‘Amazing’ special needs centre chosen for donation

Catherine Mackenzie, trustee of The David Hunt Trust, presents a cheque for �5,700 to The Lavina Norfolk Centre

Catherine Mackenzie, trustee of The David Hunt Trust, presents a cheque for �5,700 to The Lavina Norfolk Centre

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The Lavina Norfolk Centre at The Angmering School has benefited from a trust fund set up by a retired businessman.

The David Hunt Trust was set up with £100,000 to help local charities.

Having seen the work of the centre –a specialist support facility for students with a physical, medical or sensory impairment – David Hunt and his partner Catherine Mackenzie offered a donation of £5,000.

Mark Andrews, head of learning support, gave them a list of items they might like to pay for and in the end, they chose several adding up to £5,700.

Catherine, a trustee, said: “The school, we think, badly needs more publicity. We have had a house in the area for 17 years and have only just become aware of it.

“It is an amazing place doing a much-needed job in the community and needs local people to be more aware and perhaps give them more support.”

The couple moved to East Preston from Surrey a few years ago, having had a seaside holiday home in the village for 12 years.

They recently became aware that two of their friends had children at the special unit and offered the donation.

Catherine added: “This lead to Mr Andrews contacting us and inviting us to have a tour of the school. We were very impressed with the facilities and the lovely natured, happy children.

“Instead of just donating the money, which would be lost in a larger pot, we asked Mr Andrews for a wish list.”

Mr Andrews described his students as ‘totally awe-inspiring in addition to having very challenging physical and sensory needs’.

The items chosen by the trust were:-

Transport to The Stoke Mandeville National Games for 25 physical disabled students each September, for two years (£5,000). The students compete at a national level, with high achievers going on to join the British Paralympics training squads, in their different sports, including boccia, wheelchair table-tennis, football and shooting.

A £200 testing machine for deaf students, so staff can test their hearing aids work properly.

Two £100 sets of ear defenders for visually-impaired students, so they can concentrate when they get a sensory overload in certain louder classrooms, like music and drama.

Books costing £100 on Kindle for visually-impaired students to be able to read, as the font can easily be enlarged.

A £200 dictaphone so visually-impaired students can record and remember, helping them with note making and recording homework in the classroom.

Catherine hopes the trust donation will prompt others to come forward to fund the other items suggested by Mr Andrews.

These are:-

A £3,500 sports wheelchair for a student to compete at county and national level. Mr Andrews said: “They are so expensive because they are very light, they are purpose built and it’s a niche market.”

Four sets of boccia balls, costing £1,200, for para athletics and wheelchair users.

Two portable wheelchair hockey goals and some replacement hockey sticks, costing £400 in total.

Specially-designed VI Boccia grids costing £200. Mr Andrews explained: “These are built to bring boccia to VI players, something as a school we are developing in the local community.”

A sensory area for autistic students, which would cost £1,000 to create. Mr Andrews said: “We have a safe, quiet room for students on the autistic spectrum to go to. We intend to put some soft seating and lighting in it and repaint.”

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