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A Dynamic way to help kids.

A WREXHAM schoolboy with severe speech and learning disabilities was a VIP at the official opening of a Santa's grotto raising money for the specialist centre which helps him.

Callum Roberts, 10, who is a pupil at Alexandra School, Wrexham, was there with his mum, Zara Chetwynd, to be one of the first to meet the man himself at Eagles Meadow shopping centre where all the free Christmas activities on offer will be raising money for Dynamic.

Dynamic, a Wrexham-based centre for children and young people with disabilities, supports more than 100 young people by holding after-school groups, a Saturday group, activities during school holidays and a major summer programme to support families during the long break.

Zara explained how much the charity means to her and her son, who communicates using Makaton sign language.

She said: "Dynamic means everything to us. They are always there to help. Callum goes to Dynamic once a fortnight and loves it. It's really helped him and I've seen a big improvement since they began supporting him.

"He enjoys the activities they do with him as its helps with his vocalisation.

"Dynamic have really helped by working with him on his speech.

"He's a happy boy and coming here today and meeting Santa is something he has really enjoyed."

The free Santa's Grotto, with face-painting, will be open until Monday from 10am until 4pm each day. Donations to Dynamic will be welcomed.

From 10-11am each day, there will be a quiet grotto for any children and families for whom this may be more suitable.

The shopping centre will also host a charity gift-wrapping service in aid of Dynamic, which will be part-staffed by volunteers, and welcome some special Christmas characters throughout the festive period.

Eagles Meadow marketing manager Oana Mocanasu said the team wanted to give something back to the community, so invited Santa Claus and built a magical grotto with the aim of raising as much money as possible for the charity.

She said: "Children can visit the grotto and meet Santa free of charge, but any donations will go to support Dynamic, which does amazing work supporting so many children and young people in the Wrexham area who have physical and learning disabilities.

"As a shopping centre we are very much part of the community and want to support charities such as Dynamic whenever we can.

She added: "It was lovely to see so many children here enjoying meeting Santa.

"It's difficult for children who are on the autism spectrum, for example, to queue or be in big crowds, so we invited Dynamic to bring the children early as guests of honour for the grand opening. They could enjoy the occasion without becoming too stressed.

"It was just lovely to see so many happy children. The grotto is going to be a massive hit."

Dynamic's deputy manager Amy Lynch hailed the grotto and the support the charity receives from the shopping centre.

She said: "We received support from Eagles Meadow earlier this year when they held a Passport To Summer event which was linked to the release of The Lion King. It helped raise awareness of Dynamic here in Wrexham.

"It's the same with the Santa Grotto; I can't put a price on the value of raising awareness and letting people know what we do and the children and young people we support.

"We receive 52% of our funding from the council but we still need to raise around PS100,000 a year."

Amy added: "Children such as Callum, who is such a lovely and happy boy, attend fortnightly sessions at Dynamic where we use Makaton.

"It's a system normally used with special needs children to encourage language use.

"Callum's speech is coming on even if there is still a long way to go. He was so excited about seeing Santa."

For more information, visit www.eagles-meadow.co.uk/whats-on/events.html, www.dynamicwrexham.org.uk or www.facebook.com/DynamICWREXHAMCENTER

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| Callum Roberts. Picture by Mandy Jones
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 18, 2019
Words:667
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