A business set up by an inspirational 22-year-old less than six months ago has had ‘amazing feedback’ so far – and is now looking for more support to help it grow.
In November, Poppy Fuller, of Blackbourne Chase, Littlehampton, used her own savings to launch Kids Blossom.
She was inspired by her younger sister Blossom, who has a wide variety of additional needs and disabilities.
The company runs activity sessions for children aged five and above with disabilities every Saturday morning from St Laurence’s Church hall in Sea Place, Worthing.
Kids Blossom, which has an open-door policy and welcomes ‘anyone who is going to enjoy it and benefit’, started with just one regular client, but has grown to accommodate 27 young people.
Poppy said: “It’s such an achievement for all of us.
“We are continuing to grow every week and getting fantastic feedback.
“I never thought it would be possible but I now have an amazing team and we are doing amazing things.”
Their success so far has been helped by the generosity of Peter Hess, the managing director of Lancing-based business MediP.
He was inspired to get involved with Kids Blossom after reading about its launch in this newspaper.
He said Poppy was an ‘incredibly determined person’, adding: “I was in awe of her and her strength as a young person to pursue a business with disabled children.
“I support them as much as I can to keep them going.”
As a father-of-four himself, he said helping children was a cause ‘very close’ to his heart.
MediP has helped Kids Blossom with its rental payments, provides equipment and has paid for specialist training for staff members – which Poppy said was ‘really helpful’.
The company is also sponsoring one of the children who relies on Kids Blossom – 11-year-old William Sainsbury, who ‘absolutely loves the drums’ – presenting him with his own special drum kit and noise-cancelling headphones last Saturday.
Peter is now keen to encourage other businesses in the area to support the service by donating funds or sponsoring a child themselves.
Poppy has big plans for the future of the business, which will be running a three-week summer holiday scheme this year at Oak Grove College in Worthing.
She also hopes to be able to provide after-school clubs for children in the future – but it is all dependant on funding.
The service has just two full-time members of staff and otherwise relies on volunteers.
“We are struggling at the moment, it has grown quickly,” Poppy said.
“We are really keen to get more volunteers involved to allow more people to access our service, especially some that need one to one support.”
Reflecting on the progress of Kids Blossom over the last six months, Poppy said: “It doesn’t feel like I’m working – I’ve got such a passion for it.”
It was as Blossom was growing up that Poppy noticed the ‘extremely limited services available’ in the area to help families like hers.
She said: “I wanted to give families in similar situations to mine the respite, time and understanding which is much-needed.
“Some families that come to us are almost in crisis, they really can’t cope.
“That four hours every Saturday – even just to do the shopping – they come back and they are completely different people.”
She admitted that setting up the business had been a ‘big step’.
“I’m young, I’ve never done anything like it before,” she said. “But I just thought there’s no better time, I’ve got to just go for it.
“Helping all those families feels very much worth it.”
New drum kit brings a smile to William
The mother of an 11-year-old boy at Kids Blossom said the new drum kit donated by Peter Hess and the team at MediP will make her son’s Saturdays ‘extra special’.
Keen drummer William Sainsbury suffers from the rare life limiting condition MPS1, also known as Hurler disease, and has profound learning difficulties.
His mother, Karen, said: “We are very grateful to Peter for sponsoring William with a drum Kit.
“This is William’s favourite pasttime and he will happily drum all day.
“So having this at Kids Blossom just makes his visits there extra special.”
William has been a regular visitor to Kids Blossom ever since it opened. Karen described it as ‘an amazing facility’ which catered for William’s complex needs and made him feel ‘comfortable and happy’.
“Poppy and her team have created an wonderful environment with loads of activities in a relaxed setting,” Karen said.
“William now comes home every Saturday with a very big smile on his face, which is testament to their professional and nurturing care.”
To find out more, donate or sponsor a child, visit kidsblossom.co.uk