Charity event raises thousands for Cardiff special needs school


Circle IT charity ball to fund new outdoor gym at Ty Gwyn School

A charity ball hosted by Circle IT has raised over £36,000 which will now fund a new outdoor gym at a Cardiff special needs school.

Cardiff-headquartered Circle IT held the event to raise money for Princes Gate Trust which will now fund the gym to benefit 175 special needs pupils at Ty Gwyn School in Ely.

It was hoped the event, which was held at Cardiff Bay’s Exchange Hotel, would raise the necessary £29,000 but with more than 300 guests digging deep to support such a worthwhile cause, the target was exceeded and now Princes Gate Trust will put the additional funding into other worthy projects across Wales.

The gym, which is hoped to be installed in readiness for the next school year, will provide an area for physical activity to help pupils socially, mentally and physically. With many pupils attending Ty Gwyn coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the facility will enable all pupils to reap the benefits of being outdoors and participating in physical activity.

Ty Gwyn is a local authority special day school which accommodates up to 175 pupils aged three to 19 with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Circle IT Chief Executive, Roger Harry, explains his motivations for the event:

“My ten-year old son, Freddie, attends Ty Gwyn and the support we have, as a family, is simply amazing. We’ve seen just how different environments can affect behaviour and so we wanted to raise money to allow the outdoor gym project to become a reality so that the lives of all pupils attending Ty Gwyn can be positively impacted for years to come.”

Guests at the event were treated to a jam-packed evening of entertainment, which included performances from East 17 and Britain’s Got Talent’s Kev Orkian, with presenter Gethin Jones compering. Guests include movers and shakers from the business world in Cardiff and across the UK, with rugby internationals Tom Shanklin, Ian Gough and Rhys Williams also in attendance.

Diane Stones, Headteacher at Ty Gwyn School, attended the event and was thrilled to learn of the money raised. He said:

“As a state-funded school having the support of Circle IT and Princes Gate Trust has been incredible. We are over the moon that the outdoor gym will shortly become a reality.

“I can’t express how much this will directly positively impact the lives of our pupils, as well as their families and our staff. Having such a facility will help our pupils to increase competency in gross motor skills, whilst also helping to control obesity, improving self-esteem and social skills and encouraging them to lead an active lifestyle.

“On behalf of everyone at Ty Gwyn School I’d like to thank Circle IT and all their guests for putting on such a fantastic evening and for digging deep to raise a significant amount of money.”

Mr Harry added:

“With kind-hearted donations still coming in we are hopeful that we will raise £40,000 in the coming weeks, which is amazing. Thank you to all our guests and sponsors for giving so generously and helping us to achieve our goal. All money donated on the night will go directly to Princes Gate Trust which funds projects that touch the lives of the children and young people who need it most.”

Sam Atkinson, Chair of Princes Gate Trust, commented:

“We are extremely grateful to Circle IT and all that attended the Circle IT Charity Ball in helping to raise such a significant amount of money. These funds will help immensely the various initiatives about which we are so passionate. They will allow us to continue and expand on the support we provide to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people; those who face daily, life-limiting challenges. We set out to raise life experiences, affect great change and enhance active lifestyles on as many deserving recipients as we can find. Together, we will change lives forever and for that we cannot thank you enough.”

Princes Gate Trust enhance and enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and young people and their families that have been affected by physical challenges or by life changing personal or familial circumstances. In a relatively short time since the inception of the Princes Gate Trust, its efforts have yielded life-changing results in a number of young people’s lives.