As 2014 is drawing to a close, the two of us in our fundraising team thought it would be worth looking back at what has been going on throughout the year to raise much needed funds for the Wirral Autistic Society.

We would like to thank so many of you for your time and support, enabling us to raise funds which can go on to support our service users in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Rick Myers - Fundraising Officer

Rick Myers – Fundraising Officer

Rick’s Fundraising Review

Rick Myers our Fundraising Officer discusses a very lively year.

If, as they say, variety is the spice of life then 2014 was indeed a very heady dish with, literally, something for every one.

The year could not have started better with an incredibly generous donation to our Lifetime Appeal of £50,000 from Trish Chapman. I had taken Trish, who runs a company called Orange Plant amongst other business interests, round the Society and showed her the work we were doing and she had kindly given us £500. I could not believe it when she made a further donation of such a large amount, it was a meeting that I will never forget!! A million thanks Trish!

The Deva Brass Ensemble

Normally January is a quiet month in terms of fundraising, cash is invariably in short supply and generally not a time for a fundraising event. However we held a fabulous night with the Deva Brass Ensemble at Heswall Hall on 25th January.

Deva Brass was formed as a symphonic brass ensemble in 2007 by a group of enthusiastic brass players. Many of their members play in principal positions in local orchestras and they had played at a variety of venues across the country.

Their repertoire ranged from Gabrielli to Gershwin.

Thanks to the support of Mr Warren Temple the event raised £1,000 for our Lifetime Appeal.

World Autism Awareness Day

Wednesday 2nd April was a busy day for the Society as we had a number of events on the day including- a stall at the Pyramids Shopping Centre, Coffee Morning at Bebington High Sports College, autism-friendly viewings at the Odeon, Bromborough and the Light Cinema, New Brighton, Arts & Crafts exhibition at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton and a awareness-raising event on our narrow boat.

Slept well that night!

The Thursday Club

Thanks to all at the Thursday Group, who invited me to their lunch time event to accept the results of their brilliant support for the Society. It was a fantastic event and I was able to explain all our plans for the Lifetime Appeal and accept a lovely cheque for £1,220.

The Montse Benitez Golf Day

Held at Caldy Golf Club on the 1st May we teamed up, not for the first time with the wonderful gang from the Montse Benitez Charitable Foundation for this Stableford Four Ball event held on the beautiful course at Caldy.

The event was aimed primarily at the corporate market and was very well supported by 18 teams from companies in the area.

While the day itself was rather disappointing in terms of the weather it did not disappoint in fundraising raising £8,000 for the Lifetime Appeal. We have been very fortunate to have the backing of the Montse Benitez committee whose enthusiasm was fundamental to the success of the day.

The Big Quiz

On Friday 9th May we were back at Heswall Hall again for our annual Big Quiz which proved as popular as ever with a record entry of teams this year with Wirral Autistic Society staff forming many of the teams. The night included live music from Pete Riley and the famous Dee View Scouse.

Again thanks are due to Julie Ellsmoor, supported by many of her friends and family including, of course James and Adam Kenrick. A hugely popular event which raised £3,012 for our Lifetime Appeal.

Sunday 11th May 2014 

Wirral Coastal Walk

No sooner was the Big Quiz over the Wirral Coastal Walk was upon us the following Sunday 11th May. This is a regular event organised by the Rotary Club that gives many charities the opportunity to raised much needed sponsorship.

Yet again the weather was disappointing and we were slightly down on walkers but still raised £1,583 for the Appeal

Golden Night at the Merebrook

The Merebrook celebrated 50 years on Friday 25th April and held an evening of music and fun for all, (including our very own Beathovens) in aid of Wirral Autistic Society raising  £447.92 with special thanks to Mr Andrew Williams for his drive and enthusiasm.

Normally Summer is normally a quiet time for fundraisers as everybody tends to be on holiday but we have had quite a busy season.

Marks and Spencer held their first Society fundraiser with a bag-pack and on 18th July and have been fundraising throughout the year.

Landmark Adventure Mini-Golf Challenge

We had our Landmark Adventure Mini-Golf Challenge at New Brighton Promenade.

It was our most successful ever with increased entries and, for the first time a sponsor – Intercity UK- raising £754.05. The wonderful Ken Dodd joined us at the Queen’s Royal for the prize-giving and proved to be as popular as ever- this year he celebrates 60 years in showbusiness.

Ground-breaking Begins

On Tuesday 3rd June we held an informal ground-breaking ceremony at Raby Hall when outgoing Mayor, Cllr Dave Mitchell dug the first spadeful of earth for our new home. Many supporters, friends and family attended included Montse Benitez and some of her committee including Rafa Benitez, home for a few weeks from Naples and much in demand for photos and autographs.

Family Fun Day

On Saturday 26th July we had our Family Fun Day at Bromborough Village Garden Centre which was literally fun for all the family! With all usual stuff you would expect from a family event, coconut shy, BBQ, hook-a-duck, face-painting, bouncy castle, climbing wall and the final of our Sunflower Growing Competition.

Deverill Road Street Party

On the 23rd of August the residents of Deverill Road, Rock Ferry led by young mum Liz Taylor had a Street Party and despite being within minutes of calling it off due to torrential downpours raised over £310 for our Lifetime Appeal.

It was Liz’s first event and with her friends in the road, particularly Heidi, and her family it was a great event and, more importantly, one she wants to repeat.

As summer moved into autumn we had a number of really interesting and fun events including an Antiques Roadshow at Heswall United Reform Church on 27th September.

Celebrity auctioneer John Crane of Cato Crane Fine Arts was on hand to value object d’art and antiques.

Friday 10th October 2014

Autumn Serenade, Wirral Singers and Ringers Concert

Held at Christ Church in Higher Bebington we had a fabulous night of entertainment which included poetry and bell-ringing.

The Wirral Singers and Ringers have a small section, Mes Amie who have continued to raise funds for our appeal and we will receive this in the New Year.

The night itself raised £704.50 and we hope to persuade them to repeat the performance in 2015.

Autumn Dinner Dance

Hardly time to catch our breath before our Autumn Dinner Dance at the Village Hotel the following weekend.

It was a real old-fashioned affair with black tie and gowns and dancing until the wee small hours. The event was not particularly well attended but still raised about £1,000 for the Appeal.

World of Weightwatchers

All through 2014 World of Weightwatchers (WOW) have been fundraising for our Lifetime Appeal and I attended their annual awards evening in Whitby Sports and Social Club on Saturday 22nd November. We will not know how much has been raised until the New Year but look forward to their call.

Christmas Grotto

This year, for the fourth year running, we are staffing the Grotto at Port Sunlight Garden Centre and this year is busier than ever so we hope for a bumper year.

Vicky Gawith - Trusts Fundraiser

Vicky Gawith – Trusts Fundraiser

Trust in Vicky

Our Trusts Fundraiser Vicky Gawith highlights the Society’s successes

In January we were awarded £500 for our service-users who work at Thurstaston, Wirral Country Park every Monday, to work on a project to create an Outdoor Glacial Rock display and a connecting footpath from the visitor centre via the Glacial Rock Display to the cliff top views for people with limited mobility, whether they be in a pram, wheel chair or mobility scooter.

In March further funding was awarded to us from Wirral Council, as one of the Wirral West Public Health Fund Grants for £1,884 was awarded for further work at Thurstaston. This was to create another path to allow people with limited mobility down to an area of ponds with limited access, which are viewed as one of the most important areas for pond life in Cheshire.

Wirral Autistic Society were also awarded with Tranmere Rovers and ‘On this Roc,’ from Merseyside Sportivate a grant of £2,336 for a number of courses to introduce autistic children into football and rock climbing.

In April we received the fantastic news that Sport England had awarded us £187,896 to run our ‘Autismability’ project. This was to be a three year course where our service-users would be given the opportunity to attend trampolining, gymnastics, aerobics and boccia sessions over ten sessions a week at ‘The Drill’ Hall in Grange Road West.

In May we launched our ‘Pot a Sunflower for £1 campaign,’ to raise funds for our Lifetime Appeal. We went out to a local school to ask the children to grow them for us and on 11 May sunflowers were also sold at Port Sunlight 10K where we had a few stalls as we were selected to be charity of the event. It was a rather windy day, but it was great to be part of it and fantastic to see many of our service-users having fun completing the course.

In September we had the launch of our ‘Autismability’ project which was really rewarding to see.

Over the last few months of the year we have had another big push to raise funds for the Lifetime Appeal as the project nears its completion. Many charitable trusts and individuals have given us so much support for this Appeal over the year, we still have a portion to raise, but would sincerely like to thank those of you that have contributed in any way.