New Sunshine Card scheme to brighten up the lives of those with disabilities in South Tyneside

Two South Tyneside mums are set to launch a new scheme to bring a little bit of sunshine into the lives of those living with disabilities.

Lynsey Baxter and Nichola Winthrop, co-founders of the Odd Socks Foundation have announced a new scheme to support those living with or caring for someone with a disability.

Their latest initiative, the Sunshine Card, due to launch later this year, will give those with hidden and visible disabilities the chance to shop, eat out and socialise at a reduced cost.

(From left) Odd Socks founders Nichola Winthorpe and son Bobby and Lynsey Baxter with sons Oscar and Harry.

Lynsey and Nichola, who both have children with additional needs, came up with the idea in a bid to reduce prejudice and promote social inclusion.

Lynsey, mum to Harry, 13, and Oscar, 7, knows only too well how isolating the conditions such as autism can be for both the child and the parent.

“People often don’t want to go out for fear of being judged,” she said.

“We live it daily with our children and we want to change things for other people.”

The Sunshine Card due to launch later this year.

Lynsey, who sometimes attends up to 19 appointments a week with Oscar, who has a rare chromosome disorder, continued: “When you’re a carer of an autistic child it can be very difficult to find employment and carers allowance is only £120 a week.”

More than 11% of people are providing unpaid care in South Tyneside – a figure higher than the national average.

But Lynsey added: “It’s not just about prices, it’s to make people feel included in society.”

For a small cost, people will sign up to a two-year membership with the Sunshine Card, giving them access to a range of discounts and benefits.

Odd Socks are also looking for businesses, both local and national, to get involved the scheme.

“All the money will go back into the Foundation so we can continue to grow,” added Lynsey.

“The response has been amazing, proving that the need is even greater than we thought.”

For more information visit the Sunshine Card Facebook page