A young boy’s dream of launching a Lego club has moved a step closer thanks to a special delivery from police officers.
Blake Simpson, 10, came up with the idea after attending a number of summer activities organised by St Aidan’s Community Group, based in New Herrington.
The registered charity, led by development manager Susan Tron, ran a series of family-focused engagement events such as sports clubs, cookery classes and holiday camps to promote community cohesion.
Around 40 children go along, including Blake, who asked staff whether they could set up a permanent Lego club to allow kids of all ages and abilities to play together.
Nichola Short, of Northumbria Police’s community engagement team, attended one of the holiday camps and says she was blown away by Blake’s enthusiasm.
“Blake was very passionate about setting up a Lego club for the whole community as he felt everybody could join in,” Nichola said.
“Some children can sometimes struggle to join in with certain activities and find socialising difficult, but Blake explained that Lego can be anything – only your imagination is the limit.
“The leaders of the group wanted to help Blake set up the club, but only had one small box of Lego for the children to use. I wanted to help this inspirational little boy and make his dream a reality.”
Nichola and the team based applied to the Northumbria Police Charities Fund for a small donation.
When successful, they headed to St Aidan’s - via The Lego Shop.
Beaming from ear to ear, Blake and his friends watched on in excitement as a special delivery arrived with enough Lego for everyone to play with.
Blake’s mum, Sara Pickford, admits her son – who has been diagnosed with autism – has found a real passion in Lego which he now wants to share with other children in the community.
“It’s always been his big hobby,” Sara, of Shiney Row, said. “He sits for hours building things up and knocking it all down again.
“Blake doesn’t play football or ride a bike like many other children, and sometimes it can be hard to persuade him to leave the house.
“But through Lego he has found something that is a calming influence.
“It enables him to play alongside other children and let his imagination run free.
“I’m so proud of him.
“His big sister, Kirsty, originally posted on social media asking for Lego donations for Blake to start the club off and we’ve since been blown away by people’s kindness.”
It is now hoped that St Aidan’s Community Group, which runs courses and classes for adults, will soon be in a position to launch a regular children’s club – with Lego among a number of activities to be enjoyed by youngsters in the community.
“With children with autism, it can be difficult – especially socialising, making friends and working as part of a team,” said Miss Tron.
“Lego is a fantastic way to bring children from all backgrounds together.
“Blake is a wonderful little boy who came up with a clever idea which can include youngsters of all abilities.
“We’re now looking to set up a regular children’s club, hopefully which we can run every fortnight, where Lego can be one of many activities on offer for the community.”