Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has nominated The Freedom Centre, an educational day centre, based in Sheerness, for adults with physical and learning disabilities, to receive £1,000 donated by the trade body bacta, which represents seaside arcades, piers and related attractions.
He says, “The Freedom Centre’s work is an vital lifeline to some vulnerable members of the community on the Isle of Sheppey, and I’m delighted that bacta members are making a donation to it at a time when it has been forced to step in and provide support for its patrons far beyond its usual role.
“Many of the Freedom Centre’s patrons often find themselves isolated at the best of times. However, that isolation has been made more acute by the restrictions that were imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the current crisis the Freedom Centre needs help with its funding, now more than ever, so that it can make more vital deliveries, and supply social contact and support.
“I have nothing but admiration for the wonderful work that the Freedom Centre does for its patrons. So I am immensely grateful for the generosity of bacta members, particularly at this time when I know they are facing their own financial difficulties. It epitomises the community spirit we have in Sittingbourne and Sheppey and I am sure that spirit will get us through what is a very uncertain period.”
Anita Provan, Centre Manager, The Freedom Centre says, “We are very grateful to bacta members for the donation and to Gordon Henderson MP for nominating us. We will use the much appreciated grants to help provide meals for our members in the community and to purchase a device to enable us to give our therapeutic classes online.”
Bacta launched its Siding With the Seaside (#sidingwiththeseaside) campaign last year in order to support the seaside communities served by their members and to highlight the lack of government investment that threatens the precious heritage in many seaside towns.
Bacta CEO John White says, “The situation was already serious for many seaside towns whose communities have suffered through lack of employment and local investment. However, when we went into lockdown just before the Easter holidays, the position became far more serious as local businesses were forced to shut and the seasonal trade, which is so vital, was lost. Our members made a total of £23,000 available to give to seaside charities via the MPs who we have got to know through our seaside campaigning work and who are best placed to know who would benefit most.”
Bacta represents the owners and operators of seaside amusement arcades, over-18 amusement centres, and the companies that hire machines to pubs, clubs, bowling alleys, bingo halls and similar venues. It also represents the manufacturers and distributors of all types of amusement equipment. This can range from children’s rides, to jukeboxes, fruit machines in pubs and clubs, crane grabbers, penny falls, tuppeny nudgers, test your strength machines, videos, pool tables and gaming machines