Started in April 2000 by Scope, Bumblebee is a specialist Preschool that works with families to support babies and young children with physical difficulties to reach their potential.
In early 2015, after a difficult financial period, the school was closed. However, parents and staff felt so strongly for the need to continue providing such an essential service that they immediately launched a campaign to reopen the school under a new name and as a charity in its own right. Since then, the new establishment has gone from strength to strength.
As part of the continuing process of improving the school, Labour County Councillors have provided the charity with £1,229 of their Locality Budget funds to buy toys, musical instruments and other equipment.
Alison Stonham, the charity’s Principal said, “Bumblebee provides a vital service for the families that attend, reducing parental isolation and supporting the parent-child bond. Our aim is to support the child to be confident and to ‘reach for the stars’, while trying to help the family to see the child before the disability. We also regularly give talks to the wider community about our work and about the effects of disability on the developing child and its family. And we provide work experience for young people interested in working in this sector.”
Mrs Stonham continued, “Ensuring that every child is provided for and can get the most out of their experience while at the school is an ongoing task. Good equipment and facilities are a must, and the new toys, musical instruments – which are so often key to child development – and other apparatus will really help.”
Cllr Bill Quinton, who represents Priory Heath in Ipswich and has been a long-time supporter of Bumblebee, said “Bumblebee is not a big charity, but it is an important one for parents and children with special needs right across Suffolk. I have seen with my own eyes the genuinely wonderful job that they do with children and their families at Bumblebee. Supporting a small organisation like this, helping to ensure in some small way that its work is able to continue, is one of the best parts of being a Councillor. I’m very happy that the Labour Group has been able to provide Locality Budget funds for this excellent Charity.”
Helen Armitage, Labour Spokesperson for Children’s Services said, “At a time when Council support for charities and third sector services is being withdrawn, disabled young people of all ages have been hit extremely hard in Suffolk. The dedicated staff at Bumblebee help children and their families from across Suffolk to grow and learn in ways that would be unavailable to them if this school were not here.”
Cllr Armitage concluded, “I am delighted that members of the Labour Group have been able to support Bumblebee and hope that it continues to deliver the services and support that are so important to many families across the County.”