Thursday, 16 November 2017

Meeting the donkeys!



We've done a lot of activities lately that encapsulate our #NoLimits theme so sometimes its nice just to slow down and smell the hay. This event was aimed a little more at the smaller members of Little Hiccups who are not quite old enough to join us on the bigger events such as skiing or at water sports.


During the half term holidays in October we went to visit the Donkey Sanctuary in Adel.  The Donkey Sanctuary is also a charity that offers donkey assisted interaction to children with additional needs. Because who doesn't love a donkey! 







x




"Donkeys have a unique presence, a zen-like grounded quality. We’re using their abilities as sentient facilitators and encouraging them to be an equal partner in the session." Caron Whaley, Director of Donkey Assisted Therapy.
Initially, the programme involved riding therapy for children with additional needs but over the past four decades it has evolved to cater for users with emotional and cognitive needs as well as physical. As a consequence we are developing a new model focusing on self-esteem, coping mechanisms, conflict management, empathy and many other skills.
Children with physical, social and behavioural difficulties gain confidence, improved life skills and a sense of achievement from the programme. And the donkeys – many of whom have been rescued from a life of neglect, mistreatment or abandonment – gain a new and rewarding life engaging with lots of people.
Our children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves on the day and get a lot out of meeting the donkeys and we got some beautiful smiles from them all. The children got a 20 minute ride on the donkeys where they also played some hand eye coordination games like putting a toy bird in its nest. Children that were waiting to go on the donkeys were also invited to play outside in the play area or in the Sensory room. And as it was close to Halloween we also jazzed up the event with spooky fancy dress for a bit of fun. We had some fantastic looking costumes scaring everyone but fortunately the donkeys all took it in their stride!  

We were also honoured that one of our regulars, Callum decided to join us on his birthday. We hoped that he had a fantastic day and that he enjoyed his cake! Happy Birthday Callum!
As well as visiting the donkeys we also held a cake bake to raise funds for Cash for Kids.  Cash for Kids is also a Charity and their goal is to respond to the needs of children in the communities so they can live life to the full and realise their individual potential. Every Christmas they run Mission Christmas where they collect gifts for disadvantaged children. For the past few years, they have contributed towards the Little Hiccups Christmas party and with their donations they've helped make it a party to remember and helped create so  many special memories for many special children.

Little Hiccups is pleased to announce that the bake sale raised a fantastic £119 which Little Hiccups is matching. A massive thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to such a fabulous cause. It was hard work eating those cakes but I suppose someone had to do it!
"Thank you Little Hiccups for your trip to the Leeds Donkey Sanctuary (Halloween style), yesterday, as it was another "great" trip, and Nathan absolutely "loved it! And the donkeys lol! And Nathan looked like he was someone from to the manor born, with his fancy dress and his riding helmet on lol!"

"Thank you again so much. I can't believe how much Callum loved been on the donkeys and I was super worried. 100% going again. We had a lovely morning."
"We had a fab morning with the donkeys. Thank you so much x"

"Thanks a lot guys was a lovely morning x"

"Thank you once again little hiccups for a lovely morning at the donkey sanctuary xxxxxxxx"



Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Its a slippery slope...



This is definitely one of our benchmark trips for our #NoLimits motto. The skiing trips are renowned in Little Hiccups and  talked about constantly. Its just so groundbreaking that our Little Hiccups children - ANY of our Little Hiccups children, regardless of ability, can experience the thrill and
sensations of skiing.


I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said that we required a lot of patience and flexibility on the day for a number of reasons. But I can honestly say that the ski instructors didn't just raise to the challenge - they exceeded it. Something that was commented on by so many families on the day - the feedback always included just how lovely everyone was! And it was this professionalism that really made the day as special as it was. It was understandably a bit much for some of the children as the enclosing sensations of the tight boots, heavy skis or wearing winter clothes took them out of their comfort zone. Sometimes they were persuaded to give it a try - other times it just wasn't happening. It was in these cases in particular that we learnt how good Disability Snowsport were. There was no pressure to perform and no demands on time. It was relaxed and easy going. Children were encouraged but not pressured and I think because of this attitude we had more success than we would have otherwise. Families were also invited back to give it another try if it wasn't successful this time. Something I personally loved as the instructors will be doing this in their own time (so a BIG shout out from me too!)

And of course who could forget the Sitskis and the faces of the children who got to go in one of these.  If you have not heard of a Sitski it is exactly what it sounds like. They are ski's where the children get to sit down and they are taken down the snow slope by one of the instructors. Its SnoZone that owns the Sitskis and they are available for anyone who has a sensory, cognitive or physical impairment. Snozone's aim is to make Snowsports accessible and inclusive for everyone. And that is definitely something Little Hiccups can get behind!

The rest of us were on the beginners slope and that was immense fun in itself as we shuffled up the hill in skis and tried not to fall over. Something that was ultimately inevitable. It was definitely more interesting when skis were tangled with other skis and at least two ended up in an untidy pile in the snow. But it all adds to the fun at least! Eventually I may even get better than sliding down 10 feet with my eyes closed.

We've had lots of positive feedback and we really enjoyed our time on the slope and I think we'll be back very soon with many more families wanting to boast #NoLimits.

"Thanks for a brilliant morning skiing ..The kids did brill but omg it's been 31yrs since I've side stepped up a slope n me legs are feeling it lol xxx"

"Thank you so much for today's event! We have never been skiing before and I have to say they loved it! Oliver really enjoyed it and the staff were amazing."


"What a day. Thank you so much xx"
"Thank you so much for a great time .. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing Oliver hurtling down that slope laughing his head off signing 'more'. William amazed me too from start to finish .. He too honestly does things with Little Hiccups he would never usually have the confidence to do."
"Thanks Little Hiccups for an amazing day out with the kids. We had so much fun. The staff at Chill Factore and Disability snow sport were so helpful with my eldest daughter who had problems with her snow boots. Thanks again for the experience and a memory we could never forget."
"We had an awesome time as always! Thank you so much x"
"Thank you Barney loved it. despite us getting lost on the way and arriving extremely late they instructors were incredibly helpful and patient. Xx"

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Afternoon Tea anyone?

Children's Tea Party at Iveridge Hall




Every year as you know we hold a Ball for the adults. We had a few requests to do something similar for the children so this year we hosted a Children's Afternoon Tea Party! This was held in the gorgeous gardens of Iveridge Hall in Oulton and as we were nestled in a small orchard in an enclosed and private garden, it really was the perfect back drop to our afternoon.

Food was provided by the Yorkshire Sweet Cafe with a delicious menu planned. They normally turn up with a caravan but unfortunately already had another event planned on that day. It didn't stop them from turning up with LOTS of delicious food and decorations for the party. As well as a variety of sandwiches and homemade quiches and sausage rolls you had the most salivating cakes and scones to pick from. All lovingly displayed on china plates.

We also had Sam from Flamingo Chicks there to entertain the children. Flamingo Chicks is a dance company that provides an inclusive community giving children with disabilities and illnesses such as cancer the opportunity to enjoy ballet alongside their friends. They actively celebrate what our children CAN do rather than what they cannot.

The Garden Party was also an opportunity to run a raffle to fundraise in memory of two Little Hiccups Children - Aimee and Orla. It was also the memories of these children that inspired the decorating theme for the Garden Party - purple/yellow and butterflies. The money raised on the day will be going to the charities Dravet Syndrome UK and Leeds Mencap. They will always be missed and remembered. We'd like to say thank you to the families of both children that came to support the event.

"Thank u all for a lovely afternoon. Was a gorgeous tea party at Iveridge Hall. We had a lovely time."

"Had a lovely afternoon tea with Little Hiccups and with fond memories of two beautiful little girls. 💛💜 Too much cake and sugar caused shenanigans on the car journey home" 

"Thank you so much little hiccups for such a perfect relaxed day truly wonderful kids loved it, food was wonderful n I'm road testing my coffee cup I've been waiting ages to get my hands on one . Hopefully this can become an annual event xxxxxxxxx"

"Having a beautiful day. Thank you so so much. Xx"

Links: Iveridge Hall / Flamingo Chicks / Yorkshire Sweet Cafe (Facebook link)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Throwing the families in at the deep end...

Our event on the water at Yeadon Tarn was I believe, one of our groundbreaking events. We had a number of children trying something that they have never tried before. Little Hiccups believes in No Limits and making sure we fulfil this motto is important to us. We strive to challenge the children to learn what they can achieve - and of course to have a LOT of fun in the process!

The idea of going on a boat was challenging to some but after a lot of consulting with the sailing team at Yeadon Tarn we decided that this was a must for us to try. It wasn't for everyone - one of the children in particular was not impressed by the boating - but the point is that he tried! And he did it. He achieved something that day and we're proud of every single one of the children that were there that day.

We had a couple of new families at this event. It seems that there is nothing like throwing people in the deep end! (Pun intended - groan, yeah I know - sorry!) And one of my favourite things about the day has to be the friendships that were formed in those few hours together. A few of the children really melded with each other and a couple of friendships were created, with phone numbers being swapped. If that isn't a success I don't know what is. Little Hiccups is ultimately about families supporting each other and this day was a true testament to that.

The team at Yeadon Tarn gave us a go on the rafting canoe, bellboats and the Wayfarer. Even Jack who needed full support on the boat managed a sail in the Wayfairer as there is a sling available to hoist him into the boat. He was made comfortable in a beanbag and off they went. Jack, I was told, absolutely loved it. His mum - not so sure as they managed to get some speed up!

For those taking a turn off the water there was a chance to have a go at caving. I unfortunately didn't get any photos of that but I heard a lot of raving reviews from the children heading in and out. The caving experience at Yeadon Tarn is a man-made cave with a ball pool in. Pretty exciting stuff!

The surroundings were also beautiful and as we were so close to the airport we were treated to planes landing and taking off periodically - which is always exciting.

"Just wanted to say what another successful day it was today at Yeadon Tarn. Really enjoyed it. Even though Bailey wasn't a happy bunny today we are thrilled that he got to try something he's never done before!!" 

"Thanks for an awesome day!"

"Thanks for a great day"

"We all survived. What an awesome morning." 

Link: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/Pages/Yeadon-Tarnfield-Park.aspx

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Private Showing of Boss Baby at Showcase Cinema



We visit the cinema at least one a year for a relaxed viewing of a movie. What does this include? Well for starters, we hire out an entire cinema screen just for Little Hiccups families. And the showings are first thing in the morning so it's nice and quiet when everyone arrives. It's a relaxed viewings so kids can be themselves without parents worrying about disturbing other spectators. In a Hiccups viewing we often have feed pumps going, kids in frames zipping around and kids singing along. As long as it's safe, anything goes! We also make sure that the movie is family friendly (so a U rating). In this instance we opted to see Boss Baby. The showing also has subtitles and audio descriptions should they be needed and the lights are left on low throughout so the cinema is not completely black (which is important for the more active children!)

Boss Baby is a heartwarming story about a new baby's arrival and how it impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator -- a wildly imaginative 7-year-old named Tim. The most unusual Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim's home in a taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. The instant sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret mission, and only he can help thwart a dastardly plot that involves an epic battle between puppies and babies

A cinema trip is not a cinema trip without a treat however. So when families book tickets they also receive popcorn and a drink. And just because we love you all and fully appreciate how important caffeine is, Little Hiccups paid for the coffees from the Costa Coffee stall too.

It is a regular event simply because it is trips like these that families sometimes feel they cannot do. Maybe it's because their child can get overstimulated in crowded places. Or maybe it's because their child likes to yell out (and who hasn't had that thought sometimes at the cinema!) but we know that everyone is in the same situation so it really doesn't matter at one of our events! We hope we offer companionship and familiarity.

"Just wanted to say thank you again for organising the event yesterday, the children loved it."

Website: Showcase Cinema

Little Hiccups is 8!

Little Hiccups is 8!





Our 3rd Birthday - 5 years ago!
Linsay shared an old photo of Little Hiccups 3rd Birthday recently and it struck me just how much we've grown. Back then our main service was Stay n Play based in a small community centre and our cake much smaller! We've certainly found a a demand in the last few years and our numbers have grown year on year. This year we had approximately 130 people helping us celebrate and an exciting birthday party to entertain everyone. 


We returned to the Royal Armouries and due to the increase in numbers have now been moved to the larger downstairs suite where there is a lot more space for the children to explore as well as being easier to access. The Armouries also had two tables out with Lego and colouring on to help entertain the children. Each of the tables were also beautifully decorated by balloons from our regular balloon lady, Celebration Balloons and we had a very interesting display at the entrance way as well to show the families were to come in. I did try to persuade one of our family's to take one of these home but was very politely refused for some reason!

Shabang! returned for their second time for a Hiccups birthday with Rag and Bones for some clamorous fun. A lot of pots, pans and noise was involved! The kids all joined in with much enthusiasm with the show and certainly contributed with the noise levels. A good time was had by all!

Reggie Rag and Betty Bones it turns out were also friends with Bert the chimney sweep and Mary Poppins and they had invited Mary Poppins down for a visit. After the show, the families all settled down for a meal at their tables and Mary Poppins visited the tables before inviting the children onto the dance floor for some games, chalk drawings and singing.


Happy Birthday Emily!
Everyone at Little Hiccups is truly honoured that so many people came to join us for our celebrations - especially Emily as it was also her birthday and we are incredibly pleased that she spent it with us! Hope it was a fab day for you too gorgeous girl!

"Loved it. Great company ❤ xxx"

"You certainly know how to party. Thank you. As always it was amazing xx"

"Happy 8th birthday little hiccups I think everyone enjoyed themselves today lol xxxxxx"

"Happy birthday! And here's to many happy returns. Xxx"

"Thank you so much for such an amazing afternoon. Happy birthday xxx"

"Thanks for having us. Was a lovely party. So grateful for little hiccups.❤ xxx"

"What a brilliant fun party kids had a blast. Thank you so much xx"

"Thankyou for an awesome day. Loves it so much. Especially Mary Poppins 😁 xx"

"Kids had a great time thank you xxx"

"Fab afternoon thank you"

"Your parties get better every year xx"

"Thanks Little Hiccups for such a lovely birthday party yesterday at the Royal Armouries, and Nathan "even managed" to sit down for a few seconds to have his photo taken with Mary Poppins lol!"

"Happy 8th birthday Little Hiccups! You deserve all of your celebrations and more, as you have got so much to look forward to in the future! You should be all so proud of yourselves."

Links

Friday, 19 May 2017

A sensory event

Despite the fact that I managed to book this event on the same day as the Leeds Half Marathon and the venue was slap bang in the middle of the run, it was a very nice day!

Sensory Space Leeds is a new Sensory room based in Burley. There were two Sensory Rooms. One was designed to stimulate and assist in the development of young children, babies and individuals with additional needs. There were twinkling fibre optic lights and a touchy feely sensory box. My 6 month old daughter in particular loved the bubble tube whilst she relaxed on the cushioned beanie that surrounded it For the more agile, there was a large ball pool with obstacle course and caterpillar bumps. For the slightly older there was a book and toy corners with carefully selected sensory toys and books.

The second room was a UV Active Room. In here there was a swing and a slide. This room was back lit by ultraviolet lights. We also spent a bit of time in here next to the fibre optic lights corner. The hammock swing was particularly popular.

There was also a nursing room which Little Hiccups used as a Relax Room as it was decorated in cool blue and you can relax in a comfy rocking chair whilst you watch the twinkling star ceiling lights. Soothing music also adds to the calming effect of this room.

Little Hiccups also provided a lunch which proved popular and we all had a very warm welcome by the owner, Sophia, with a choice of drinks. It was a nice chilled event and gave families the opportunity to chat to one another in a more relaxing environment!

Website: http://www.sensoryspaceleeds.co.uk