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Family fun day raises £1,575 for 'vital' Hornchurch charity First Step

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 May 2019

Naz Hill's family fun day raised £1,575 for the charity First Step in Hornchurch. Picture: Jay Woollaston

Naz Hill's family fun day raised £1,575 for the charity First Step in Hornchurch. Picture: Jay Woollaston

Archant

When Naz Hill thinks of First Step, she thinks of family.

Naz Hill organised a family fun day at Arnaud Lodge Pre-School to raise funds for First Step. Picture: Jay WoollastonNaz Hill organised a family fun day at Arnaud Lodge Pre-School to raise funds for First Step. Picture: Jay Woollaston

The 33-year-old from George Street, Romford organised a fundraiser on Sunday, May 5 for the charity, which is facing financial struggles.

Children took part in family fun activities such as slime and a bouncy castle to support the charity.

The event raised £1575.

First Step in Tangemere Crescent, is a Hornchurch charity supporting children with special needs and disabilities. It is facing the possibility of closing due to lack of funds.

Naz Hill organised a family fun day at Arnaud Lodge Pre-School to raise funds for First Step. Picture: Jay WoollastonNaz Hill organised a family fun day at Arnaud Lodge Pre-School to raise funds for First Step. Picture: Jay Woollaston

Made up of nearly 40 volunteers, 10 full-time staff and three full-time volunteers, the charity lost funding from the local authority in 2017. It has had to dip into its charity reserves ever since.

Money will run out next March.

When her son was diagnosed with autism, Naz said First Step was the one place she didn't have to explain herself. The staff just knew how to help.

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"They're so vital," she said. "They're so needed."

The charity provides services such as a pre-school with music therapy and a multi-sensory room along with sibling and family support.

Even though her son has aged out of First Step's services, Naz knew she needed to help the charity and so she planned the family fun day.

People gathered at Arnaud Lodge Pre-School in Slewins Lane, Hornchurch. Some children held snakes and spiders while others smashed slime.

Aaron's SENsational Parties, which helps provide party entertainment for children with disabilities, was present as well. Guests enjoyed balloon modelling and a magic show.

The children had fun, Naz said and they kept asking her, "When can you do another one?"

Naz said she would love to do another family fun day to support the charity.

"It's important to keep them open because there's nothing else in the area," she said.

Naz said she would like to thank First Step for everything they have done for her and her family.

Visit First Step's justgiving page to find out what other fundraising activities community members are organising for the charity.

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