OUR AUTISM, INCLUSION CAMPAIGN.
HOW MELANIE HELPED DURING THE PANDEMIC
When Covid-19 struck our country, it quickly became apparent to Melanie the lack of support in place for individuals with additional needs. The country entered a national lockdown, but there was no visual resources readily available to explain what was going on, and the changes that covid-19 would bring. Many individuals with additional needs rely upon visual aids, to help them understand the world around them.
Melanie decided to create her own visual resources, such as social stories to help aid her autistic son Harry as well as the wider community. Melanie shared them on her Facebook page Climbing the rainbow in the hope to help other families, and they were a big hit. The Facebook page went from 200 to over 3,000 likes over night, as her free resources were shared across the social media platform. This spurred Melanie on to continue making a difference and creating free resources, to keep up with the latest guidelines. Melanie also tailored them to help suit individual circumstances. The resources were so popular they were used in schools, doctors surgeries and hospitals across the U.K.
This saw Melanie win 2 regional awards, as well as a national award from Lloyds bank for her help during the pandemic for the special needs community. Melanie still continues to create free resources and you can find them on our website under printables.
So whats next?
Melanie hopes to be able to work with her local council and other services, to make her visuals readily available to those who need it.
AN OVERVIEW OF OUR ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR
We are in this together
Whilst the world was still battling covid -19, we were determined to continue to spread positivity across our community. To show that despite what may be occurring around us, we can still help to make a difference in others lives. Here are some of our achievements so far:
Recognition from the Countess of Wessex, in the form of a letter. Congratulating Melanie on her achievements so far.
Reaching over 10,000 followers on our Facebook page.
In August 2021, we were invited to take part in Facebook "making a difference" campaign. Which was a feature advert about what we have been doing to help autistic children during the pandemic as well as advertising our blog page to help others. This for us was a highlight in our achievements so far, because it showed us we were making an impact. Especially to be recognised by Facebook.
Our blog page being featured in the British Psychological society newsletter, for the great resources Melanie creates to help support children & adults with additional needs.
Our blog being featured on many Government websites, as a place to support children & adults with additional needs using our visual aids.
Christine McGuinness sharing our blog page on her Instagram stories, as she loved what we do.
Melanie received a letter from the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, thanking her for the work she did during the pandemic on behalf of the Queen.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
We couldn't of done this without your support
We are always so grateful for the support we get each and everyday. We never did this to win any awards, but just to help make a difference in the world. Although we are incredibly thankful for the recognition we receive along this journey, here is some details about this so far.
Melanie won the Suffolk business awards 2020, the changing lives special recognition award. For her help during the pandemic, showing the power of inclusion and creating free visual resources for individuals with additional needs. This showed the public, how small changes can have a big impact for others. As our story was featured in local press articles.
Melanie won the stars of Norfolk & Waveney awards 2020, for community hero of the year award. For her help during the pandemic and her services to the community. This helped to raise awareness around additional needs and inclusion as our story was featured in local press articles.
Melanie received the highly commended award in the BBC radio Suffolk, making a difference awards 2022 in the category "Together" award. For her help during the pandemic making free visual resources for individuals with additional needs. Melanie was invited to talk on BBC radio Suffolk, which allowed her to talk about our campaign.
At the start of 2021, We found out that Melanie had won “Lloyds bank small business of the year 2020 competition” with her small business Butterbean bizarre. This was a fantastic achievement to win a national award, this was for her work during the pandemic switching from craft maker to making free visual resources. The prize was a 90 minute mentoring session with Levi roots. Who helped Melanie understand how to further her advocacy.
In April 2021, Melanie received a letter to say that she was recognised as one of Hopestead's community champions. For her work during the pandemic and for supporting her community. Where she received a small goody bag and certificate.
OUR CHARITY WORK AND CHRISTMAS MISSIONS
Helping to bring communities together
It is our belief to give back when we can, and each year we raise money for local causes as well as the wider community. We also do a yearly Christmas mission where we gift local organisations, to help spread joy at this time of year. We hope that showing society the importance of inclusion, people can see that even small gestures can make all the difference.
Here is some of the money we have raised so far:
Melanie and Harry did a 5 mile sponsored walk, which helped to install a defibrillator into a local pre-school. Which is a vital piece of life saving equipment.
Raised £3000 for the national autistic society.
Raised £1,300 towards the development of a special playground at the warren school, in memory of Harry Cole a dear friend of ours.
Raised £1,432 for various other charities in our local community.
Our Christmas missions so far:
Donated 50 Christmas presents to the children's ward, at our local hospital.
Donated 30 light up bottles featuring a quote on each to Topcats, a charity helping support children and young adults with additional needs.
Donated 360 Christmas crackers and party bags to all the pupils at Harry and Jessicas school, to "save Christmas" during the pandemic. This was featured on BBC news as the "boy who saved Christmas" as it was Harrys idea to donate here.