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GOSH! You know it makes Sense! Meet some of the charities we are proud to support

It is one of the great pleasures of working with Irvin Leisure that each week they use their popular family fairs to raise funds for charities linked to the areas in which they work. This article gives some information on a few of these worthy causes, and we hope that you will look at the websites of these groups and then make a contribution of your own too, either in time or in money. Both would be appreciated and would be used to maximum effect.


First, Sense. (It should really be sixth Sense to be slightly amusing, but still!). Last month George Irvin entered the House of Lords. Now if you believe the popular press (and who does!) the modern way to get in there is to give money to a political party (the CPS says this is not true and we always believe them) while in the old days the way to get in was to have a mother who has been “friends”, ho ho, with a King.  Still George got in there because he had been invited by the Worshipful Mayor of Camden, Councillor Dawn Somper, to a dinner to support her chosen charity, Sense.

Sense is a national charity that supports and campaigns for children and adults of all ages who are deafblind. Deafblindness is a combination of both sight and hearing difficulties. Most of what we learn about the world comes through our eyes and ears, so deaflblind people face major problems with communication, access to information and mobility. Sense provides specialist information, advice and services to deafblind people and their carers.

When we were in Kilburn Grange Park in September profits from the entry fee to the fair were be paid to Councillor Somper to go towards her fund to make a donation to support this great cause so everyone who comes along will play their part. You can make your own contribution now, so turn to their website,  for more information on their important work. It is well worth a read to appreciate the needs of this group, and the superb initiatives that are making such a difference to their lives.

Sense has worked with deafblind people and their families for over 50 years. They have set up services where they are needed, campaigned vigorously for change and built up a worldwide reputation for pioneering work but they recognise there is much more to be done. They also work with people with single sensory impairments and a wide range of other difficulties, including physical disabilities, learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

Pictured above is Emily, whose Mum Melissa says was born deaf and blind, and until she found Sense each day was utterly heartbreaking. However Melissa says that after just one day with Jenny, a Sense Specialist worker, Emily’s life changed and she can now communicate and is no longer frightened and frustrated. Your contribution can make a world of difference to many children like Emily.

You may not know, but most borough Mayors have their own nominated charities and usually when we visit an area we raise money for these either through an entrance fee as in Kilburn, or through special price days, and you will see details of these on our forthcoming fairs pages. All of these charities are doing vital work and we admire the spirit and enthusiasm of the volunteers who help them and the staff who put in such long hours to make them succeed. We cannot list them all but if you visit the website of your own home local authority, on the Mayor’s page it will tell you who they are supporting this year so you can get involved. However we would like to highlight some of the other groups for whom we raise funds for a little special attention as they are long standing partners of ours.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Appeal

While at Roe Green, Kingsbury, on 9th August we once again held a special day for GOSH, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Appeal. You will all have heard of London’s Great Ormond Street, the world-renowned Children’s Hospital, as when he was a boy the hospital cured the young Prince Charles. However I really think they should be forgiven for this after all this time and strongly urge you to support the rest of their necessary and pioneering work in children’s medicine. GOSH is featured on other news articles on our site, and you can visit their website on and we not only raised money for GOSH in Roe Green but also for the Mayor of Brent’s charity and for the Barn Hill Conservation Group, who work hard to protect Brent’s beautiful open spaces.

Starlight Foundation

There is the Starlight Foundation for Seriously and Terminally Ill Children who have for the past two years benefited from our launch day for the fabulous London’s Fair in Hyde Park. By the way, we have also used that event to raise funds for the Royal Parks own charitable fund so a double dose of charitable giving. You can find out more about our work with Starlight from the webpages and on the charity via their website We have always found Starlight an inspiration, not only in the families and the young people themselves who are admirable and great to work with, but in the staff and volunteers of this hard working and innovative charity who have created publicity for their work and for our fairs in equal measure. It has been a privilege to work with them in the past and we promise them we will find a venue fit for them in the future, see below for reason!

Sadly, in their infinite wisdom the Royal Parks have decided to replace the unique popular London’s Fair with the first ever Ice Rink in London, (apart from all the others of course; there are at least 7 of them already) and Starlight will not only miss out on the finances and the publicity from this special day, but the children and their families will lose the treat of coming at any time free of charge to enjoy all the fun of this super festival. So will the blind groups, the groups with special needs, the local youth clubs, the young carers and thousands of others nominated by their local communities to have a free day out in the centre of London. Charity begins at home but ends in the Royal Parks Offices.

Still, standing in Hyde Park there are only three other ice rinks to which you could walk as the rest of them involve at least a ten minute bus trip, and we are sure it will be great fun for the few folks who go along. After all the Royal Parks have a great record of hosting special events, such as the Star Trek Exhibition which boldly went where no one had gone before, only to find that no one went to the exhibition either, and the Ramadan Marquee which did not have a prayer of succeeding. We wish Winter Wonderwhat? as it is named luck, as they will need it, and suggest to any “No win no fee” injury lawyers that hanging around the Serpentine from the end of November to the beginning of January may well be worth while if the usual safety record of these rinks is anything to go by. More on this later and we will soon give you the alternatives for the 250,000 people who enjoyed the fair last year. We will not forget Starlight and their families plus the 2,000 London kids who came as our guests, even if the Royal Parks have never considered them worthy of thought at all. Their having mixed the imagination and originality of a photocopier, the loyalty of Ashley Cole and the community spirit of investment bankers (rhyming slang can be used there) we wish Whinging Wonderwall everything it deserves.

Wembley Hospital Appeal

Finally in our highlighted charity section, we would like you to consider the Wembley Hospital Appeal which is part of the annual summer fair in Barham Park, Wembley, and which is staged as a condition of the bequest from George Barham to Brent Council that donated the park to the public. You can read more about this on our news pages as well, including the history of the park and of the Barham Family, whose fortune was made in Express Dairies, unlike Alistair Campbell who seeks to make his in Ex Press Diaries.

We invite all the charities from all the boroughs in which we work to take the initiative of Sense in sending us details on their operations so that we can feature them on these sheets. Great works deserve praise and recognition. Those who spend their time and effort in charitable deeds are truly everyday heroes. Let us bring your work to the attention of both our readers!

The views expressed in this item are the personal opinions of the author and are not necessarily shared by Irvin Leisure, or anyone else with any common sense at all.