2020 has been a strange and turbulent year for everyone, but the impact on charities has been devastating. Variety, the Children’s Charity provides vital and tangible support to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Yorkshire region of Variety has had to cancel all 2020 events and as a result has seen our fundraising drop by more than 67%. This has in turn, had a catastrophic impact on the countless children and families who rely so heavily upon Variety’s important work.

Coping with the day-to-day struggles of having a child with additional needs is taxing enough but when you add shielding, cancellation of hospital appointments and loss of support groups (to list a few), the pandemic has truly taken its toll on these families.

Every year, Variety Yorkshire takes thousands of children on a range of fun and educational days out through their Variety Great Days Out programme. The year is concluded with three festive parties, providing 1,800 severely deprived or disabled children with a truly magical experience, to include a present delivered by Santa himself. This year, not only will those children not experience the joy and fun of a seasonal party, something many of us take for granted, but without Variety’s support, they will also sadly have a Christmas without gifts.

The team at Variety Yorkshire would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has so generously donated over the past nine months as without their support, their operations would not have been able to continue. However, there are still more funds required to ensure that no child in our region misses out this festive season and so Variety is calling upon the wider Yorkshire business community for its help.

How you can help…

Variety Great Days In - £1,000
For just £1,000 your company can sponsor a surprise doorstep Christmas party for a family living in severe deprivation, to include gifts, a luxurious hamper of edible treats, Christmas carols and even personalised letters from Santa. Best of all, if Covid-19 allows, your company will be invited along to share in the magic from a socially safe distance and see exactly how your donation has made a difference! Coverage will be provided across all @VarietyNorthern social media platforms.

Christmas Present Appeal
Can you spare a present this Christmas? With your help, Variety can ensure that more children in Yorkshire wake up to gifts under the tree. It’s super simple and there are a number of options to allow you and your employees to get involved as much or as little as you like.

Christmas Jumper Day – £5 per person
Join the rest of the country on Friday 11th December and wear your best festive jumper! Whether you are working from home or in the office, get everyone to show their Christmas spirit by digging out their favourite Christmas jumper... an internal company ‘tackiest jumper’ competition is optional. Just a £5 donation per person will allow Variety to buy a Christmas gift for a child who may have been shielding since March. A great way to get the whole office involved.

Christmas E-Card - £100
Take the stress out of wishing your customers, clients and suppliers a Merry Christmas and let Variety do the hard work for you. Choose from one of their Christmas e-cards designed by a Variety Young Ambassador. This will be personalised with your company logo and a special Christmas message. A great way to thank everyone for their work throughout this crazy year whilst supporting a great cause.

Charlotte Farrington, Variety Yorkshire, Regional Development Director says,
“The past nine months have been incredibly challenging, to say the least. We are an events led organisation so we have had to adapt and completely re-think the way in which we operate in order to address our shortfall. I am personally incredibly grateful to everyone who has so generously stood behind us as we have navigated through the unknown as without their support, we would find ourselves in a very different position. I am incredibly proud to say that thanks to the donations received to date and with a lot of hard work from the Yorkshire team, we have been able to fund almost all grant requests received this year, however, our work doesn’t stop there. We continue to be inundated with applications for children who need our help now, perhaps more than ever before.

I am under no illusion that everyone is being affected by the pandemic in one way or another, however, any level of support that companies or individuals are able to offer really will have a tremendous impact to the lives of children and their families living in Yorkshire. I passionately believe in our cause and am determined to continue to find a way through this crisis and it is my hope that the Yorkshire region will continue to stand by us and aid us in our efforts.”

If you are interested in any of these fundraising activities please contact holly.abbott@variety.org.uk for further information and how Variety Yorkshire can support you.


Danny’s Story

Danny is a 4 year old boy who lives with his family in Harrogate. He has a diagnosis of Autism whilst suffering from severe speech delay, learning difficulties and a sensory processing disorder. Due to Danny’s conditions, he is both tactile and auditory avoidant which means he doesn’t like to
be touched or have loud noises around him.

Danny loves to jump on and off the trampoline, lay on his body rocker and rock side to side, either aided or with his own body weight and experience any other game that fulfills his sensory seeking needs; this is where he truly finds joy.

Mandy, Danny’s mum, explains that because he doesn’t like to be touched or have loud noises around, he has frequent moments of crisis resulting in meltdowns and the family find it difficult to soothe him in the ‘traditional’ ways, for example hugging him. Instead, Mandy use sensory equipment such as his body rocker, fish bubble tube or beanbag to create calming moments, ultimately reducing his distress. ‘Danny can be set off instantly to a loud noise in the room or sometimes even to something had happened 30 minutes ago. We have to constantly watch him to make sure we can react to his body language and cues as soon as they happen and that could help to stop his melt down. If not, this can go on for 40 minutes or more and it’s a really difficult and distressing time for us all’.

Danny’s family recognise how much he thrives when he has access to sensory toys and equipment and before the Covid-19 pandemic, Danny would, on occasion, access private sessions in sensory play rooms near the home. He would be so happy after these sessions and become really calm at home that his family knew how essential these were. Unfortunately, due to the cost, this wasn’t a permanent solution. Therefore, following recommendations from Danny’s Occupational Therapist and research by the family, sensory equipment such as a larger body rocker, trampoline, bubble column, bubble tube, light projection wheel and calming blanket was applied for and successfully funded by Variety.

Mandy has expressed the huge difference these items have made, not only to Danny but to the family as a whole. ‘Each evening, we turn on the projection wheel and bubble tube and Danny knows this is the time to start to wind down and prepare to go to bed. He brother, who also has sensory seeking needs, joins the family to enjoy the lights too. It’s unofficially family time’. Mandy can also do little jobs around the house whilst Danny is playing on his indoor trampoline. ‘The trampoline squeaks so if I hear this, I know he is safe and I can leave him for a moment to do the washing up or odd jobs that I would find difficult to complete before’.