Alpacas, water fights and dinosaurs: Epic summer for special needs children

Kaan Torunogullari and James Standard enjoying a day out through Twinkle's SEN Activity Days CIC over the summer

Kaan Torunogullari and James Standard enjoying a day out through Twinkle's SEN Activity Days CIC over the summer - Credit: Contributed

Dozens of children have enjoyed an action-packed summer to help boost their confidence.

Walking alpacas, a water fight in the park, country fair and a dinosaur-themed night were among the small group activities run by Norwich-based Twinkle's SEN Activity Days CIC. 

Phoebe Leggett with an alpaca on a Twinkle's day out 

Phoebe Leggett with an alpaca on a Twinkle's day out - Credit: Contributed

A total of 11 activity days took place over the summer for 110 children with special educational needs from around the region with the Dinosaur Park, Earlham Park, Sotterley Country Fair and Wells beach among the destinations. 

Brooke, the mini SEN make-up artist and young carer

Brooke, the mini SEN make-up artist and young carer - Credit: Contributed

The group is run entirely by volunteer families and founder Ingrid Henry, whose son Kaan has autism and ADHD.

Twinkle's meets once a month.

Ingrid said parents find comfort in the fact their children will not be judged if a child does happen to "have a meltdown or does not conform with what is going on". 

Ingrid added: "The days give special needs children and their families the confidence to come out and take part in small groups in activity in a safe calm relaxed atmosphere.

"It is a day where children can feel safe with other families who just get it and understand the struggles of a family with a special needs child." 

Generous support from further afield also keeps the group going.

Most Read

Twinkle's received a further helping hand from the Tesco's store in Great Yarmouth where £545 was raised through staff wearing colourful clothing for the day. 

Tesco staff Cheryl Hall and Cherri Yallop present the Twinkle's cheque to Kaan Torunogullari and Frankie Callingham

Tesco staff Cheryl Hall and Cherri Yallop present the Twinkle's cheque to Kaan Torunogullari and Frankie Callingham - Credit: Contributed

A summer raffle was also held with all funds going towards further children's activities.

The group was invited to the store to pick up the cheque with the children able to pick out sweet treats for upcoming events.

Ms Henry said this store visit gave the children a little bit of independence and boosted their confidence to be able to enter a supermarket.

Parents, volunteers and children enjoying a Twinkle's SEN Activity Days CIC 

Parents, volunteers and children enjoying a Twinkle's SEN Activity Days CIC - Credit: Contributed

Ingrid added: "Over the summer months Tesco has contributed with beach toys, buckets and spades, bubble machines, kites, drinks and snacks for all the children to enjoy during our summertime activities." 

Sailing fun for special needs children on the water 

Sailing fun for special needs children on the water - Credit: Contributed

Twinkle's is a small group from Norwich but it offers activities for children across Norfolk.

Enjoying a water fight in Earlham Park on a Twinkle's day out

Enjoying a water fight in Earlham Park on a Twinkle's day out - Credit: Contributed

For more information on the group and its activities, search Twinkle’s SEN Activity Days CIC on Facebook or email twinklessen@yahoo.com.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter