Dingley’s Promise, a Berkshire charity which delivers life changing support for children under 5 with additional needs, and disabilities, held a summer garden party on Thursday 12th July in honour of their 35th anniversary year. Hosted by charity patrons, Naomi and Christopher Khoo DL, the event was held in the spectacular grounds of Sir Hugh and Lady Catherine Stevenson in Ascot. Guests attended included individual supporters and donors, those from local businesses alongside local Mayors and Councillors. They also warmly welcomed Paralympic champion Helene Raynsford, as a new patron for the charity.
During the evening guests heard from Cllr Margot Payne, Mayor of Newbury, who has recently visited the West Berkshire centre, spending time with the children and staff there. She described it as a “beautiful place… a place full of laughter for all who attend”. Chris Burnell, a parent of a child who attended Dingley’s Promise, also spoke to guests on the impact it has had on his son Spencer, who was diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and Hypermobility. Chris described how, before the family were introduced to Dingley’s Promise, they felt “completely lost and were totally reclusive”. He talked about how the charity provided the family a “shelter, and gave Spencer the nourishment he needed to flourish”. Special guest, children’s TV legend Timmy Mallet, was then on hand to cut the huge Dingley Bear shaped cake! Timmy said it had been “a real inspiration to hear of the work Dingley’s Promise does”.
The charity celebrates its anniversary having originally formed in 1983 at the Battle Hospital, Reading. In its 35 years the work of the charity has expanded to three centres across Berkshire and in 2011 they were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This prestigious UK National Honour is the MBE for groups of volunteers who work in their local community for the benefit of others. In addition to providing life changing support to children and their families, Dingley’s Promise has also recently launched an on-line training offer for mainstream settings. The Certificate in Early Years Inclusive Practice will spread their expertise much wider and support more children with special educational needs to access mainstream provision.