Special Recognition - Lynn McManus

Lynn from North Shields, is the founder of Pathways4All, a charity which provides recreational activities and support for children with disabilities and additional needs.

Lynn and husband Terry, who also helps run the charity, have five birth children, and after becoming foster carers in 2001, have fostered and adopted four younger children with special needs. She set up the charity to provide activities and support for families in North Tyneside and the wider area, and led a major fundraising drive to build the Tim Lamb Children’s Centre, at the Rising Sun Country Park, in Benton.

The centre opened in 2012 with facilities including soft play areas, a cafe, IT suite, a teenage zone, parents room, creche, specialist toilets and an outdoor play park, and is used by more than 900 children. Lynn’s ethos is that the centre is somewhere non-judgmental where children can be themselves. She is also keen to support siblings, as children with additional needs can take more of their parents’ time and attention.

After four years, the centre was becoming too small for the number of families it supports, so last year Lynn led a major project to refurbish and extend the building.

Having raised more than £500,000 over the years, Lynn and Terry work at the centre full time on a voluntary basis.

Lynn also set up a successful special needs youth club, GR84ALL, and has also organised regular family days and special events.

She is thrilled to win the award and told us “It’s certainly not why you do it, but it is a privilege to be recognised like this, it’s absolutely lovely to feel appreciated.”

Lynn said she’s proudest of helping families feel comfortable and at home in the centre.

She said: “I love it when a family comes to have a look around and says they like it, that they feel it’s comfortable and somewhere their kids can be themselves.”

Lynn is a selfless, compassionate and incredible person and we are proud to honour her with this award.

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