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ITV’s Sangeeta Bhabra spends the day with “delightful” children at Thatcham special needs centre Swings & Smiles



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Journalist Sangeeta Bhabra paid a friendly visit to special needs centre Swings & Smiles recently to lend a helping hand.

The presenter of the regional news programme Meridian Tonight is a carer for her younger brother and became a patron of the charity in the 2020 lockdown as it is a cause “close to [her] heart”.

She recently popped down to Thatcham to meet volunteers, see the children and make a “glittery mess”.

ITV's Sangeeta said she was delighted to pay another visit to the centre. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641617)
ITV's Sangeeta said she was delighted to pay another visit to the centre. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641617)

She said: “Although I’ve visited before it’s never been possible on a work day when the centre is fully functioning so I was delighted to get the opportunity to volunteer through ITV.

“I was so impressed by all the volunteers, kind, caring and so compassionate.

“Many of them were young people giving up their time at the end of a school day to genuinely care for children, some of whom had severe disabilities.

Sangeeta has been a patron since the 2020 lockdown. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641621)
Sangeeta has been a patron since the 2020 lockdown. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641621)

“The children I met were all delightful and were encouraged to get stuck in with playtime.”

It wasn’t all fun and games though, she got stuck in with the day’s events and help build a new sensory swing for the centre's sensory room.

She added: “Putting together the £3,000 swing was a challenge, thank God for my gorgeous flat pack helpers Amy and Sarah.

“I'm so proud of the work that goes on there and to be associated with them.”

Sangeeta got stuck in with helping the team with their daily activities. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641623)
Sangeeta got stuck in with helping the team with their daily activities. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641623)

Swings & Smiles marketing and fundraising manager Lucille Harrison said: “She wanted to come and do a day volunteering with us and she was involved with what was going on that day as well.

“It was brilliant for Sangeeta, it means she can meet some of the children and see what it’s like, see the reality of a session.

She added: “The staff said she was really lovely and bubbly, with an infectious personality.

The new sensory swing at the centre. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641619)
The new sensory swing at the centre. Picture by: Swings and Smiles. (52641619)

“She also got to meet the children who have lovely personalities.

“For us it is great to be able to show her what we do.”



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