In July 2019, EMR partnered with The Roberts Centre, an organisation which helps children and families in the Portsmouth area tackle underlying issues such as debt, co-parenting, mental health and learning difficulties. The Centre places an emphasis on meeting the needs of young people who are often affected by their family’s difficult circumstances.
As part of the partnership, EMR paid for local children to visit Marwell Zoo, near Winchester in September, 2019. For some, it was their only trip out during the school holidays and their first ever visit to a zoo. EMR also donated new educational toys to the Centre to help children of all ages in their continued development.
Melanie Goddard, Family Services Manager at The Roberts Centre, said:
We are so happy to have formed this partnership with EMR, who approached us to offer support for our cause. It's great to see companies in the Portsmouth area supporting local people.
The funding from EMR has helped children to experience things that they might not have had access to previously, allowing them the same opportunities as other children their age whose families might not be in such difficult circumstances.
Without the support of companies like EMR we would not be able to reach so many young people.
The Roberts Centre Play Scheme received funding from EMR for transport to and from Marwell Zoo and tickets for entry. EMR also provided a packed lunch, water bottle and a rucksack for each child. As this was the first visit to a zoo for many of the children, there was a lot of excitement!
Read about the day at the zoo through the eyes of one of the Centre’s SEN (Special Educational Needs) children, for whom the trip was a wonderful new experience:
“We went to the zoo! A big coach came to pick us up – I’d never been on a coach before. Mummy doesn’t have a car so we only go where the buses can take us. I sat with my teacher and watched the cars and trees go by.
At the zoo I walked with my teacher. I don’t always get to walk with mummy; due to my autism, I don’t see danger when walking next to roads so it’s too dangerous. We saw penguins, giraffes and special Lego dinosaurs. I said “roar” when I saw them – one of the few words I have recently learnt. Walking with my teacher meant I could run with and be part of my group of friends. I followed them, babbling and pointing when we saw the cheetah.
At lunch, I sat on my teacher’s lap to eat my sandwich – it was yummy. All the children loved the water bottles too.
The land train was really exciting! I made lots of sounds as we got on the train and had a big smile on my face. My teacher pointed out the zebras and rhinos to me, as well as the big, red T-Rex. All the excitement and walking tired me out and I fell asleep on my teacher’s lap.
The coach was full of chatter on the way home, all the children talking about the animals and the fun we’d had. I smiled when my teacher named the animals again for me.
Mummy was so happy to see me at pick up time. I ran and gave her the biggest hug in the world. My teacher told mummy about all the animals we had seen and how well I had walked around the zoo. Mummy thanked my teachers for taking me and even gave my teacher a hug for helping me join in and have fun.
Thank you for letting me and my friends have this wonderful day.”