Donating a travel bed to local family

A family who live in Whitley, Reading, were delighted when their application was approved for a travel pod for their 6 year old son.

Ubaydah Amenouche who is physically disabled was born with a genetic disorder called 17q22deletion. The condition has resulted in him having global delay, profound learning difficulties, scoliosis, severe autism and double incontinence. Due to his special needs Ubaydah requires one to one care along with special equipment on a day to day basis.

Since being born the family have been unable to go on holiday or have any vital respite as Ubaydah requires a specialised bed to sleep in at all times, which also impacts Ubaydah’s younger brother. Angelina, Ubaydah’s mother, had applied to other charities and the Occupational therapy team in Reading, but all were unable to assist with her plight. Upon finding out about us, the John Sykes Foundation, from Reading Borough Council she applied to the charity and her application was accepted within a week, and four weeks later they took delivery of the specialised travel pod, just in time for Ubaydah and his Father, Youcef to visit his Grandmother.

Ubaydah’s mother said “I cannot really express my gratitude in words to this charity for how easy the application process was compared to other charities to how fast the response was and how quickly they followed through with the grant for the special needs travel bed for our son.

Usually applying to charities is a long process and a mound of paperwork so it was so refreshing to see such a different approach and quick, positive response.

The grant is quite simply life changing as we can now consider future family holidays and even respite options from family which was simply not possible before due to our son’s complex needs.”

Our founder, John Sykes, commented “Ubaydah’s particular case really touched us and the trustees’ decision to help was unanimous. Our foundation works quietly in the background to help where others cannot and this is a wonderful example of helping someone in need within our great town of Reading. I am hugely passionate about Reading and what makes me most proud is delivering on our charitable purpose, giving someone a chance to work towards a great achievement, or simply taking a helping hand. In particular helping those who do not shout the loudest and making a difference in their life means making a world of difference to me.”

Applying for a grant is easy and for more information, please visit the How We Can Help section.

John Sykes Foundation to donate a further £5,000 by the end of August 2018

Do you know someone, or are you, in need of financial support? If so, the John Sykes Foundation wants to hear from you.  

The John Sykes Foundation was launched in 2014 with the aim to support individuals from all walks of life who live within a five mile radius of Reading Town Centre, in areas such as education, health, arts, culture, heritage, sports, science, financial hardship,and/or disability. Their aim is to be there when no other avenues of support are available.

The charity, which was founded by John Sykes, who was born and bred in Reading, have a further £5,000, which they would like to pledge by the end of August. The Foundation trustees are currently searching for local residents whose lives could benefit with a little help. This could be via a one off grant, or various smaller grants divided between several individuals.

John Sykes, the Charity’s Founder said:

This summer we would like to see an increase in grant applications, and I’m hopeful that our Foundation can really engage with the Reading community and find individuals in need of our support. Because we do not specialise in any particular area our only limitation is that the individual who needs support lives in Reading and just some of the ways where the Foundation can help would be supporting:

a child or family struggling with an illness or disability by purchasing specialist equipment not available from the NHS, or even just organising a day out; or
an individual with a talent, but without financial support they would not be able to reach the next level; or
helping an individual or small group with a special project which they want to create which will benefit the Reading community for future generations.

There are so many ways we can help and so anyone thinking about applying in their own right or for someone else, we hope you will engage with us so we can understand the need.”

Some examples of where the charity has awarded grants to date include:

financially supporting an aspiring athlete to reach his ultimate goal, to compete in the Olympics;
providing a trampoline to a child with additional needs;
helping a young girl diagnosed with cancer to stay on top of her school work and explore other hobbies whilst in hospital by donating an iPad; and
Supporting 5 youths from under privileged backgrounds gain confidence.

This is to name just a few.

A Christmas card from Ufton Court!

A Christmas card from Ufton Court!

We received a beautiful Christmas card from the wonderful team at Ufton Court! Thank you! Have a happy and healthy 2018!

A treasured Thank You card

Thank You cards!

We have received a beautifully artistic Thank You card from a person we have helped recently. It will be treasured greatly.

Trampoline for young Reading boy

A trampoline for a young Reading boy

Recently, we were able to provide a fun trampoline to a young Reading boy with special needs, which would prevent him from doing all the things children his age would normally do. Both for him and his family, the trampoline has made such a difference.

We worked closely with Darren Smyth from Argos and Dene Tonna, who both helped us provide this for him.

He loves playing on it with his family, and it’s amazing to put a great smile on his face!


More news with Thea

£1000 donation to Thea

Almost a year ago now, we donated an iPad to Thea, who has, for nearly 2 years, been suffering with a rare form of bone cancer. Thea, and her Mum, Ali, have been battling through this tough time, and it has been getting even more difficult with more complications being added on to Thea’s struggle.

We have kept a great contact with Thea and Ali, and what Ali finds hard is keeping Thea’s spirits lifted, especially being a single parent with tight funds. It is even more difficult with Thea being unable to do the activities that others of her own age would not.

The John Sykes Foundation recently donated £1000 to Thea and Ali, of which they were both overwhelmed by. Ali said “It will make such a difference being able to afford to buy things, which will make a difference over the forthcoming months.”

This would consequently make a difference in Thea’s reaction to her treatment, as both her and her Mum would have their spirits lifted up, because they wouldn’t have to worry as much!

We’re here for you Thea!

Warm seasonal wishes from Thea and Ali Clarke

Warmest wishes at Christmas.

The JSF received a lovely Christmas card from Thea and Ali.

Hand delivered by Ali Clarke, Thea’s Mum. A beautiful Christmas card hand painted in watercolours by Thea. 


Thea Seasonal Greetings 2

Super Cars raise funds!

A supercar event took place at the Michelin starred L’Ortolan restaurant in Shinfield on Wednesday 23rd September. The cars were a spectacular sight as they lined up outside the restaurant in the morning sunshine.

With 8 supercars ready to drive, the day was a unique opportunity to enjoy driving a dream car. The cars included a Tesla P85D, McLaren 650s, Aston Martin N430, Lamborghini Huracan, Bentley GTC, BMW i8, Jaguar F-Type and Maserati Quattroporté. The selection was stunning.

Those lucky enough to enjoy the amazing driving experience were able to drive their chosen car on the open roads around the area; they experienced the thrill of being behind the wheel and enjoying the roar of the engine. Guests then returned to the restaurant for champagne and canapés and a three-course gourmet lunch specially designed for the occasion by Head Chef Tom Clarke.

The event was held to raise funds for the John Sykes Foundation. The event raised an amazing £1800. Thanks go to the local car dealerships, HR Owen, Ascot McLaren, Lancaster Jaguar, Inchcape BMW and Tesla who without their support the event would not have been possible.

Andrew Strong, Trustee from the charity said “We are absolutely delighted that L’Ortolan have agreed to support us, this is a prestigious event that we are proud to be part of knowing that the funds raised will make a real difference to the individuals we aim to support in the Reading area, thank you to everyone who has made today very special for all those involved.”

Sally Albin, Marketing Director for L’Ortolan said “The day has been a huge success and our guests thoroughly enjoyed the unique opportunity to not only drive but see so many supercars up close. The atmosphere was relaxed with a blend of excitement and enthusiasm which made the day complete.”

Thames Path Challenge

The JSF Walkers set off on Sunday 13th September to take on the 25km Thames Path Challenge. Walking from Cookham to Henley-on-Thames.

A team of 6 ladies, including, Debbie Atkins, Tara Taylor, Josephine Blyth, Diksha Chakravarti, Grainne Ridge and Vickie Randall all living in and around Reading had trained and prepared for the walk before the event. They were ready to go!

Thankfully the weather remained dry as the event saw over 3,000 participants taking part with some walking the ultimate 100km from London to Henley over the entire weekend. The organisers predict that the challenge event will raise over £3 million for 500 different charities.

The JSF team have raised over £850 to date! Well done to you all and thank you, if you would like to add your support please donate here. Well done to all the team, your brilliant efforts are very much appreciated.

Smiling through adversity

Thea Clarke is 13 and lives in Reading. She loved to play football, enjoyed playing the drums, listening to music and going to school at the Willink School in Burghfield.

In January 2014 she fell and hurt her leg. The pain persisted and the usual Doctors appointments followed. She was consequently misdiagnosed until September 2014 when the family received the shattering news that she had Ewing Sarcoma, which was present in her femur.

Ewing Sarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 10 to 20 years old. It’s an aggressive form of cancer and requires intensive treatment. As a result of diagnosis Thea underwent an operation to harvest eggs and ovarian tissue and insert a Hickman line. She then underwent intensive chemotherapy for 18 weeks.

In March 2015 she had an operation to remove bone and tissue and insert a metal knee joint, which was screwed into her tibia and femur. Thea is undergoing consolidation chemotherapy for another 24 weeks.

The John Sykes Foundation became aware of Thea’s plight and decided to help. Whilst undergoing treatment Thea has been struggling with school work and being able to get on with any kind of normal life, she’s constantly having treatment and in and out of hospital.

When the foundation discovered that Thea wanted an ipad plans were made to bring a smile to her face. Representatives from the foundation went to meet Thea and listen to her story. As a result the foundation were able to present Thea with an ipad air.

Thea was absolutely thrilled and said, “Thank you so so much for my iPad. I love it!

The foundation recently worked with the organisers of Reading Festival to get Thea along to see her favourite bands. Around her intense treatment programme she was able to get along to the Friday of the Festival and had an amazing day seeing bands she loved. Thea’s Mum said, “Thank you for organising the day at Reading – Thea had a great time and it rocked!!!”

Thea has ongoing treatment and the foundation hope to support her through such a difficult time.