Wandle Recreation Centre Joins Forces With JK Rowling Charity Lumos

To support disadvantaged children in Central and Eastern Europe

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Wandle Recreation Centre in Mapleton Road is to donate five per cent of proceeds from children’s birthday parties booked in June to Lumos, the charity founded by JK Rowling, as part of its Light a Birthday Candle campaign. The charity is asking people to light a birthday candle or host cake and candle themed events on and around International Children’s Day on 1 June to remember children in institutionalised care who cannot celebrate their birthdays properly.
 
Year after year, the staff who look after children in large residential institutions across Eastern and Central Europe cannot give them the one-to-one attention that they so desperately need. That is why 1 June, International Children’s Day, is often chosen as the day these young people collectively celebrate their birthdays. In so doing, however, the notion of a child’s individuality is lost and some children never actually know their birth date.
 
Wandle Recreation Centre is joining the Light a Birthday Candle campaign to help inspire local families, teachers, community groups, and employees in the workplace, to host fundraising events, from Tea & Cake parties for friends, family and children to Bake & Take events at work, or to simply download a virtual candle in honour of these children.
 
TV chef, Sophie Dahl, who is supporting the campaign, says: "Thousands of children are still being institutionalised all over Europe, children so forgotten and marginalised they have lost the basic right of a birthday. Remember these children by lighting a candle for them on 1 June and holding your own fund raising tea party in their honour.”
 
Natasha Gurney, General Manager of Wandle Recreation Centre, says: “We are delighted to be supporting this vital campaign and I hope that the monies raised will help to drive forward Lumos’ work moving children out of institutions and into family-based care. Week in, week out we see local children celebrating their birthdays with their families and friends so fully understand just how important birthdays are to young people. It is devastating that there are thousands of young people so close to home that don’t even know when their birthdays are. I hope that our involvement will inspire people across the local area to support the campaign.”
 
Talking about the campaign, Lumos chief executive, Georgette Mulheir, who has seen first hand the impact of institutionalisation on young people’s lives says: “Across Central and Eastern Europe, 1 June is celebrated as International Children’s Day and is the day that many institutions celebrate the birthdays of the hundreds of children within them. This means that they are doing something for the children, but in terms of each child’s personal identity, this is yet another way of destroying and dismantling it. Though the children get the opportunity to have a special day, it is the same day for all of them; they don’t really understand what a birthday really is and what they’re missing out on.”  
 
“Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos is asking everyone to remember these children by raising money to support our work. I hope that thousands of people will get involved in the campaign on 1 June and make a birthday wish for each of these children to have the family, the care and the individual identity that they so deserve, and that they so desperately want.”
 
To find out more about Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos go to www.lightabirthdaycandle.org.uk to purchase a virtual candle and find inspiring recipe ideas from celebrity chefs, as well as other birthday tea party fundraising hints and tips. To book a party at Wandle Recreation Centre call 020 8871 1149.
 
The funds raised by this campaign will go towards Lumos’ work, helping move children out of residential institutions and into family-based care, so that next year many more children will be able to celebrate their birthday properly.
 
May 26, 2011