BBC Children In Need boost for East Surrey charity playscheme

Yippee was certainly the word when Reigate and Redhill YMCA's YIPPEE club was chosen by the BBC's Children In Need appeal for a grant of more than £50,000.

The club, which is run by the charity and provides short breaks for children with disabilities in a safe and fun environment, was recently picked by the annual BBC fundraising event for a three-year funding boost.

Reigate and Redhill YMCA will receive a Children in Need Funding Grant of £54,091.

The YIPPEE Club is run at the YMCA's Sovereign Centre in Woodhatch.

The playscheme, aimed at children aged five to 12 with a wide range of disabilities and complex needs, runs on Saturdays, after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in the school holidays. Its specialist play equipment includes a bird’s nest swing, a wheelchair accessible roundabout, bicycle track, musical instruments and a climbing frame and slide. New YMCA head of children’s services, Kristina Lastoweckyi, said: “These vital funds will contribute towards the staffing costs of our ongoing YIPPEE project, enabling our service to continue.”

Ms Lastoweckyi said: “The YIPPEE club provides short breaks for children with disabilities in a safe and fun environment, giving them the opportunity to experience activities and outings which their peers may take for granted.”

She added that the Children in Need grant will help the YMCA to keep their Children’s Services provision fresh and relevant. “Our trained and dedicated staff perform a vital role in helping the YIPPEE children develop the self-confidence and social skills that they will need in later life,” she said.

Ms Lastoweckyi, 26, who began her career with Link Leisure in Woking, a charity which provides sports, social and recreational activities for children and adults with a broad range of learning disabilities, joined the YMCA in August.

She said: “I was always interested in working within the charity sector.

“My older sister has a learning disability and I volunteered from the age of 14 with a charity who gave my family a great deal of much needed support.

“I love having a job that makes a difference to people’s lives.”

She said: “The YMCA’s work is about building brighter futures for children and young people in the local community.

“Through the money received from Children in Need, the staff will continue to do that.”

The BBC’s Children in Need event will take place this Friday (November 16).

Since 1980, the event has raised more than £600 million to help change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

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