A charity founded by a visionary, to provide pantomime outings for deprived children in Sheffield, has grown to help hundreds more youngsters and causes.
Ever since Ant Kids staged its last public event, which was a pantomime at the Lyceum Theatre in 2013, a number of new trustees and volunteers have joined the group to help propel the charity forward.
One of the new trustees, Holly-Emma Fordham, said that “hours and hours” of planning, emailing and letter writing, along with telephone calls and campaigns was behind the continuing success of Ant Kids, coupled with as many fundraising events as possible.
The businessman and philanthropist who spearheaded the charity is Anthony Hinchliffe and the entrepreneur remains committed to supporting under-privileged children and is very much involved in the group.
Efforts organised to raise cash that is used to help youngsters, or to ease difficult situations, have included auctions and raffles, staff fun days, a 14,0000 feet skydive by Holly-Emma, charity waxings, pic ‘n’ mix shops, wide distribution of collection boxes, a week of elephANT funding linked with Herd of Sheffield, bake sales, barbecues and much more...
Among those who have benefited from the proceeds and donations that have poured in are children in schools and units such as Chancet Wood Respite Unit.
Here, many youngsters are physically disabled and need floor mats to spend time on.
Their own very damaged mats were replaced and filled shoeboxes were delivered, to be opened by charity representatives with the children, while spending time with them.
Shoeboxes also went to Mulberry Lodge, where there is scant funding for such initiatives.
Rushey Meadows, a respite home, was given engraved I-pads as the one over-used tablet there was broken. Shoeboxes and presents were handed out and contact maintained.
Individuals and families have received support too. One little boy with severe cerebral palsy was bought a custom made bike by the charity to give him some independence and freedom of movement.
This allowed his parents and siblings to relax together as an added bonus.
Schools and groups in Sheffield were given footballs that were donated and one school, Nethergreen Primary, had a visit from Santa’s reindeer funded by Ant Kids after volunteers heard of the school’s plans to save towards the treat.
There is ongoing support for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The Ant Kids’ ‘Herd’ elephant stands in the head office of Ant Marketing Ltd on St Mary’s Gate.
A week of elephANT fundraising amounted to £5,000 for the hospital.
Ms Fordham added: “While Ant Kids is a Sheffield charity, we have recently donated to Great Ormond street and Leeds Transplant Centre too, as we know everyone needs a helping hand sometimes.
“Ant Kids has so much planned already for 2017 and no doubt for years to come.”