Our accessible Easter Egg Hunt returns!

On Easter Saturday we held our annual, accessible Easter Egg Hunt, the event that launched Club Wilber back in 2019, here at Wilberforce House. Our amazing hunt uses specially made eggs with a sound mechanism inside so they can be found by using hearing rather than sight! These bleeping eggs are hidden along the way in baskets and hay on little picnic mat stations to draw the children in, where they then found smaller eggs full of treats. At the end of the course the children get to exchange these eggs for a chocolate one, and plenty managed more than one go round the course! Sighted siblings joined in the fun by donning an eye mask, so they too were relying on their hearing to experience this unique, seasonal activity. The egg hunt is one of the biggest on our Club Wilber calendar and has always been hugely popular. On its first year, the event won the Silver Award in the Charity Event category at the Minster FM People’s Choice Awards.

This year the event was bigger and better than ever with craft activities and face painting inside Wilberforce House, alongside Weston’s Café serving up hot drinks and bacon butties.

For both the Club Wilber families, and the residents, the egg hunt isn’t just a chance for a chocolate haul, but also an opportunity to socialise and spend time with people that share experiences. This year was our most attended with twenty families across the day.

Club Wilber provides a supportive environment and an opportunity to get together for families in Yorkshire who have a child or young person aged 0-25 with a visual impairment, including those with other disabilities. Our activities and events are designed for the whole family to enjoy together, and offer a chance to spend time with people that can share your experiences and gain support and advice.

 

 

Club Wilber went on Safari!
Club Wilber had fun on Safari last week!
Helen and Ava from Sam’s Safaris came to tell us all about the animals in their care. We learnt some cool facts and enjoyed having a feel of all the animals; running our fingers along lizard scales, feeling sticky snail feet and patting the blanket soft fur of a chinchilla. We even had a noisy duck piping up to greet us. Afterwards, we had a game of hungry hippos, played with some rain sticks, had a go on the African drum, and enjoyed some safari themed refreshments!
Thank you to the Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust and LNER who helped fund this activity.
Club Wilber visits the Panto!

Finishing a fabulous, festive season at the Wilberforce Trust, we attended the pantomime at York Theatre Royal at the weekend with some of our Club Wilber families. This year’s show was Jack and the Beanstalk and it was as entertaining and funny as we have come to expect from this historic theatre. Like last year, we were also delighted to be able to experience a private ‘touch- tour’ of the set and costumes before the show.

At the start of the tour we were introduced to the stage, set and story by one of the theatre’s accredited Audio Describers, who talked us through different scenes and costumes we would expect to encounter. She explained what we might hear to tell us that something in particular was happening, such as a character entering the stage, which was really helpful to build a picture of what we were about to watch. We were then invited onto the stage to look at the props, set and costumes and more importantly to feel them. These included the ‘Cow Wash’ (like a car wash!) and the top of the huge Giant costume. We could hold some of the smaller props, like the velvet bags of beans and coins, and the team were so helpful with explaining things and allowing the children to ask loads of questions. Being able to use their sense of touch is hugely important for a lot of the children, enabling them to build a picture in their minds of what the characters and set may look like.

Once we took our seats in the main auditorium, those that wished to could use a headset so the action on stage could be described to them to bring the action to life. The performance was amazing and everyone, grown- ups and children alike, had a really enjoyable time. A big thank you to the staff and crew at York Theatre Royal, especially Gill and Ted the Audio Describers, who helped make this a really magical event. A particular thank you to the York Theatre Royal pay- it- forward scheme, who provided some free tickets, and to The Victoria Wood Foundation for their generous grant which enables us to continue providing arts and culture activities.

 

Club Wilber’s Christmas Party

Last weekend, and for the first time, we were delighted to open the doors of Wilberforce House for the Club Wilber Christmas Party! Across the open plan Living & Learning Zone, we had craft activities, a sensory space, a disco area and a chocolate fountain.

As our families arrived late morning, they dived straight into the festive fun; making snowmen, decorating and filling their own crackers. As soon as the smell of chocolate filled the air, children, and adults, jumped to the fountain to dip festive kebabs of fruit and sweet treats. The sensory area, with lights, textures and sounds, was popular with the littlest Club Wilber members, and it was the perfect place to escape the busyness of the café area.

After a buffet lunch of sandwiches, pizza and nibbles, the children were excited when the Big Man himself, Santa Claus, walked through the door to the jingle of bells and took a seat by our huge Christmas Tree. The families took it in turns to meet Santa and say a few words and receive a present. The expressions on the children’s faces at this special moment at the party make all the hard work worth it for the team!#

We were delighted to welcome Club Wilber Ambassador and York City Knight’s player, Will Jubb to the party, along with his partner Jess. They spent time making snowmen with the children and chatting to the families, who are always really excited to see Will. We also gave him a congratulation present for his recent graduation, with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fisheries Studies from The University of Hull.

Like the Birthday Party and at Halloween, these parties are the perfect time for the families to catch up. We waved everyone off and wished them a Merry Christmas and we’re already excited for our Panto trip together in January!

Club Wilber turns 4!

A few weeks ago we returned to the Delta Marriott Hotel on Tadcaster Road to celebrate Club Wilber’s 4th Birthday! Originally planned as a garden party, like many we had to bring the fun indoors, but we were still able to play with all of the giant, garden games and enjoy our party food in the warm and dry!

Our annual birthday party is the perfect excuse to get our Club Wilber families together to catch up, and enjoy a selection of games for a few hours. This year we welcomed Richard from Limelight Hire with their photobooth and we all had the best time putting on the props and standing in front of the selfie mirror! The Activities and Events Team also made sure they got a couple of snaps!

 

We were treated to a party feast for lunch and afterwards we sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed a slice of the delicious traybake. Our Club Wilber children and young people left a with a summer themed party bag each, and a stack of photos from the photobooth!

Club Wilber started in 2019 and was the brainchild of our Operations Director, Samantha Scholey,  as a way of creating a club for children and young people with a visual impairment, and their families. We arrange accessible activities and events that the whole family can enjoy, regardless of vision and a welcoming place for children and parents to bond over common experiences.

Club Wilber visit Harry Potter World

Last week, our Club Wilber families set off on our biggest trip yet, to London and the Harry Potter Studio Tour! Accompanied by Ellen and Jenny from Activities and Events, and armed with a magical themed goody- bag, the coach full of excited Potter fans made their way down to Watford for an overnight stay, before embarking on a day of magic.

On the Saturday morning the group arrived at the studio to be greeted by the dragon from Gringotts bank flying above them. On a big screen, the stars of the films introduced the magical tour in the auditorium before the children got to push open the doors of Hogwarts to walk into the Main Hall open where we were welcomed to the Magical world of Harry Potter

With the aid of guides, who the families have described as ‘truly wonderful’ and ‘fantastic’, the children were able to explore the museum with audio description and touch. Being able to feel the props and costumes really helped to bring the films and stories to life and was a real VIP touch.

The group were able to explore sets such as Diagon Alley and The Great Hall, and sets like Gringotts Bank could be imagined further by the ability to feel the hands from the costume of one of the goblins. The amazing experience of touching the real props used by the actors, alongside music and audio from the film being played, made every room a magical, sensory experience.

For fans of any film, being able to get up close to see and touch the real set and props is a magical experience and for Club Wilber, to see the model of Hogwarts and to meet some of the character models, was no exception. Favourite experiences from the visit were climbing on board the Night Bus and sitting in Ron Weasley’s flying car! They even faced their fear of spiders in the Forbidden Forest!

After a busy day immersing in all things magic, the group headed off for an early tea before making their way back up the motorway to York. A trip like this is a big milestone for Club Wilber and it meant the world to see the smiles on the faces of our young people and families.

We couldn’t provide our Club Wilber activities and events, from Pizza Parties at Wilberforce House, to exciting trips away from home, without the help from our supporters and donors. A huge thank you to Happy Days Children’s Charity who helped make this magical trip happen!

Beeping Easter Egg Hunt

The Beeping Easter Egg hunt was the brainchild of our Operations Director Samantha Scholey and launched Club Wilber back in 2019.

The event uses specially made eggs with a sound mechanism inside so they can be found by using hearing rather than sight! Tasty treats were hidden along the way in baskets and hay on little picnic mat stations. At the end of the course the children get to exchange their beeping eggs for a chocolate one, and plenty managed more than one go! Sighted siblings joined in the fun by donning an eye mask, so they too were relying on their hearing to experience this unique, seasonal activity. The egg hunt is one of the biggest on our Club Wilber calendar and has always been hugely popular. On its first year, the event won the Silver Award in the Charity Event category at the Minster FM People’s Choice Awards. This year we were thrilled to be able to host in the grounds of our beautiful new build, Wilberforce House.

For the first time we also held an additional egg hunt for the residents who live in the supported housing apartments within Wilberforce House and, although they weren’t quite as energetic as the children, they collected just as many eggs and went home with plenty of Easter treats!

For both the Club Wilber families, and the residents, the egg hunt isn’t just a chance for a chocolate haul, but also an opportunity to socialise and spend time with people that share experiences. We also opened Weston’s Café for the day, giving everyone the chance to enjoy a hot cross bun and a cornflake nest bun around the activity.

The Easter Egg Hunt is the perfect way to kick off the spring and summer months at The Wilberforce Trust and we cant wait to invite the public here for our Summer Fete in June.

 

 

Club Wilber’s Christmas Party

Last weekend we gathered together with lots of our families at the annual Club Wilber Christmas Party. With various crafts and activities, a festive buffet and a visit from the Santa himself, there was plenty on offer to make this the best party yet.

Our guests moved between a range of Christmas crafts and festive foodie activities, including card making, stocking decorating and ‘fill a bauble’. The best thing about these activities was the children being able to take home what they had made, and enjoy them again and again. Cards were made for parents and teachers and the baubles were filled to the brim with fake snow and trinkets.

Needless to say the most popular place to hang out was the biscuit and Rudolph teacake table! With icing, chocolates and edible bun toppers the children could decorate biscuits and a chocolate mallow teacake was provided with everything edible needed to make a Rudolph head.

At lunchtime we enjoyed a sandwich buffet and nibbles and as everyone was finishing their plates there was a ringing of sleigh bells! The children queued up and took their turns to visit Santa in his grotto, having an opportunity to share their wishes verbally, as well as touching his outfit and big beard to create a picture in their mind of the Big Man himself.

It was fantastic to see so many families, new and old, and to see everyone enjoying the opportunity to catch up before Christmas.

There’s one more festive activity to go for Club Wilber and then we’ll be wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2023!

InSight Magazine – Q4 2022 Edition

Our latest edition of InSight is out now.

This edition includes:

 

 

Click here or the image above to read the latest edition of our InSight Magazine

Club Wilber’s 3rd Birthday Party

On the 4th August, Club Wilber celebrated its 3rd birthday party at The Marriott Hotel in York and it was amazing to meet to celebrate this wonderful occasion.

It was great to welcome our Club Wilber ambassador Will Jubb from York City Knights Rugby Club who came to support this event along with some of our wonderful sponsors.

Guests were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco or fizzy elderflower as they arrived to the book themed party.  The room was decorated with The Jungle book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland decorations.

Everything was geared to be a sensory experience, on The Jungle Book craft table we made beautiful leather notebooks.  The leather had a lovely smell, and each piece had a different texture.  The parents then helped the children bind the paper between the leather using specialist metal studs and they enjoyed using the screwdrivers to tighten the studs.  They finished them off nicely with animal stickers and gems and some did great drawings inside them too.  We had lots of animal balloons hiding in the jungle watching us from above.

The special guest was one of our ambassadors, the award-winning author, Christina Gabbitas.  She came to read two of her books to the children.  She was amazing, giving the characters voices and singing songs she delighted the children.  The children were engaged and got to feel different fruit and vegetables mentioned in the book, tomatoes, broccoli, pineapple and even a dragon fruit!  She quoted a poem too and the children loved joining in.  We thank her for a wonderful opportunity to hear her stories.  These can be found online on her website www.christinagabbitas.com.

Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was the theme for the afternoon tea.  With wonderful decorations for the table which consisted of a Mad Hatters hat, a white rabbit, and clocks… lots of clocks, the caterpillar on a giant toadstool, even the Cheshire Cat was watching us from above.  Everyone enjoyed afternoon tea with scones with jam and cream, sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps, biscuits, and lots of “drink me” squash.

Samantha Scholey who was the founder of Club Wilber gave a speech and thanked everyone for their support and coming to celebrate with us, especially the sponsors who joined in the fun. We sang happy birthday to Club Wilber and enjoyed a delicious rocky road birthday cake.

The final game was a sensory pass the parcel.  Each layer was a different textured material.  Sweets and scented lavender were between the layers with a box of fidget toys as a main prize for the two lucky winners.

Everyone who attended got a golden ticket which was labelled “golden ticket” in Braille.  They took these to the Willy Wonka sweet table to claim their going home sweets and popcorn.

Everyone had a great time, and it was great to see the families have fun together.  Club Wilber continues to grow bigger and better each year and we look forward to a year ahead full of activities.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who came – our ambassadors, sponsors and of course our Club Wilber families.

 

If you would like to volunteer and help us out with these amazing events then please check out our Volunteers Page.