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Messenger backs Sale charity's fundraising campaign
MESSENGER is backing a campaign by Sale charity Hearts and Minds Challenge has launched a campaign to raise £1 million to build a school for autistic children.
The new facility could be in Trafford - the location has yet to be finalised - and will initially cater for the educational needs of 25 pupils who have the condition.
Ian McGrath, the organisation’s founder, said youngsters will receive high quality support in the classroom. Each class will have five pupils, one teacher and two teaching assistants.
He said such a school is needed and added: “We just feel there’s a big need for it and early intervention is essential to help these kids and to give them a future. It’s not just going to be a school. There’s going to be family counselling run from there, speech and language theraoy sessions run from there and training sessions run from there. We’re going to be operating a lot of other services.”
Ian said the school will also have a role in educating people about autism and this will include pupils in mainstream schools. The facility will take youngsters from age three to 11.
He wants Trafford people to support the fundraising campaign and one of the ways they can do so is by getting on their bikes in May, to take part in its Malaga to Gibraltar cycle ride. Ian said cyclists will cover 300 miles in four days and the event’s celebrity supporters include Manchester United legend Paul Scholes and former Boyzone star Keith Duffy, who both have children with autism. Keith’s daughter, Mia, now attends a mainstream school and Ian said she’s living proof of how early intervention can help autistic youngsters.
Ian said: “She was fortunate enough to get access to the type of education we’re looking to provide.”
Hearts and Minds Challenge was originally as a one off project in 2010 to raise funds for three good causes, including the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospial - one of the hospitals that successfully treated his baby son Patrick for a heart condition.
* Anyone interested in supporting the charity’s work should visit www.heartsandmindschallenge.org