Jack’s Journey

Friday, 1st September 2017 3:05 pm

As part of our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy, Playdale is committed to providing volunteer support to, and fundraising for, the local community.

Each year Playdale staff vote for three good causes that they would like to support throughout the year. Jack’s Journey is one of the good causes we have been supporting throughout 2017.

Jack Bennett is a happy, cheeky and mischievous eight-year old. However, he faces many more challenges than most other eight-year olds. Jack was less than a year old when he was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. He also suffers from Epilepsy. These are life-limiting conditions that changed the lives of his family forever. Jack’s mum Joanne had to give up work to be Jack’s full-time carer. When Jack was just six, devastation hit the Bennett family again when his dad Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  He sadly passed away less than a year later.

As a single Mum to Jack & Danny and of course Jack’s full-time carer, Joanne has no spare time at all, especially to do any home modifications and improvements. Playdale felt that this was an area where we could really offer some practical help. Over the course of the year we have organised events to fundraise for Jack’s Journey and a big part of these funds have gone towards home improvements. We then rallied Playdale staff, friends and family volunteers together to create our very own ‘DIY SOS’ team!

To kick-start our fundraising for Jack’s Journey earlier on this year, an unprecedented sum of money was raised from our most successful charity bake sale to date! It wasn’t hard to encourage our staff across our three sites, to ‘get their bake on’ as Jack’s story has touched everyone’s hearts. There was the most incredible array of sweet treats including an amazing playground themed showstopper cake made by Hannah from our sales team!

Hannah’s playground themed showstopper cake!

An incredible sum of almost £400 was raised. Joanne Bennett very kindly agreed to be our judge for the day and presented some well- earned awards!

Following this we held an Easter Egg competition, a Hot Dog lunch event, and the raffle of a luxury hamper which all raised fantastic sums of money. (See more photos in the gallery below)

The first project we agreed on was to buy and install Perfect Fit blackout blinds in Jack’s bedroom at home. Jack struggles to sleep unless his room is totally pitch black.  As soon as a glint of daylight comes through the window he is wide awake and raring to go.  It is crucial that Jack gets enough sleep as lack of it can cause a variety of problems including increasing the risk of him having a seizure. These have made a huge difference to the family already.

Next up was decorating all the bedrooms in the family home. You can see from the pictures that our fab team of volunteers did a great job and had fun at the same time! Joanne and the boys were thrilled with their new-look rooms.

The most recently finished project was a garden makeover creating a fully accessible outdoor space for Jack, Danny and Joanne to enjoy together and have that all important fresh air and space to let off steam. Synthetic grass has transformed the outdoor area into an all-year-round/ any weather space and an area of rough ground is now a beautiful accessible decked area for the family to enjoy together. Sure you’ll agree our team of amazing volunteers have done an incredible job!

Garden before…

…during…

…and after!

So many people have been involved in these projects and have given up their own time to help Jack and the Bennett family. Huge thanks, therefore, must go to:

*The painters; Emma Simpson, Candy Nicoll, Kelly Marks and Mick O’Doherty.

*The plasterer: Damian Minnican

*The decking team: Paul Clifton (Joiner) and Dave Appleby (Cumbria Home Maintenance)

*The synthetic grass installation team; Steve Parkinson (provided plant machinery), Dave Law (expert in laying synthetic grass) and Dean Warton (helped to lay the synthetic grass).

*Thanks also to Stuart Allison Construction who kindly donated some of the materials

All the volunteers agree that they have got far more out of this job than they put in and have loved every minute of it, especially getting to know Joanne and the boys…an incredibly inspirational family.  Jack and Danny had a great time watching them all hard at work and even lending a hand at times!

A big thank you too for all the generous support and donations from all Playdale staff at the fundraising events!

Jack enjoying his new-look garden

Last but by no means least, Playdale also arranged and booked a family weekend away for Joanne and the boys at the Bendrigg Trust residential activity centre which specialises in high-quality courses for disabled and disadvantaged people, of any age or ability. They had an amazing time with Joanne telling us afterwards, “Just wanted to say a massive thank you for our trip to Bendrigg Trust. We all had a fantastic time, both the boys thoroughly enjoyed joining in with all the activities and were total dare devils! Thank you so much again, it has given me some confidence to take the boys away again on my own.” 

Having fun at Bendrigg Trust

Playdale is just so pleased to be in the position to be able offer this level of help and support for this amazing family. We have more fundraising planned for the rest of the year, so watch this space!