Havant preschool launches raffle fundraiser to help girl with cerebral palsy play independently in new garden

A COMMUNITY has rallied to support a preschool’s campaign to help a young girl with cerebral palsy play independently.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 7:00 am

Three-year-old Priya Pattinson is the inspiration behind a fundraising drive by St Clare’s Preschool in Warren Park to improve its garden area for the children.

Priya was born with cerebral palsy and cannot stand or walk unaided, using a walking frame to get around.

To spend time in the garden, Priya cannot take her walking frame due to the sloping ground so she is completely dependent on help from her one-to-one staff member Steph Smith.

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Priya Pattinson, 3, at the front of her school. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Gail Young-Evans, preschool manager, said: ‘Priya needs to be able to have the same experiences and fun as other children and not be restricted.

‘Children are only with us for a couple of years so it would be nice for her to have the best experience while she’s here.

‘We have got an established reputation for supporting children with additional needs and disabilities. We feel it’s really important that any child can come to us and have the same opportunities.

‘We do go above and beyond because we feel they have got the right to do everything everybody else does.’

The garden of St Clare's Pre School in Warren Park, Havant . Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Led by Steph, a fundraising campaign is set to raise thousands of pounds to level the garden in time for summer and ensure equal access for all the children including Priya.

Gail added: ‘If we were able to raise enough funds to even level a proportion of the garden, that would be an area she could go and play independently.

‘It’s just to give her that independence and with the summer coming we thought it would be nice.’

Around £5,000 will be needed to completely transform the garden, and Steph is kicking off the efforts with a raffle which has seen amazing support from the community.

Toni-Marie Hampton, Priya’s mum, said: ‘She is a very determined little girl with so much potential and I would love for her to enjoy the garden with her friends.

‘This project will make a massive difference to Priya and all of the other children at St Clare’s.

‘I can’t thank St Clare’s Preschool enough, especially Steph. She goes above and beyond every day to care for my daughter at nursery.

‘Steph puts 100 per cent into everything she does! It would be amazing to see her achieve her goal and get the garden finished ready for the summer.’

The raffle will take place on March 30, and scores of prizes have been donated including beauty services, afternoon tea boxes and holiday vouchers.

Gail hopes to get work started on the garden during the Easter holidays, after which time the second phase of fundraising will begin with a sponsored walk involving the children.

She said: ‘We have had an amazing response so far and we have been a bit overwhelmed by it.

‘It’s just huge, it’s absolutely incredible. We thought we’d be given a couple of Easter eggs, it’s just been overwhelming.’

To buy raffle tickets or find out more about donating, email [email protected] or phone (023) 9247 9255.

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