Wigan school staff take on 300km challenge to help special youngsters

Two members of staff at a special high school are putting in the distance to raise money for a cause close to their pupils’ hearts.
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Pastoral manager Natalie Schofield and office manager Lauren Hunt wanted to do something to help Brighter Dayz, a respite centre in Wigan for youngsters with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

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They saw how much pupils enjoyed going there and the difference it made for them and their families.

Getting in the miles during a walk at RivingtonGetting in the miles during a walk at Rivington
Getting in the miles during a walk at Rivington
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Natalie said: “Lots of my learners attend and do nothing but talk about it in school. We were thinking of who we could raise money for and it was the first place we thought of.”

They decided to take on the challenge of running or walking 250km in total during January and asked people to sponsor them in aid of the charity.

But within just a few days it was clear they would soon surpass the target, so decided to increase it to 300km.

Natalie said: “We have exceeded that because I have been doing 5k runs and Lauren has done a lot of walking. We have been quite active.”

Fund-raisers Lauren Hunt and Natalie SchofieldFund-raisers Lauren Hunt and Natalie Schofield
Fund-raisers Lauren Hunt and Natalie Schofield
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The pair have enjoyed getting in their steps and are going out as much as they can, including spending five and a half hours walking at Rivington and Winter Hill.

They have the support of the pupils, who ask how far they have walked or run each day and tell their families about the challenge.

Natalie and Lauren had hoped to raise £200 for Brighter Dayz, but have received so much support that they have already exceeded £500.

Knowing where the money is going and the difference it will make is helping to spur them on.

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Natalie said: “The children will come into school and say they have told their nan about it or another relative. They want us to do well and they know where the money is going. We want to keep the centre open and improve what is already amazing.”

Brighter Dayz, in Goose Green, was created by a team of parents and former staff members from Hop, Skip and Jump in Wigan, who were devastated when it shut in March 2020. It opened in August and has a host of facilities for youngsters with additional needs, including a sensory room, an art room, a main room with sensory play equipment, a reading corner and a room where teenagers can relax, watch television and play computer games.

Last month, Emma Eastham, who is the director and office manager, appealed for individuals and businesses in Wigan to show their support, perhaps by fund-raising or donating, to help the centre grow and offer more vital facilities.

To sponsor Natalie and Lauren, visit gofund.me/773c683b

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