HUNDREDS of youngsters, parents and guests turned out to celebrate the Borders Additional Needs Group’s (BANG) 20th anniversary at a special party at Tweedbank Sports Centre last week.

Young people enjoyed various sports including football, tennis, hockey, archery and long jump, games such as the sack race and egg and spoon race, plus creative arts and an enormous buffet lunch with ice cream.

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Thankfully, despite the dark clouds the weather stayed fine and the event which was scheduled to finish at 2pm went on well into the afternoon.

In additional to parents and children, BANG invited a number of VIP guests from National Lottery, Scottish Autism, Scottish Borders Council and the NHS to attend to see the progress of the charity. Even 2023 Braw Lad Cory Paterson turned up.

Border Telegraph: BANG celebrate 20th anniversaryBANG celebrate 20th anniversary (Image: Borders Additional Needs Group)

Autism community coordinator and founder and CEO of BANG Pauline Grigor said: “I set up the charity 20 years ago after becoming a parent carer and not coping with the impact of this. Feeling isolated and managing a very poorly child, I aimed to set up parent group.

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"And 20 years later it has grown into a large charity employing eight staff and offering a range of services including a dedicated ASN youth project and ASN liaison worker who delivers weekly peer support groups.

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“Live Borders and BANG have been working for five years to create inclusive summer camps for families. The camp sold out within the first three days but we continuously added tickets to meet the demand. Today was an example of that hard work and collaboration.

“I could not have done this without the support of my two sons, all volunteers who have joined the charity over the last 20 years and our dedicated staff.

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“The charity offers whole family support to ASN families living in Scottish Borders as we continue to grow and design support on the needs of families, we are committed to empowering our families and youths to direct the future of our charity."

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Also in attendance was council leader Euan Jardine who said: "I was delighted to attend to witness an excellent example of partnership working.

“It was great to hear from parents and participants in the camp, who were happy to share their positive stories of the last few weeks.

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“I am keen for the partnership working to continue to deliver similar camps and opportunities throughout the year.

“Also, special thanks to the sports development team at Live Borders for all their hard work in making this possible.”