I had always been resistant to donating to multi-charity events. I had no guarantee that my money would be going to a cause or organisation that I supported, so I tended to keep my hand in my pocket. Any fundraising I’d done in the last few years went to the National Autistic Society (http://www.autism.org.uk)
But that has changed a bit. I hadn’t really though we would benefit from events like that. But a couple of months ago, Jane & I both received an the monthly newsletter email from the local NAS branch. It mentioned a dancing class for special needs kids run by Aberdeenshire special needs support group SCILL (http://www.scill-deeside.co.uk/home) Now, as Matthew did scottish country dancing after school once a week, it was of interest. Daniel was keen, but it was only P3 and above.
Naturally, cost is always an issue with these sort of activities, but SCILL had received funding from Comic Relief, meaning that the cost to us was half of what it would ordinarily have been. Its been a big benefit for the boys. They both love the Saturday morning dancing ( https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/dancing-kings/) at the Deeside Dance Centre (http://www.deesidedancecentre.co.uk/) out at Banchory. Its a terrific way of them getting exercise and working out frustrations.
It had never occurred to me that we would see any benefit from Comic Relief. It seemed a way for comics and others to perhaps revive flagging careers. But so many vulnerable groups are seeing real benefits from it. Its making a real difference to many people. The NAS is high profile, and it needs people to continue fundraising directly for the fantastic support and advice services it provides, but there are many organisations out there that find it harder to raise funds for the equally important services the provide to the autism community.
Red Nose Day now seems a big day on the cultural calendar, but its also a reminder that despite the motives of some involved, the organisers hearts are definitely in the right place. In a time where our budgets are being squeezed, and government help for the vulnerable is being hit, its vital that those on the autism spectrum can access services that can help them. Now I’ve seen the benefits from Comic Relief (http://www.rednoseday.com/), I’ll definitely be supporting it. Maybe then, others will see the real benefits, just as we have.