Charity and founders win two more awards

Isla Wilson, MC for the event, Jane Halpin, Denise Armer and Heather Waters from NatWest Bank, award sponsor.
Isla Wilson, MC for the event, Jane Halpin, Denise Armer and Heather Waters from NatWest Bank, award sponsor.

Disabled children’s charity Unique Kidz and Co and its founders Jane Halpin and Denise Armer are celebrating with two more awards to add to their growing collection.

The charity has won the prestigious Best Supporting Business Award in the national Mumpreneur Awards held in Birmingham last week.

Jane Halpin and Denise Armer at the Mumpreneur Awards.

Jane Halpin and Denise Armer at the Mumpreneur Awards.

Mumpreneur UK is the UK’s leading support network for mums in business, offering advice, resources, articles and events to parents who run their own business.

The icing on the cake was the provided at the weekend with an Enterprise Vision Award (EVA) for Inspirational Woman of the Year for both Jane and Denise.

The Mumpreneur Awards recognise the extra challenges self employed mothers face who very often run and structure their businesses around their children.

More than 2,000 women were nominated for the 2013 awards.

The EVA Awards recognise women in the region who are inspiring others by successfully running their own businesses or are at the forefront of their profession.

The awards are organised by the Pink Link business network group.

Co-founder Jane Halpin said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have won these awards for our charity.

“Both myself and Denise experienced severe difficulties and barriers when trying to find suitable childcare to allow us to take up work opportunities and with a clear need from other parents with disabled children we decided to make a difference and open a childcare facility for disabled children ourselves.”

Co-founder Denise Armer added: “We are so proud of what we and the charity have achieved and winning the Mumpreneur and EVA Awards is true recognition of all the hard work. We couldn’t be happier!”

Unique Kidz and Co is the one of very few providers in Lancashire to offer after school and holiday childcare specifically for disabled children.

The aim is to give disabled children the opportunity to play and socialise after school and in school holidays in a safe yet stimulating environment.

For parents it provides a greater opportunity to pursue a career or training, spend time with other children, or simply take a break.

The charity has grown rapidly since it was founded by Jane Halpin and Denise Armer who both have children with special needs.

It now provides services to more than 130 children.

Unique Kidz and Co currently operates its services from the Loyne School in Lancaster but is now developing its own new premises at Lancaster Leisure Park which are due to open in April 2014.

At an event on Monday, October 21, the charity will launch a major fundraising campaign to ‘Kit it out for the Kidz’. The aim is to raise £75,000 to equip the centre with the essentials it needs to be able to open.

The local community is invited to attend the launch and find out more about the Kit it out for the Kidz campaign and how to help.

Unique Kidz and Co have also won an EVA Award for New Business (2012); Small Social Enterprise of the Year (2012) by Selnet, the lead body for social enterprise in Lancashire; and Small Social Enterprise of the Year by Social Enterprise North West (2013).