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Students help school children with learning disabilities follow their dreams

25 April 2012

Dreams became a reality for a number of children from Laleham Gap School in Broadstairs last week, with one pupil in particular being given the chance to fulfil his dream to perform on a cruise ship.

Organised by national charity, Follow your Dreams, 21 pupils from the specialist educational needs school were one step closer to achieving their dreams with the help of Canterbury Christ Church University students.

As part of a nationwide three year campaign called ‘Catch the Dream’, Friday’s event at University Centre Folkestone saw Laleham Gap pupils paired with student mentors who have a specialist subject relating to their dream, such as animation, art, drama and dance. Throughout the day each pupil took part in one-on-one sessions with their mentor, culminating in an afternoon’s performance in front of their friends and members of the charity.


Students and pupils completing their dance routine at the end of the day

The pupil’s dreams ranged from learning to play the guitar and learning how to rap, to creating an arcade game and learning how drawings come to life through animation.

Debbie Morris, Dream Coordinator, Follow your Dreams, said: "Follow Your Dreams encourages confidence and self-esteem in all children. We hope that by instilling confidence in these pupils, they will now pursue their dreams and passions that have been started at this event."

The ‘Catch the Dream’ campaign is currently touring the country as it tries to fulfil the dreams of over 1,000 young people with learning disabilities. The charity also works in partnership with local fundraisers and organisations to help make some of the more ambitious dreams come true.

For example, 11 year old, Finley Gausden from Canterbury is even closer to fulfilling his dream to sing on a cruise ship.  Following Friday’s event, where he learnt a routine with the help of his student mentor, local travel company, Saga, has agreed to let Finley sing on the stage of one of their ships. Finley will perform in front of his family and friends on a Saga cruise ship when it docks in Dover during the summer. It is hoped the special event will take place on Finley’s 12th Birthday in August 2012. 

The students mentoring pupils on the day of the event were from the University’s Broadstairs Campus, Canterbury Campus, and University Centre Folkestone (UCF).

Judy Challis, Volunteering Coordinator, at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: "We’re committed to supporting the local community, with many of our students volunteering on a regular basis. We’re delighted for our volunteer students to teach their skills and passions to the Laleham Gap pupils who share that same passion. It has been inspiring to see this happen."

Kate Wratten, Head of Primary, Laleham Gap School, said: "We really appreciate the work from Follow Your Dreams, and the Canterbury Christ Church University students for giving up their time in the Easter vacation to come and spend time with our pupils. Thank you so much to all."

/Ends

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

•We are the third highest university in England for student employability, with 94.3% of our recent UK graduates in employment or further study six months after graduating*.

•Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).

•We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).

•2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2009/10 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Katie Scoggins
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