How it all began
Gordon and Ann Parris were Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Surrey Heath from May 1995 to May 1996 and founded the charity with the help from their friends, many of whom went on to become committee members.
The inspiration for forming of the charity was our much loved Nick Ivil, who has Downs Syndrome and is the son of Chris and Shirley Ivil. Chris is the Chairman of the charity and Shirley is our Administrator for mobile homes. Nick is still very much involved with the charity and regularly attends cheque presentations and fund raising functions. Nick is still truly an inspiration to us all.
The focal aim of the charity is to provide help to local children with special needs, and to support their families, schools and clubs. We aim to avoid the cumbersome red tape and administration of other charities and organisations by identifying a need and where possible offering a quick and positive response. We are small enough to be personal but big enough to be effective. We are genuinely flexible and can provide significant and lasting financial or material help through our many connections and the superb support of our patrons, benefactors and the tireless work of our committee members.
‘Special needs’ can mean a child with a disability or a very special talent that would not be fulfilled without help. We are very conscious that we must also include exceptionally talented children in our definition of “special needs” and always try to keep a varied cross-section of recipients. None of us realised at the start how great the need is. The Home Counties are far from the leafy urban suburbs the media would have us believe and many families with special needs children are struggling to cope and feel they have no one to turn to.
When we initially met in 1995 a rapport was established that brought an enthusiasm to every fund-raising event. Close friendships were formed that last to this day, and what initially started as a charity to run during Gordon and Ann’s Mayoral year is still growing stronger day by day.
Our aim has always been to ‘put a smile on tomorrow, today’ and 20 years and millions of pounds on we remain true to that ethos.