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Middle aged men in lycra get on their bikes for Buddy Up programme

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A group of “middle aged men in lycra” got on their bikes to help raise funds as a thank you for support a family received from Warrington Youth Club’s Buddy up programme.

The parents of one of the youth club’s members, Niamh Sennett, were so overwhelmed by the support their daughter received from Onside Warrington Youth Club’s Buddy up Programme her father Neil and a number of his MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) friends decided to cycle 170 miles over three days.

They completed a coast to coast from Morecambe to Scarborough earlier this month so far raising more than £1,800 to support the youth club, enabling other children like Niamh to get help they desperately need to flourish socially.

Alarmingly 10% of children aged 6-16 will be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Children, like Niamh, face unequal chances in their lives. Niamh was 7 (now 11) when diagnosed with ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Until four years ago, Neil and Andrea had no real understanding of how significantly overwhelming the impact of a mental health condition can have; not just on the child themselves, but on the whole family.

Andrea ommented: “Over the last four years we have had such an eye opening experience in realising just how little support there is for children with mental health conditions. It has also made us realise, that without all the charities, there would really be no support at all. As a family, we have only survived because of these extended services and they have been so critical to us.”

Children with ADHD and ASD struggle with their hidden disabilities in every element of their day. In so many cases the challenges are heavily associated with social interactions; struggling to understand social boundaries, impulsivity and navigating even the simplest of situations.

The Buddy Up project aims to offer young people with disabilities in our local area a ‘Buddy’ who they can try social activities with, attend a youth group where they are accepted and give these children the opportunity to access situations they would not typically have been able to reach. The Buddy has been fully trained to help children with these disabilities. The Youth club also run family film nights & holiday clubs which enable these children to enjoy mainstream activities in a relevant environment. This is a phenomenal programme and one which has made such a difference to so many children.

Lyndsay Darlison, Business Manager, said “As a registered charity we are not guaranteed funding and rely on supporters and fundraising. I am immensely grateful that Andrea, Neil and Neil’s cycling partners have chosen to do this challenge on our behalf.”

Donations can still be made online here https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NeilSennett

The ‘Coast to Coast team …the three Neils, Greg, Kurt, Mike, Tim and Phil

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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