Variety in the UK was founded in 1949 and last year celebrated sixty five years of helping to improve the lives of children from all parts of the United Kingdom who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged.
One of the most visible signs of Variety is the famous Sunshine Coaches that Tent 36 created in the 1960s. We provide Coaches for schools and organisations catering for children with special needs. Over five thousand have now been donated. Sunshine Coaches are so much more than transport. The trips the children go on enable them to explore new places and enjoy new experiences; they interact more with their local community so their social and communication skills improve, boosting their self esteem and confidence. Their education benefits too, as the Coaches take children to mainstream schools where they can access the national curriculum.
Demand for help with wheelchairs and specialist in-home equipment has grown substantially as cut- backs by national and local government have been accompanied by reduced or withdrawn public services. The Variety team in the UK takes great care to ensure the medical condition and daily needs of the child are fully understood. It means the equipment provided is tailored to each child’s specific needs. Being able to join in more at home, with friends or at school, is just one example of how a bespoke wheelchair brings so much more than independence and mobility.
Every year, Tent 36, through its Variety At Work programme, takes tens of thousands of children, including those from disadvantaged areas and those with a wide range of disabilities, on fun and educational days out. These trips are provided free of charge thanks to the support of corporate donors who provide gifts in kind. As well as being tremendous fun, these trips provide the children with lots to talk about, thus improving their inter-action with the other children and expanding their language, communication and behavioural skills.
A trip to the circus, a theme park, or the seaside is a wonderful experience for children who do not enjoy such activities that many of us take for granted; many describe it as “the best day of my life.” When we hear those words it makes the tremendously hard work of our team of staff and volunteers all worthwhile.
Caring for seriously, or even terminally ill children requires a very special form of dedication, Variety supports a number of children’s hospitals and hospices including the world famous Variety Children’s Hospital at King’s College Hospital in London. This is a centre of excellence for a number of specialities such as liver transplant, attracting patients not only from all parts of the UK but from all over the world.
Since it was first founded, Variety in the UK has enjoyed the support of celebrities from the world of entertainment and sport, many of whom regularly attend our events and Sunshine Coach presentations. It is thanks to them, our dedicated team and all our wonderful volunteers that we continue to improve the lives of children every day.
To learn more about Variety of Great Britain, click here
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