A MAN who has dedicated the last four years to raising money to grant extraordinary wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses is opening a special Shirley charity shop and sensory garden.
Matt Denning, of Matt’s Mission Children’s Charity, has now picked up the keys for his new store, on Stratford Road, which he plans to transform into a children’s wonderland.
Matt, who has spent more than 900 hours collecting money outside Solihull’s Game store, raising a whopping £16,000, has now issued a rallying call to any borough tradespeople and anyone with DIY skills who wouldn’t mind donating their time for the cause to help transform the shop.
He is especially desperate for any landscapers who would like to help transform the big back garden into a special sensory area to be used as a private playground for poorly youngsters and their families.
“I wanted to create somewhere for the children to go as there isn’t anywhere local for them to go and play which has what they need to support their special needs. All the playgrounds in the area don’t really have equipment for special needs,” Matt added.
“The back garden will have space for them to go in the summer and play on the swings – it makes such a difference for the parents who get to see their children smile.”
Matt is also looking to run craft sessions to give the siblings of those youngsters who are in hospital somewhere to go and meet other children who are going through the same thing.
Matt said: “Often the siblings get left out because their parents are always at the hospital so we wanted to do something for them and give them somewhere to go.”
A plea for materials for the shop like flooring, paint or equipment to help set-up the inside has also been put out to the community.
The shop will act as a workplace for Matt while he continues to grow the charity – the back space will only be available to parents and children and the front will sell goods and will be open to the general public.
“I was looking at the bucket list and decided I wanted to do something more that was going to help lots more poorly children,” Matt said.
“I have mixed emotions with not knowing if it will take off when I’ve put a lot of money and time into it.
“The thought of getting all the children together who we have helped into one room is amazing though.”
Matt also needs the help of volunteers to help not only with the set-up but with the running of the shop – especially from those with admin skills or childcare qualifications.
As well as this, he also needs sponsors who could help with the rent and donated items which could be sold in the shop.
Matt is also hoping to find self-employed businessmen and women who make items which could be sold in the store, with each sale being split between them and the charity.
Anyone who helps the cause will also be able to advertise their business on the shop’s windows.
E-mail Matt on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping the charity.