PARENTS and carers of children with special needs can enjoy a cuppa with a new support group that launches this month.
Smiles of Pride will meet for the first time in Starbucks at Dalton Park on Thursday, August 30.
Founder Sara Berry decided to bring parents of disabled children and those with learning difficulties together, as her five-year-old son Jack is autistic.
The mum, who lives in South Hylton, has already been offered help by charities National Autistic Society, Hope 4 Kidz and Contact A Family.
The 32-year-old said: “I never thought it would be this big. It just started off as a little idea.”
Sara, who juggles working for the NHS with bringing up Jack, decided to launch the group alongside friend Jamie Knight, who she met at Pennywell School.
Jamie, whose 10-year-old son Jake has cerebral palsy, said: “We’re all in this together, sharing, caring, believing, learning and growing.
“A foundation to grow for the future to inspire our children with the best in everything the world can offer us.”
Sara added: “When I had the idea, I contacted Jamie because she had been supportive when I had some problems accepting the way Jack was.
“It has been mind-blowing how the charities want to get involved and want to help us.
“We want to get all the charities together and get them to speak to all the families that have disabled children.”
The group eventually hopes to fund-raise for the charities involved, including the Foundation of Light, where Columbia Grange pupil Jack is honing his football skills.
“I had an education of autism because of the Foundation. I would like to see other parents get the same thing and we can all support one another,” Sara said.
The meeting starts at 6pm.