Charity appeals for caravan gear

Lesley Henderson and in-training autism assistance dog George outside the new static caravan at Cresswell Towers Holiday Park with trustee Ted Walton that the Toby Henderson Trust has bought for families affected by autism to use.
Lesley Henderson and in-training autism assistance dog George outside the new static caravan at Cresswell Towers Holiday Park with trustee Ted Walton that the Toby Henderson Trust has bought for families affected by autism to use.

A charity is appealing for equipment to help kit out a caravan to be used for respite breaks by families affected by autism.

The Toby Henderson Trust has provided support for children with an autistic spectrum disorder and their families for the last few years from its base near Morpeth.

And now, thanks to a £10,000 grant from Newcastle’s Willan Charitable Trust, the charity has been able to buy a static caravan at Cresswell Towers Holiday Park, so the families it helps out will soon be able to go on short breaks there.

Project director Lesley Henderson said: “We have a holiday play scheme and we have always wanted to develop that further, and the thought of some sort of break just seemed the next natural step for us.

“Some children unable to cope in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast seem to cope better in a caravan, whether or not they choose to take part in activities at the park or go down to the beach at Druridge Bay.”

It is hoped that the caravan will be able to play host to its first visitors by the week after next, but before that can happen it needs to be kitted out.

Lesley said: “Some of the bigger items have already been sorted out.

“We’ve had a freezer, cd player, dvd player, microwave and a dinner set donated, which is fantastic, but we still need a small cylinder vacuum cleaner, an under-bench gas cooker, folding garden furniture, a folding barbecue, outdoor plants, toys and simple board games.”

It is anticipated that more than 70 families will use the caravan each year.

To donate items for the caravan, call the trust on (01670) 789753.