The charity, whose work focuses on supporting disabled people to go beyond expectations, celebrates its 180th anniversary this year and the team are pulling out all the stops to mark the event with more space for attendees at the Christmas Concert on Tuesday 5 December.
The event has been organised by Henshaws’ new Community Fundraiser for Yorkshire, Kate Simpson, whose daughter Tessa graduated from Henshaws Specialist College in July 2016. Tessa was a day student at the College for three years and, thanks to the skills she gained, is now living more independently in supported accommodation with other young people which has freed Kate to return to work.
We always hoped Tessa would be able to leave home like other young people but we couldn’t see how until she became a student at the College. Her independence skills have made a massive difference to her and to the whole family and she now lives in Horsforth, a couple of miles from home. This meant that I was, quite rightly, a little redundant on the Tessa front. I often looked over the Henshaws website just to keep up to date and I found myself checking the “work for us” page.
When I saw a part-time position for a Community Fundraiser, I applied for it. If I was going to work anywhere, I could not have imagined an organisation I would rather do it for. So here I am!
The Christmas Concert is one of Kate’s first fundraising initiatives and she and the Henshaws team have put together a line-up of performers, including the Paul Mirfin Band and Denise Leigh and Stefan Andrusyshyn, the opera singer and musician who opened the 2012 Paralympics.
There will be readings and musical performances from Henshaws Specialist College students and Art Makers from the Arts and Crafts Centre, including the Henshaws Hotspots who regularly entertain visitors to the centre’s urban beach in Knaresborough in the summer. The line-up is completed with Wetherby Silver Band, Studio 3 Dance Academy of Knaresborough, The Fisher Singers and Stray Sounds.
Tickets are £12 for adults and £8 for concessions, to include mince pies and mulled wine. To book a ticket, call The Royal Hall’s box office on 01423 502116.
Preparing for the Christmas Concert has been a wonderful and exciting start to my new role at Henshaws and I hope we will welcome many guests on the night. I hope Tess is proud of my new career choice – she seems to be!