by Rhys Williams, Cearphilly Observer, April 7th, 2023

A generous donation of £60,000 has been made to Sparkle, a charity in Caerphilly, that will enable children with complex disabilities to participate in specialist play clubs. The substantial sum was provided by the South Wales Freemasons, who have shown their commitment to supporting the needs of vulnerable children in the local community.

The play clubs, designed for children aged five to 11 who are living with disabilities or developmental challenges, will be held twice a week at the Caerphilly Children’s Centre in Energlyn. The clubs will be overseen by skilled supervisors with expertise in supporting children diagnosed with conditions such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down’s syndrome, and more.

Scheduled to take place on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, the clubs will offer a wide range of stimulating activities, including sensory play, active play, crafts, and simple cooking lessons—such as making rice crispy cakes. While there is a nominal entry fee, Sparkle has established a hardship fund to guarantee that no child will be excluded from accessing its services due to financial constraints.

Ian Edwards, Sparkle’s fundraising manager, expressed his deep gratitude to the South Wales Freemasons for their significant contribution. “This generous grant will provide a unique play facility for local children with very complex disabilities—a facility that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Caerphilly area,” said Edwards. He added that the clubs offer children an opportunity to have fun, make new friends, and develop essential social skills.

Phil Saunders, a representative from South Wales Freemasons, also shared his delight in being able to support Sparkle’s play clubs. “These clubs are vitally important for local children with disabilities and developmental difficulties,” Saunders stated. Furthermore, he emphasized that the impact extends beyond the children themselves, as the time spent at the clubs will afford parents a regular respite, allowing them to spend quality time with their non-disabled siblings.

The collaboration between Sparkle and the South Wales Freemasons marks a significant step forward in enhancing the lives of children with complex disabilities and their families in the Caerphilly community​.