Going to the Ball: Joining Bradford Cinderella Club
'Did you know that Bradford Cinderella Club has been helping schools, clubs and societies include underprivileged kids in trips and more for nearly 125 years? No, nor did I. But then I met Terry.'
A member of Bradford's incredible Cinderella Club tells us what it's all about.
Did you know that free school meals for children started right here in Bradford, or that one charity makes possible school trips and treats for dozens of underprivileged kids every year?
Did you know that Bradford Cinderella Club has been helping schools, clubs and societies include underprivileged kids in trips and more for nearly 125 years?
No, nor did I. But then I met Terry.
I was flattered, honoured, to have been asked to see if I could muck in, but, I assured him, I really didn’t know how I could help. I’ve never been part of a charity: what could I do?
On a cold Thursday night, I went along to Shipley Library to the monthly committee meeting. Everyone was very friendly.
I sat and listened.
Jim, the honorary secretary, took minutes and spoke about some talks he’s going to give on the history of the club; Susan, treasurer, doled out some figures; and Terry tried his best to explain to me what was going on.
I sat and I listened. I didn’t know what was going on and I really had no idea what I could do.
After a while, it was Julie’s turn. Her job is to organise the applications which come in from individuals, schools, clubs and groups.
The Rotary Clubs of Keighley and Haworth & Worth Valley had raised money to take kids from a local special school to a theme park but needed help with the transport. Done. A primary school asked for help taking 2 kids to the zoo. Done.
And then a letter from a Bradford school... one lad had paid a deposit for a trip last year but the other payments had been missed.
He’s had a hard time recently.
He is always in early and always leaves late and is always tired and hungry.
His clothes are tatty and his lunchbox is never full.
His mum’s found it hard recently.
She had to sell her rings; she had to sell his bike.
Was there anything we could do?
I could’ve cried. I could’ve driven over there and given them the money myself. But I didn’t need to because Bradford Cinderella Club’s here for just this problem.
A quick vote – done. “He’ll need some clothes,” said Terry. “And some spending money,” said Jim. Both extras were quickly agreed. And then I knew what I could do: I’d do anything, because without Bradford Cinderella Club, kids like that would never have the childhood memories I cherish and took for granted – Whitby Abbey; Flamingo Land; a bunk barn in the Dales.
A week later and I found myself driving around Bradford spreading cheer. I had some big bags of Easter eggs, collected by some of Cinderella Club’s sponsors, staff at Car Care Plan and Virgin Media in Bradford, which I dropped off at some of Bradford’s children’s homes.
A big bag here and a big bag there and then, very near my house at a home I never knew existed, I saw a resident. She wandered past, gasped at all the treats and gave me a huge smile and a breathless ‘thank you’. I didn’t have to wonder what I could do: I was doing it.
Bradford Cinderella Club’s been giving underprivileged children the fun stuff most of us took for granted for nearly 125 years, and it’s needed now just as much as it ever was.
Before, it was a picnic outside the city, a few days in Morecambe at Hest Bank, or some new clogs and a fireguard; now, it’s a petting zoo, Lightwater Valley or some new wellies and a wet weekend in Wales.
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