A FATHER is urging people who would usually send a Christmas card to donate the money to an appeal to provide a centre of excellence for disabled young people.

Richard Waites' son Emmerson been supported by Ryedale Special Families (RSF) for 10 years, and as he approaches the age of 18 is in urgent need of the new facility which will include a brand-new education facility for young disabled adults

RSF is aiming to raise £1.4 million for the new purpose-built, fully-accessible centre in Pickering.

The building will feature five individual sensory or therapy rooms, a large room for group activities, a kitchen for cooking activities and promoting life skills, meeting rooms, accessible toilets including two changing places, an education and skills centre for disabled young adults, a large outdoor safe area with a specially-designed sensory garden, as well as ample accessible parking.

The centre of excellence will replace the current RSF base, a two-storey terraced house in Old Malton which is small and has difficult access for those with limited mobility. The current building has only two small activity rooms, no changing facilities for people with disabilities, no large space for social gatherings, and very limited parking.

Richard said: “With fully accessible facilities, the new building in Pickering will offer specially designed features that currently don’t exist anywhere in Ryedale. Most importantly for Emerson and for young adults in a similar situation, the new building will include a brand-new education facility for young disabled adults aged 18 to 25. As Emerson will be 18 later this year, we can’t underestimate the importance of this facility. Young people can further their education and life skills much closer to home”.

"The new building will provide a lifeline for hundreds of families throughout Ryedale including group sessions, individual support and activities, including sensory spaces and welcome areas for parents and carers to meet up.

"There will also be activities for disabled young adults as part of the Ryedale Supported Futures programme.

Rob Davies, Funding Coordinator for RSF: “We are passionate about supporting families of children with disabilities and this new development will be a Centre of Excellence for disabled young people. The improvements to our facilities and services will support families now and for many years in the future.

Rob said: “We are very proud to say that we support around 400 families in Ryedale.

Anyone wanting to support the new build can take part in the Brick-by-Brick Campaign, which is accessible via our website www.ryedalespecialfamilies.org.uk. With a target of £20,000, virtual bricks at £25 apiece are available to buy. We have already raised £11,444 through this campaign alone and we are very grateful to those people who have already supported our fundraising.

Those who purchase a brick will be credited in the new building by way of a thank you for their contribution.