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Be inspired every day with Living North
TLC Fitness
Health and beauty
December 2020
Reading time 5 minutes

An innovative fundraiser is underway across the region to help a project for people with disabilities to take flight in the new year

Social enterprise Tailored Leisure Company (TLC) are looking for support in the development of an accessible short break and leisure service for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Recent research with over 1,000 families found 62 percent of them said they had never accessed a short break service. So now TLC are on a mission to support disabled people and their families with their Access for All campaign.

The enterprise, which is passionate about overcoming the barriers and social exclusion faced by disabled people, plans to create a one-of-a-kind short break holiday complex, called the ‘Butterfly of the North,’ which will be entirely accessible for people with disabilities in the North East – designed by disabled people, for disabled people. They're committed to developing accessible opportunities to get fit, have fun and relax with as little stress as possible.

Founder, Tara Johnson, from Whitburn, was inspired to launch the social enterprise due to her own experiences living with cerebral palsy, as well as her professional experience in the health and social care sector. ‘Our Butterfly of the North project is totally unique in the North East, with no equivalent offering available to families with disabilities,’ she says. ‘We came up with the concept of a butterfly as they are all different and have their own meaning to each of us when we see one.

'For us as a project it symbolises growth and independence, something the project will offer. We are asking our community to get behind us to make Access for All something we should all have.’

There are 14 million people living with disabilities in the UK and despite the increased pressure and strain facing disabled people as part of their daily life, they are more likely than non-disabled people to experience barriers to leisure facilities.

Sunderland BIC have worked closely with the team at TLC over the years. ‘Initiatives like this are seen as particularly important by local authorities because they add value, bring innovation and demonstrate different ways of working which compliments and improves the services they deliver themselves,’ says Kevin Marquis at Sunderland BIC.

Since the launch of the community funding drive on Just Giving, the team have already started to see donations towards the £200,000 target for this element, with £1.5 million needed cumulatively from all sources to make the project a reality. There are a range of dontion options starting from just £2, where supporters can name a butterfly at the complex, through to purchasing a VIP butterfly for £1,000.

To find out more and make a donation, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tailoredleisure 

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