Story By: Ulster Gazette
CELEBRATING its most successful fundraising year to date, Armagh based charity iCare officially opened the brand new state-of-the-art Forest Hideaway activity at Lisanally Special School this week.
Designed and fabricated entirely by local Armagh business and donated by iCare to Lisanally, the Forest Hideaway is a bright, vibrant and exciting activity centre that encourages the children to play, have fun and be inspired – outside the classroom where they are free to have adventures.
The school has been overwhelmed by the local charity’s generosity and have described the new play area as a facility which will be enjoyed by the pupils for many years.
Sandra Flynn Principal at Lisanally Special School said, “We cannot thank iCare enough for its generosity in fundraising for and donating this beautiful piece to our school and children.
“The children and staff have been so excited for the official launch and I know we will enjoy the activity centre for years to come.”
Based in Armagh, iCare is the dedicated employee-led charity of Homecare Independent Living. Founded in 2010 by a group of Homecare employees, the charity celebrates the power of people and delivering acts of kindness in local communities.
At the heart of iCare is the belief that people have the power to make a real difference to the lives of others in either a personal or practical way.
Following successful fundraising events in the first three years, including Santa’s Gatelodge, the 17 night, 300 volunteer strong, Christmas extravaganza – the committee decided to expand the charity and its offering and so the iCare Wishes Initiative was born.
Any member of the public or any Homecare Independent employee can nominate a family, individual, group or club to receive an iCare Wish – this can be something as complex as a piece of expensive medical equipment or technology or something as simple as a family photo shoot or cherry blossom tree for a garden.
The iCare committee was approached with the idea of granting an iCare Wish for Lisanally Special School to create a new purpose built outdoor activity centre for Key Stage 2 pupils.
The committee immediately embraced the idea and put plans into place around our fundraising efforts to ensure they could deliver a fantastic activity centre, working closely with Armagh based fabricators and designers, and Ms. Flynn the school principal to ensure they created the perfect concept and vision.
“We were surprised and extremely thankful to have been nominated for an iCare Wish and had no idea how closely involved we would be in the vision and design of the Forest Hideaway,” said Sandra.
Speaking at the official launch of the Forest Hideaway, Janine Smalls, one of iCare’s founding members said, “The whole theme of the Forest Hideaway was inspired by a Peter Pan quote – ‘Think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings’.
“We wanted to create an environment that inspired, excited and encouraged the children to play and imagine.
“We are thrilled with the final piece and so proud that iCare could donate the Forest Hideaway to Lisanally, making a real difference to the school, where children will play and have fun for years to come.
“iCare is a registered charity based in the Gatelodge in Milford, led entirely by volunteers. 100% of all proceeds raised goes straight to the charity, there are no associated administrative costs.