Monday, 29 February 2016

Little Hiccups February Event: Photoshoot at Leeds City Museum

This year as part of a Changing Faces exhibition in Leeds we were invited to Leeds City Museum to host a Photoshoot. Little Hiccups try to hold an annual Photoshoot anyway using X2 Photographers as they specialise in photos of children with additional needs. They have many years of experience and recognise the importance of making the session fun for the family but also relaxing so that the best possible photos are achieved. 16 families from Little Hiccups came along this year to take advantage of these fabulous photographers. As the Photoshoot this year was held in the Museum we had some extra fun. The museum very kindly allowed us to use some actual museum props in the photos - a favourite of which was the Roman shields and helmets and we got some pretty great shots with these!

Not only did the Museum allow us access to props there was also a room for waiting families to relax in where there were books to read, pictures to colour, crafts to make, and a personal favourite of my little helper for the day (my daughter) Play-doh to model. And of course, there was also the museum to explore before or after the sessions.
If you enjoyed your visit, Leeds City Museum are also asking part on Disabled Access Day on March 12th and will be offering a day of accessible exploration, with a sensory zone, museum object handling, tactile crafts and the chance to find out more about Leeds Museums and Galleries. You can find out more here

Families might also be interested in some of the Museum's Under 5's programme that is just starting. There is more infomation on our website here.

"Absolutely fantastic .... this will be the first time I have ever been able to have a professional picture of my two sons Rickie and James together.  The photographer was absolutely brilliant. Would highly rate and recommend the whole experience from the beginning to the end .... And thank you xxx"

“Just a quick one to say thanks for the brilliant photos. They are so good. I can't wait to get some up on the walls and give them to the grandparents." 


“Just wanted to drop you both a text to say how over the moon we are with these photos, you were both amazing and patient  with Darcy on Sunday and we just loved the experience. The photos are just awesome and we can't stop looking at them, can't thank you enough”

Monday, 8 February 2016

Little Hiccups - past, present and future

A few of you will remember the days back in 2009 when we used to turn up to Stay n’ Play events every fortnight in Headingley with a big bag of toys and tea and coffee. Since then we've grown somewhat. We now have approximately 150 registered families and have a large following on social media. As well as expanding our Stay n’ Play to include soft play at Swithens Farm and sensory sessions in Headingley we have also expanded into monthly Family Fun Days which are getting bigger and better all the time, an Outreach service, access to Max Cards and an annual Fundraising Ball. We've also had another major change...

So what is it?

Well...do you remember that we received two Kangoos and then it went all quiet? We haven't forgotten them and we haven't just been sitting on them. Here's what happened. The simple truth is that it turns out you guys were just amazing. We had estimated that it would take us a few years to fundraise the amount required to raise the necessary funds to purchase them. But then word got out. The conquerors raised fantastic amounts and the newspapers got a hold of our story. From there Cash for Kids at Radio Aire and a lovely man from Therma Casa heard about us too and they each DONATED us a Kangoo. This was just so heartwarming and amazing. But here's the thing...we were still a non-profit organisation. We had planned in the time it would take us to fundraise to become a legal entity so that we could safely hire out the Kangoos. The good news is that we are now a Company limited by Guarentee. This is an alternative type of corporation used primarily for non-profit organisations that require legal personality which is exactly what we needed to start hiring out the Kangoo as it protects Little Hiccups’ finances and the Trustees! And we are well on the way to becoming a Registered Charity.

So where are the Kangoos?

We had another problem. Time. Hiccups is run by a group of volunteers. Most of whom are parents who have children with additional needs themselves or who work full-time. And the year of fundraising did another thing. It raised our profile in Leeds and our rate of expansion grew exponentially. Events that used to have 12 people attend had grown to having over 100 people. Each event requires organising, advertising, booking, answering queries, finalising and sending out details then after collating the data, recording the accounts, sharing the photos and uploading to the site. And that's just a single event.

A few of you may know that I was self employed. My time on Hiccups was limited as I needed to earn a living. Every hour spent on Hiccups was an hour unpaid. Consequently, in November 2015 the Trustees made the decision to hire my company to run hiccups. This means I have more time to spend on Little Hiccups and to do what is needed. I've already made a start on all the necessary documents required to hire out Kangoos such as the Terms and Conditions, the booking out process, the Risk Assessments, etc. My plan is to have all these completed, checked and finalised by May 2016. Then we'll need some regular Hiccup families to volunteer to test the process and feedback any issues or suggestions. If you are interested in this please let me know by emailing me on info@littlehiccups.co.uk. Then they will be open to everyone!

What else is happening?

Lots! This year promises to be another big one. We're very excited to be Strata Homes Charity of 2016 which basically means the sky is the limit. We want to purchase another Kangoo so that we have one available in all sizes and we also want to provide Workshops for parents. Raising a child is a scary and exciting journey anyway. Raising a child with additional needs throws in a whole new set of factors that come with little or no guidance in how to manage them. Little Hiccups wants to change that. We want to be able to guide parents to help them learn what is available and what help and rights they have and they can receive on their journey. We want to let them know that they are not alone in this and exactly where they can go to get the support that they need.

We have other things planned too. I want to organise a Charity Fun Day during the Summer holidays and we have our annual Ball again this year (put it in your diary – November 19th!) AND we still have plans to fund a short break in cabins for several families.

Basically, watch this space!  I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us in our travels. We couldn’t do it without you guys.

If you have any questions about the above or have any suggestions about where Little Hiccups can go in the future, please email me on info@littlehiccups.co.uk



Friday, 5 February 2016

Little Hiccups January event: Wall Climbing at The Leeds Wall



Well what a start to the year! Our Hiccups children just never cease to amaze us with what they will try. We had children that were adamant that they were not going to have a go but then threw caution to the wind and conquered their fears. And thanks to all the staff at The Leeds Wall, we had children able to reach the very top using a special chair hoist. I've had a few families contact me afterwards and say that they will be taking their children back because the staff at The Leeds Wall were patience and kind and there was never any pressure. I believe that everyone achieved new personal goals. The feedback that we received from the instructors at The Leeds Wall was to say how well you all did and how impressed they were with the attitude of the kids! Gotta say - we knew that already. The way you all through yourselves into these new activities never ceases to impress.

And to top it all off, British Paralympian swimmer, Claire Cashmore, tweeted us words of encouragement! "Don't be scared to step outside your comfort zone & do something you have never done before. Finally, make sure you have fun." I think we certainly managed that!

"Just wanted to say what an amazing time Bailey and Nicole had at the climbing wall yesterday! The instructors Helen and Tony were great. So patient and understanding. They really made us feel that we had a right to be there and that the children's disability didn't matter. They really put my mind at ease and have encouraged us to return another day to have some more fun! Thanks so much."

"Thanks for today. James and Ellie had a fabulous time and plan to return in a few weeks for another go!" 

"Owen said 'I wasn't asleep, it wasn't a dream. I really did do climbing'"

"Great Little outing with the boys"

" Fantastic day out well done to the organisers"

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