An Inverness-based charity that works with young people who suffer from communication disorders is seeking to come up trumps in the latest P&J minibus competition.
Reach4reality are based in Hilton and employ three part-time members of staff, alongside a whole range of volunteers, to work with 50 to 60 young people from across the Highlands.
Aged between nine and 18, the service users all suffer from communication disorders such as autism, ADHD and Tourette’s.
Reach4reality at present also has around 20 young people on its waiting list.
The charity has said that if successful, the P&J minibus, sponsored by Nexen, would go a long way to easing the burden of transporting young people, luggage and equipment on weekends away.
Hilary Garner, treasurer of Reach4reality, said: “We work with young people initially with the view to going away for days, weekends or camps during the school holidays, where they will always be supported by a member of staff or trained volunteer.
“Getting our own minibus would make life a whole lot easier when going away to outdoor centres such as in Abernethy, where young people get to take part in a whole array of activities from canoeing, skiing and mountain biking.
“We build our getaways around young people and what they what to do and what their interests are so they really are tailored to the individuals.”
The organisation first gained its registered charity status in 2013 and has grown over the past five years, aiding young people from across the Highlands along the way.
Mrs Garner added: “Quite a lot of our youngsters are not in mainstream schools and their disabilities vary. We tend to find they can communicate verbally when given a bit of encouragement and we find getting out and about and challenging the group really brings them out of their shell.
“We usually have to take several cars for all the people, equipment and luggage so a minibus of our own would be fantastic and make life just that little bit easier.
“The feedback we get from young people and their carers is that it is a lifeline and it also allows families a bit of rest bite and a break from the provision of 24/7 care.
“We have a small but very dedicated band of volunteers. We could always do with a few more, but it is great fun for them and they get to see the benefits of the young people developing.”
Registration for the 2019 competition is open and tokens are available in your Press and Journal until February 3.
Groups are encouraged to register online where entrants can access a whole host of information to encourage their community to help collect tokens.
Groups can enter as many times as they like, as long as each entry form has 50 tokens attached.
All entries must be received by February 11. To find out more, visit www.pressandjournal.co.uk/minibus.
Last year, 140 organisations took part – with 1st Methlick Scout Group eventually driving away with the bus thanks to the 80 entries they submitted.