ANKERSIDE Shopping Centre is appealing to Tamworth to donate dresses, suits and accessories for a charity which is organising a glamorous prom night to remember for youngsters affected by complex health issues.
Recently opening at Unit 39B – adjacent to Vision Express – at Ankerside is national children’s loneliness charity, Friend Finder Official, which helps young people with disabilities, long-term and life-limiting conditions connect with peers experiencing similar circumstances.
The pop-up residency is for the charity to collect glamorous clothing for those who are supported by its services to wear for Birmingham’s inaugural Friend Finder Prom. The glittering event – organised by the charity’s inspirational, teenage founder, Lewis Hine – takes place on Friday 13 July at The Belfry.
Mark Burbridge, Ankerside’s new centre manager, says the story behind the charity is hugely inspiring. “So that guests don’t need to worry about what to wear to the fantastic Friend Finder Prom, we are kindly appealing to Tamworth for donations of eveningwear suitable for children and teenagers, in all sizes and of a wearable condition.
“We want to make sure that all the amazing people supported by the charity have an unforgettable time celebrating friendship,” said Mark. “It’s so important that they have their minds taken off their health matters, so they can truly enjoy just being children and have great memories of the night.”
Friend Finder Official was founded three years ago by 17-year-old Lewis from Portsmouth, following his own serious illness and the loneliness that ensued from not being able to attend school on a regular basis.
The Friend Finder community has grown rapidly in just a few years and to honour its success, its first-ever prom was held last year in Lewis’ home town, with events now happening across the country.
Everything at the prom is free including attendance, food and accommodation and there are a few remaining tickets to be snapped up. To be part of this fantastic night, simply send a nomination for yourself or someone else to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emma Hine, mum of Lewis and CEO of Friend Finder Official, said: “We are thrilled to be at Ankerside Shopping Centre, as it’s a place where different generations of the community come for a day out. It’s a great platform from which we can raise awareness about the charity and spread the word about the prom night event.
“We will be so grateful if members of the public can please have a look in their wardrobes for any items they wouldn’t mind parting with,” said Emma. “Everything we collect gets worn, cleaned and offered to someone else, so we get lots of use from them.
“I know Lewis is extremely excited to be bringing Friend Finder to the Midlands for his debut event there and helping many disabled and chronically-sick children come to prom and have the night of their life and most importantly, make new friends,” Emma added.
Donations can be delivered to the Friend Finder Official Shop at the centre, at Unit 39B at Ankerside Shopping Centre from Mondays to Saturdays between the hours of 11am and 4pm.