well as supply wheelchairs. Through this work, Whizz-Kidz provides opportunities to young disabled people to meet and have fun, and training to help them gain skills and look forward to a bright future.
One of the children the charity helped last year is Michael. Michael is like any other 10-year-old, as he loves horse riding, boccia and badminton. Michael has cerebral palsy that affects his movement and coordination, which means he needs a wheelchair to get around. He has attended Whizz-Kidz Wheelchair Skills Training for a few years now, which has enabled him to do more for himself. His mum, Helen, is no longer worried about Michael's future and is confident that he will be more than capable to live independently.
Wheelchair Skills Training has provided Michael with the opportunity to meet other wheelchair users and make friends. His mum said, "It's also a good opportunity for me to interact with other parents and build up a support network. We are still in touch with a number of kids and parents from the Croydon Wheelchair Skills Training session."
When Michael attended the first session a few years ago, he wasn't even able to push himself up the small ramp to where it was taking place. His jaw dropped when he saw what the older kids were capable of. Michael, with guidance from the trainers, was encouraged to try the same manoeuvres.
The people who deliver Whizz-Kidz's wheelchair skills training are often wheelchair users themselves. The first time that Michael's trainer, Emily, showed the kids her specially adapted car, Michael was amazed. He turned to his mum and said, "I'm going to drive one day."
Helen added, "It's also great for me, as a parent, to meet Whizz-Kidz trainers who are confident and independent adult wheelchair users. My husband and I used to think about building a house with an annex for Michael for when he got older, but now we have no fears – he will be a strong, independent and confident young person, and will be able to live like any other young adult."
Stories like these, of disabled children and young people learning new skills and developing independence and confidence, simply wouldn't be possible without the funding from the players of People's Postcode Lottery.