Sam's Superheroes was founded by Rachel in 2021 to create an ever-lasting legacy for Sam, her much-loved kind and gentle son who in died in May 2021, aged five years old. Sam's love of superheroes is at the heart of our charity, but it also embodies his other loves and values. We fund and carry out emotional well-being activities centred around kindness and his love of animals, crafting, outdoors, music and nature. We are proud to have trained Sam's dog, Daisy, as a Therapy Dog who visits local organisations and schools on behalf of Sam's Superheroes, making people smile by sprinkling her superhero magic where ever she goes! In addition, we try to raise awareness of the exceptionally rare Febrile Infection Related Epilepsy Syndrome (F.I.R.E.S.)., which strikes out of the blue, in previously healthy people, the outcomes of which are usually catastrophic.
The main location where we operate is Derby and the surrounding areas. This is also the area where our Therapy Dog service operates. Sam grew up in Mickleover, situated just outside of Derby. He was born at Derby Royal Hospital, attended the wonderful Orange Tree Day Nursery Mickleover and from there he went on to attend the fabulous Silverhill Primary School. But Sam also had a strong connection to Blackpool, it was a like a second home for him. He visited many times throughout his short life to see his grandparents, aunties, cousins and friends. Therefore as so many people live in the Blackpool & Fylde area that knew and loved Sam, and who also crucially want to play an active part in his legacy, in 2022 we made a decision to operate a satellite branch of Sam's Superheroes in that area. In addition, Sam's mummy Rachel, was also born in Blackpool and lived there until 2015. Hopefully that gives you some insight into why we have also chosen to operate in Blackpool as well as Derby; this location was simply hugely significant in Sam's life. We feel it is very important that funds raised within the Blackpool & Fylde area support initiatives specifically for their local community. Sam's aunty Rhiannon has already forged strong links with the children's ward play specialist team at Blackpool Victoria hospital gifting crafting activities.
WHAT WE DO
ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES
Sam's Superheroes funds animal assisted therapeutic activities by collaborating with professional organisations, such as those offering ground based equine assisted therapies. We fund a set number of animal assisted therapeutic activities each year, dependent on the availability of funds. Nominations for these sessions will be provided by key professionals, multi-disciplinary agencies such as schools, charitable/non-profit organisations, health care providers, council service providers to ensure funding is directed to those who are in most need.
Sam’s superheroes provides a small Therapy Dog service to a variety of schools and organisations, to bring comfort and support into the lives of children and adults with emotional well-being needs. This will initially be provided by our own Therapy Dog, but our long-term strategy includes a wider Therapy Dog Service through a network of local volunteers using their own Sam’s Superheroes assessed dogs. Daisy, our Therapy Dog has received advanced training and has been assessed/certified by Pets As Therapy. Daisy also plays an important role in professional therapy sessions, conducted by specialist organisations, helping to improve therapeutic outcomes. She can help improve engagement and interaction between the recipient and therapist, sooth and calm an anxious person, making therapy less intimidating by simply lightening and brightening the mood, support a person to communicate more openly and honestly and give them an increased motivation to attend sessions. The impacts that Daisy can make are endless!
Daisy currently works with Bridge the Gap Child Mental Health Derby, Redwood Primary School, Silverhill Primary School and Umbrella Derby (a charitable organisation supporting disabled children and young people).
CARRYING OUT AND FUNDING KINDNESS, & EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING INITIATIVES
We focus on activities that provide therapeutic benefits from nature, outdoors, crafting, music and animals. This includes partnering up and collaborating with professional organisations, and also carrying out our own initiatives such as providing emotional well-being packs, kindness projects, hosting small events, holding crafting groups and Sam’s Superheroes Dog Therapy drop-in sessions. (Parents or carers must be present if Sam’s Superheroes hosts an event for children or vulnerable people.)
In essence we help fund and host initiatives that capture all things that Sam loved. We want to give children and families access to some of the amazing childhood experiences that we were blessed to give Sam; some of which may have life changing impact for them. We know first hand the positive impact that animals have on emotional well-being so giving people access to a Community Therapy Dog is a key objective.
Small grants will be given to fund experiences, holidays, or items that provide emotional well-being benefits to individuals or families who require an enhanced level of support due to illness or financial hardship etc. Nominations for these grants need to be supported by a person from a key professional agency/organisation, such as a school, religious place of worship, health care service provider, council service provider, or other charitable/non-profit organisation etc., to ensure funding is directed to those who are most in need.
PROMOTING AWARENESS AND RESEARCH FOR F.I.R.E.S.
We try and raise awareness of the exceptionally rare Febrile Infection Related Epilepsy Syndrome (F.I.R.E.S.), which strikes out of the blue, in previously healthy people, the outcomes of which are usually catastrophic. We use a variety of communication channels for this including our website and social media. In addition, we aim to collaborate with other professional organisations such as the NORSE Institute (New Onset Refractory Status Epilepticus) in the United States, and other epilepsy charities and where appropriate, will share Sam’s F.I.R.E.S. story to help generate awareness of this devastating syndrome.
REGISTERED CHARITY STATUS
Achieving registered charity status is exceptionally important to us. One of the many benefits it provides is giving confidence to the general public and those supporting us that we are adequately governed. Our aim is to become a registered charity by mid-2022 and we are actively on target to meet this as we submitted our application to the Charity Commission on 10 April 2022. We have an exceptionally strong team of Trustees on board who are committed to helping change lives through our charity work, and we are already operating with the Charity Commission's recommended Constitution and Governance framework.
If you can help or support us in any way, no matter how small please do get in contact. See our contact page for ways to get in touch.