James Harris's Cumbria Way trek

Fundraising for Friends of the Mendip School PTA
raised of £10,000 target
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We support the work of the Mendip School to help kids with autism & SLC needs


James Harris is a 15 year-old student at the autism-specialist Mendip School in Somerset, and a keen hill-walker. Over the May half-term holiday, with his Dad and his sister, he'll be walking the 70-mile Cumbria Way, between Ulverston and Carlisle.

Along the way, the aim is to raise money for the Mendip School's swimming pool appeal.

The school has planning permission for a pool, and £1.2 million of the £1.5 million it needs to start building work. That last chunk of funding is urgently needed. 

James can now swim, but achieving confidence in the water was something he found difficult. For many autistic people, learning to swim is made even harder by the unfamiliarity, noise and sensory overload of most pools. If Mendip School pool is built, all its pupils would be able to access swimming once a week throughout the year, and those with mobility and occupational therapy needs would make much greater progress. The school would also be able to offer further skills development through life-saving lessons, canoeing, aqua fit etc. This would enable the staff to better prepare pupils for their future.  

Students at the Mendip School travel from a massive catchment area which includes Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Bath and NE Somerset. Staff and pupils there believe that they deserve the same opportunities to access swimming and exercise as those people living in wealthier urban areas. 

We'll be posting updates as we get ready to walk, and as we do it!

Friends of Mendip School PTA, Reg Charity 1190007

About the charity

The Mendip School is for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or speech language communication needs (SLCN) from ages 4-19. The Friends of the Mendip School PTA raises money to provide activities, facilities or equipment which support our children at the school. Charity reg. no. 1190007

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