Hello, my name is Irma, we live in Rossendale, Lancashire. My husband & I have run our own businesses for over 20 years now. With a business & family to run, our lives have always been hectic, but especially with a son with ADHD. We have 2 boys, one of whom was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 10. For the sceptics, I can assure you that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is very real and is a debilitating condition. About half the kids with ADHD still have it in adulthood, unfortunately my son is one of them as he still has it now, at the age of 26. It is a condition affecting your ability to concentrate, focus, control behaviour and hyper activity. It’s one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence & adulthood.
The condition is still effecting every bit of our son’s life every single day, which has cost him his jobs and his business over the years. Why? Because as much as my husband & I tried to support him as his parents, it was not enough! We felt so alone as after his diagnosis, he was simply given Ritalin and that was it. We didn’t get anything else apart from meeting the mental health team every few months to talk about how the medication was effecting him physically! But there was not any other types of support for him or us as his Parents.
We believe that our son should have been given some other support such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or ADHD coaching, not just medication. Unfortunately at the time we didn’t know any different, in the 90s ADHD was an alien subject and the internet was a new thing, so information on the condition was not easily found. At the age of 16 he was made to come off the medication as no more funding for his age. Even at this stage, there was no support for him, he was just dropped by the health system! From then on, although he managed to finish 2 years of College (with a lot of difficulties), he has struggled with jobs, relationships and basically life in general.
He stopped socialising, his confidence got lower & lower, his moods were up & down and I felt completely helpless. I still do feel helpless to this day, as he is still strugling with life in general and he now also suffers from bouts of anxiety & depression. This is what has driven me to start this project, a project which hopefully will help other young people whose lives have been effected by this debilitating condition.
ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is a condition that effects social interation, communication, interests & behaviour. People with ASD are often also affected by other mental health conditions such as ADHD, anxiety & depression. So ADHD and ASD sufferers do find the same sort of challenges in life, but with the right support & training they can become great assets to our society. There are about 700,000 people in UK suffers from this condition. As in ADHD, there is now plenty of support available for younger children, but not much at all once you hit 16 years old.
The shop/cafe project is going to be the first part of our new social enterprise business, CoolConnexions, which eventually will provide training & activities to kids & young people with ADHD & ASD and of course, their families. The shop/cafe will be in Rossendale and it will rent spaces/shelves for local business start ups to sell their products/services without the huge commitment of renting a retail shop. The shop will sell lovely gifts, jewellery, arts & crafts, flowers & plants. The cafe will sell yummy cakes, cookies, paninis, sandwiches, etc. In the afternoon/evening the cafe will also be turned into a hub for training and various events. The shop/cafe will be staffed by a mixture of paid staff & volunteers, some of whom will be the young people with ADHD/ASD, to give them some work experience. This would give them the confidence to work, socialise and learn to deal with people in general.
When you have ADHD or ASD you are faced with great challenges everyday, so getting through school for example is not very easy at all even if you do get enough support. So very often, when you leave school, you might not even have a clue where to go or what to do! This is where we come in as an organisation. We want them to know that we’re here for them as we understand their conditions, we can try and support them any way we can. We truly believe that this project will be able to help them get a better chance in life. Better chances = better future!
The fund raised will be spent on the first 3 months rent, marketing cost and shop/cafe fit out. But if we don’t achieve our target then we won’t be able to get this project off the ground at all as we will only get the money if our target is reached in full. So please pledge whatever you can afford and please, please spread the word! Share this project on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. We are so grateful for every shout out, every tweet and every pound that you pledge …. Thank you!! 🙂
Apart from the great rewards already offered in each pledge, you could also win a prize! The first 100 to pledges will be entered into a prize draw with prizes such as: Hair/Beauty treatment, Meal for two with wine, Gift vouchers and more!!
Pledge £100 or more and you could win our star prize: Thermal Experience at the awards winning, best in UK day Spa! THE WOODLAND SPA in Burnley! Wow wow wow ….. So come on, what are you waiting for?! Ready, get set, pledge!