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Minister for Civil Society spends a day with Dingley

  • On Monday last week, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP was warmly welcomed as a volunteer by local Berkshire charity, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres.

    Mr Wilson MP, eager to gain hands on experience with a charity in his constituency of Reading East, contacted Localgiving last week to help him identify a group to work with.

    Longtime Localgiving member, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres, sprang to mind immediately. Dingley provides a unique space where young children with disabilities can go to develop skills through play. Parents and carers are also welcomed, providing a place to make friends, share experiences and gain valuable respite.

    Since joining Localgiving in 2011, Dingley has consistently inspired us with the life-changing impact it delivers to beneficiaries. Where better for Mr Wilson to learn more about the vital work that local charities and community groups do?

    Mr Wilson spent the morning of Monday 18th January with the staff and children of The Dingley Centre in Reading, taking part in ‘Learning Through Play’ sessions. Working in close partnership with other education and health care professionals, Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres provide regular therapy sessions, as well as training and support for parents and carers.

    Throughout the morning, Mr Wilson MP was given the opportunity to see the benefits of the therapies on offer for children. He was even lucky enough to make some new young friends in the process! Two children shared their toys and interacted happily with him. Working alongside his mentor, Kathryn Mitchell, he motivated and guided a child to communicate with others through the exchange of a photograph to indicate what the child wanted to do.

    Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, said:

    It was a real pleasure to be able to volunteer at Dingley Family Centre today. The charity provides fantastic support to children and families across Reading and I hope that my morning of volunteering was helpful to them. I encourage everyone to dedicate some time to volunteering so that great causes like this can continue to help those who need it”

    Catherine McLeod MBE, CEO of Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres, was equally enthusiastic about the visit, commenting that:

    It was great to see our local MP taking the time to volunteer in a local charity, learning about the demands and joys of working in our sector. It has been a testing time for many charities, and so we were delighted to be chosen to host the Minister for Civil Society…Mr Wilson had the chance to interact with children and families, which will give him a valuable insight into some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis, and why the contribution of the local voluntary sector is so important.”

    Localgiving is delighted that the Minister for Civil Society has taken the opportunity to visit one of our member groups and is glad he enjoyed his experience with Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres. We believe that through volunteering, MPs can gain a real understanding of the essential work carried out by local charities and community groups in their constituency every day.