Jolly Josh shortlisted for £2,000 Cadent Foundation Grant

Date published: 18 November 2020

The Jolly Josh charity, which hosts stay-and-play sessions for children with disabilities and special needs in Rochdale, has been shortlisted to receive a £2,000 grant from the Cadent Foundation.

The group is one of four across Greater Manchester each guaranteed a £1,000 grant from the Cadent Foundation and is now in the running to increase it to £2,000 after being nominated and voted for by Cadent employees in the North West.

Named after their son, Jolly Josh was started in September 2017 by Carole and James Kelly, of Wardle, after discovering there were no groups for young disabled children in Rochdale. At the age of six months, Josh was confirmed to have ‘extensive brain damage’ due to the genetic condition Mitochondrial Disease, which causes mutations in mitochondria, vital to every cell in the body.

The stay-and-play sessions were set up with the hope to bring families together, provide peer to peer support, share experiences, and eliminate isolation, especially for children with disabilities and special needs throughout the borough.

Sadly, Josh died on 27 August 2017, just one month before his legacy was due to begin.

Founder and trustee, Carole said: “We are thrilled to have been nominated for a Cadent Gas grant, we are incredibly pleased that this will raise awareness of Jolly Josh and our charity’s profile. We are currently building our ‘place to call home’ in Rochdale, a fully inclusive and accessible venue, for families in and around the borough with disabled children. Jolly Josh will have Rochdale’s second only Changing Place, providing dignity in toileting (hoisting and adult size changing bed). In addition, we will house a Hydrotherapy Pool (with ceiling hoists) to allow for family swims and therapy. 

“Jolly Josh is currently managed and run by volunteers, all funds are being directed to the construction of our very own venue, you could be key to our success in supporting families to connect, support and thrive. Please help us to inspire inclusion.”

After two years of sessions at Springside with Hamer Learning Community, the charity is working on developing a home of its own in Castleton where construction began in November 2019.

The centre for Jolly Josh will be fully accessible and inclusive for all children with disabilities/complex needs/additional needs and those with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). It is estimated that it will cost around £100,000 to make the centre fit for use.

Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, said: “The need to come together and support each other has never been more important and we wanted to ensure Cadent customers and colleagues were given the chance to help care for their local community. The shortlisted causes are largely charities that colleagues hold close to their hearts or have links to through volunteering. Our aim is to provide support to vulnerable people and this new initiative allows us to focus on where help is needed the most and offer grants to projects where we can make a real difference.”

The Cadent Foundation is funded by local gas network Cadent, and has been established to support projects large and small that help people living in vulnerable situations and disadvantaged communities; protect and preserve the natural environment or support in creating a sustainable energy future for all.

Through it’s ‘Connecting Colleagues, Customers and Communities’ initiative, employees across the North West were asked to trial a new approach to the way in which local grants are allocated – by nominating a local charity which would then go forward to a public vote. 

A total of 34 charities were nominated and then shortlisted through an employee voting round. The final stage is now underway with Cadent engineers equipped with information and material to allow customers to submit a vote and find out more about the individual charities.

The charity with the most votes by 28 February 2021 will receive £2,000 and the three runners-up, £1,000 each.

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