Local children benefit from our 5% Pledge

Local children benefit from our 5% Pledge

Published: 29 June 2022

A charity is using a grant from Darlington Building Society to improve the lives of young people with additional needs.

Darlington Parent Carer Forum has received £2,800 from the Society’s 5% Pledge to spend on cycling lessons for young people, and a wellbeing garden.

The charity’s director, Carla Scaife, whose daughter has autism, epilepsy and global development delay, explains: “The kids at school had free cycling lessons through the local authority, but we know that young people with additional needs take a bit longer than their classmates to pick up the skills they need.

“My daughter wasn’t proficient when the lessons finished, but there wasn’t anywhere else without a long waiting list where she could go to continue.”


Carla found that other children with additional needs had the same issues with lessons. So the charity applied to Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge to be able to deliver free, inclusive cycling lessons. The lessons will be held over three days at Eastbourne Sports Complex in the summer holidays.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Carla. “We’re fully booked with a waiting list. On the day, we’re also going to provide a packed lunch for the participants, so that their families can come along and have a picnic.”

In addition to the cycling lessons, the 5% Pledge donation is enabling Darlington Parent Carer Forum to work with Climate Action North to create a community wellbeing garden in the Denes, in Darlington.

Carla said: “When you’re a parent carer, there’s a lot of mental strain, and a lot is expected of you all the time. We asked families what they would like for their own wellness, and one of our volunteers suggested a garden project.

“So, we’re working with the Friends of the Denes on a summer project to create a community wellbeing garden. With the expertise of Climate Action North, it will become a Pollinator Park®, designed to help pollinating insects to find food.”

The parents and volunteers are going to be doing the planting and maintenance of the park, so that they can come together to socialise and share experiences.

“This money will genuinely make such a huge difference to the families and to the young people – we are so grateful to Darlington Building Society,” said Carla.

Sara Robinson, Project Manager at Darlington Building Society, said: “These sorts of initiatives are so important for social inclusion and wellbeing, as well as allowing young people with additional needs to be able to do the things that their peers do.

“We are so excited to support organisations like Darlington Parent Carer Forum with these projects.”

Find out more about Darlington Building Society’s 5% Pledge.