A SKIING group will hit the slopes of the French Alps next month thanks to a generous cash boost.
Sunderland Adaptive Snowsports (SAS), whose members are disabled youngsters, has been handed £4,000 by Sainsburys and its construction partner Vinci.
The donation comes after the extension to the Silksworth supermarket was recently completed.
SAS was set up in 2009 after disabled youngsters in mainstream schools expressed disappointment that they were unable to go on skiing trips with their classmates.
After forming a partnership with Disability Snowsport UK, 12 young people got the chance to enjoy a week-long residential stay in the French Alps, in March 2010.
Another party made the trip last year, with a third set to go next month.
It costs three times as much for a disabled child to go skiing, due to their need for specialist staffing, adapted equipment, transport, accommodation and tuition.
SAS subsidises each young person’s place and recruits volunteer care workers, including paediatric nurses and physiotherapists, to accompany them on the trips.
Being part of the group has greatly improved confidence in the youngsters, with one member looking to begin training as a ski instructor after initially feeling he would be unemployed because of his disability.
The mother of a boy in SAS hailed the positive impact it has had on her son.
She said: “Being away with kids of all disabilities made him appreciate his limitations and not see them as a bad thing or restrictive.
“It made him almost happy to not be normal.
“He is so much happier and coping better. It has changed his outlook on life.”
The group trains at Sunderland Ski Slope, in Silksworth, as well as the Xscape Snowdome, in Castleford, North Yorkshire.
Karen Parry, one of the teachers making the trip to France next month, said: “The money donated by Vinci and Sainsburys will make a valuable contribution towards our annual running costs, and will help to support around 30 local disabled children to have the experience of a lifetime and learn how to ski.”