Libby* is just 11-years-old, but she has lived a life and bears the scars of an adult twice her age.
When she was eight, the youngster faced the horrendous ordeal of dealing with her mother who was battling with a drug addiction, which resulted in her mum going to hospital.
Home life was chaotic and upsetting. At just a tender age, when life should be about innocent dreams and full of hope, Libby was struggling to contend with the mayhem around her and, as a result, this knocked her confidence.
It was only a matter of time before Libby was taken into care by social services. Pretty soon after, she lost contact with her younger siblings, and was eventually placed with a foster family.
But from such despair, a beam of light appeared in Libby’s life through the charity CHICKS.
CHICKS began in 1992. Since then, nearly 16,000 children have benefitted from a week-long respite break organised by the charity. Libby is just one example of a vulnerable child who needed the support from CHICKS.
Derby Daybreak Rotary has played a key part in funding for the charity, and also revamping one of three premises where respite breaks are held.
Dave Laughlin, Rotary member of six years, was touched by the work of CHICKS.
After taking the role of president in the club, Dave decided that he wanted to support a charity that benefitted children and a charity that would appreciate funding from Rotary.
“Once I visited Daleside CHICKS, I knew that they would use the money wisely for the benefit of children who needed it.
“During my presidential year, we raised just over £10,000 but by far the most satisfying aspect of the support was project for the renovation of previously unloved garden at the main entrance to the centre. Derby Daybreak members and I donated hours in renovating and furnishing the green.
“My favourite fundraiser was a St Patrick’s Day Dinner, which attracted nearly 100 people and generated around £2,500.”
Once I visited Daleside CHICKS, I knew that they would use the money wisely for the benefit of children who needed it.”
Every week from February through to December, nearly 650 children benefit from attending a week-long break at CHICKS’ retreats.
Each break is divided into school key stage ages: KS2 (ages 8-11), KS3 (ages 11-13) and KS4 (ages 14-15).
Izzy James has been a volunteer for the children’s charity for nearly four years. She said, “As soon as I arrived on my first day I knew that I wanted to help. I met the team, and I am still in awe of our amazing Respite Break Leaders who work directly with the children.
“CHICKS was a perfect opportunity for me to give back. I feel very privileged each day to be part of the larger CHICKS family, and working with our local Rotary club.
“Dave’s enthusiasm, spirit and drive for our charity is incredible. Thank you Rotary!”
You can book a speaker for your club here.
*Libby’s story is representative of many children’s who are referred to CHICKS’ services