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Fostering new paths

516. Lynn McManus

A Foster Carer from North Shields has created a specialist play centre for children with special needs and their families.

Lynn McManus developed first-hand experience of helping children with special needs as a local authority Foster Carer in North Shields. She used this experience to help hundreds of families by founding Pathways4All and opening a specialist play centre.

Lynn wanted to create a centre where children with special needs and their families could play together without some of the negative experiences they could face in general play areas. Lynn’s enthusiasm and personal commitment for this venture, has seen the concept of opening a specialist centre for children with additional needs become a reality when North Tyneside council approved her application to use abandoned buildings for the project.

Lynn then took on the mammoth challenge of fundraising £400k to build and in October 2012 opened the Tim Lamb Centre, a specialist play centre for children and young people with disabilities and their families. The centre is run entirely by a team of dedicated volunteers and includes an IT suite, creche, messy play, soft play and café and large adventure playground. As well as activities and games for the children, parents and siblings are supported through training, support groups and sibling groups.

Lynn’s dedication to helping children with additional needs has brought together a committed Board of Trustees, who agreed a constitution and formed the now registered charity Pathways 4 All. Lynn also had the crucial role in securing Denise Welch as the Patron of the Charity.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Lynn’s work over more than fifteen years has made a massive impact on the lives of hundreds of children and their families across North Shields. She is a truly inspiring volunteer who through her actions has inspired and rallied others into giving their time and money to the cause, making her a thoroughly deserving winner of the Points of Light Award”.

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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