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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org