A BOOK appeal launched to support local people with learning disabilities has been given a bumper boost thanks to the red-hot fundraising efforts of bank staff from Solihull and Birmingham.
A team of 10 from Santander – including Solihull branch director Tracey Bantock – completed a daring charity firewalk back in October, raising money for Heart of England Mencap.
The charity works across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, supporting people with learning disabilities, including Mrs Bantock’s son.
Some 57 people completed the firewalk on the night – undergoing two hours in training before stepping up to conquer the coals – everyone managing the seemingly impossible feat.
The event raised a huge £12,000 – with £4,000 of that coming from the Solihull Santander team, supported by match-funding from the bank.
And the money raised is already making a difference.
It has enabled the start of an Accessible Book Club, funding the purchase of Books Beyond Words – a series of picture books specially designed for people with learning disabilities.
The books – and accompanying iPad apps – will be available in all of Heart of England Mencap’s services across the two counties, where more than 200 customers are supported.
“The books are picture stories, perfect for adults with a learning disability who prefer to read using pictures rather than words,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said.
“Some are fictional books while others illustrate scenarios and issues our customers may face, like a trip to the hospital – opening up the communication channels and building understanding.
“We can’t thank the team from Santander enough for their support – our firewalk was a huge fundraiser for us and the amount they raised was phenomenal. It will have an impact on so many local lives.”
Mrs Bantock and another of the firewalkers – Claire Butler, regional manager for Santander, paid a visit to Heart of England Mencap’s head office in Stratford last week to see the books being enjoyed.
“The firewalk was an extraordinary experience – and to see the difference our taking part and fundraising has made is really special. These books will support so many people, improving their life skills, and we are thrilled to have played a part in that.”
If you want to support Heart of England Mencap’s book appeal – go to www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk/donate or text MECP12 £10 (or whatever you can afford) to 70070.