Brookside Education School from Ilford in Essex, celebrate the arrival of their brand new Sunshine Coach at the ACI UK Golf Day 2015.

Photo: Students and teachers from school are joined by Morgan McDonnell, President of ACI and Bruce Welch of Shadows’ fame, to celebrate the arrival of their new coach.

Members of ACI UK, the voice of the Financial Markets industry in the City of London, played at the beautiful and challenging Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Buckinghamshire, before joining forces to present ACI’s 53rd Variety Sunshine Coach, presented to Essex based Brookside Education.

The school is an education centre for young people aged 12 to 18, who are attending the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services hospital at Brookside and who face a variety of challenging mental health issues. Currently there are 35 young people in resident at the school. The new coach will allow Brookside School to plan therapeutic activities in advance and not rely on taxis and/or parents to provide transport, which can cause difficulties for this vulnerable group of children. It will also allow the school to increase their current activity list such as East End Climbing Wall, further enhance the curriculum and promote the integration of these young people into the community.

The presentation was followed by a splendid lunch when the golfers, sponsors and other special guests’ were entertained by Alan Hudson, magician extraordinaire. An auction and raffle held after lunch, helped raise even more money towards ACI’s 54th Coach!

Morgan McDonnell, President of ACI UK, read out a letter from Meredic Hallett, Head Teacher of Brookside Education:

“May I once again thank all at Variety and the sponsor, ACI UK,for our new coach. The young people at Brookside are an interesting bunch as I am sure you will have gathered. The students who came with us today went back to base camp absolutely abuzz and were the envy of those we had to leave behind. Part of the therapy [Brookside] offers involves normalising and participating in what are, for some of us, very ordinary activities. What your remarkable generosity will do is make it so much better – we can take a football team (and a substitute or two) to play, we can plan a picnic in the park….In essence, educational and therapeutic activity outside of our main premises is now open to a much wider number of people. It is again, with the most genuine sincerity, that I would like to thank you all for your generosity and generosity of spirit. I know that there is a pleasure and a privilege in raising money for charity but there is an equal joy in being able to acknowledge what your gift means to us. We are thrilled with what we have. From the bottom of our hearts we bless you and thank you for today – and for tomorrow”.

Photo: The representative students form the school enjoy lunch at the Golf Club

Sue Attwood, Managing Director, ACI UK said:

“ACI UK has been an active supporter of Variety for many years and we are delighted to be able to continue to fund Sunshine Coaches for the benefit of children in schools and organisations. Once again, our members dug very deep to support this event – entering teams, sponsoring event activities, donating (and bidding for) auction and raffle prizes and volunteering their time – and enabling us to provide another, much needed and appreciated, Sunshine Coach to a very deserving organisation”.

Mike Haszko, Head of Corporate Fundraising at Variety added:

“Numbers are key to those involved in the financial sector but no single number was more important than 53, reflecting the number of Sunshine Coaches funded by ACI over 17 years. So, on behalf of Variety and all the children and young people whose lives ACI UK has greatly improved, I would like to say a huge thank you. Variety is entirely reliant upon the generosity of organisations such as ACI and its membership, and to the Diamond Sponsor of the golf day, the CME Group, to enable us to carry on helping the most disadvantaged children in the UK. Their support is invaluable”.

Photo: The golfers join staff, students and special guests to join in the celebration