Firm rallies round to support young Chloe

CHARITY DRIVE 'Sarah Wilson, Claire Westerman and Robert Johnson of the Richard Alan Group with 'Chloe, Yvonne and Paul Sowden. (d233a350)
CHARITY DRIVE 'Sarah Wilson, Claire Westerman and Robert Johnson of the Richard Alan Group with 'Chloe, Yvonne and Paul Sowden. (d233a350)

A generous Dewsbury firm is rallying round to help one of its staff provide care for his disabled daughter.

The Richard Alan Group has begun a fundraising mission to help pay for day care for Chloe Sowden, who was born with Microcephaly.

The rare, debilitating condition limits growth of the brain and skull and has caused a number of medical problems throughout Chloe’s childhood, including thyroid abnormalities, grand mal seizures and learning difficulties.

Chloe, 18, also has autism, linked to her Microcephaly.

When she leaves the sixth form at Fairfield School in Heckmondwike next summer, Chloe will be unable to live independently and parents Paul and Yvonne will have to pay for day care.

Centres across the district can offer Chloe the chance to learn new skills and meet people – but costs soon mount up.

Support from the government for care fees is limited and the family, of Bywell Road, Dewsbury, will also have to fund transport for Chloe.

To help them cover the cost, the Richard Alan Group has begun a fund for Chloe and is urging other firms to donate to support Chloe as she grows into a young woman.

Group HR manager Claire Westerton said the firm was in the process of setting up a charity and hoped to expand the scheme to help other employees that face similar challenges.

“We want to help them choose a care provide based on needs and not cost, and improve quality of life for the children and their carers,” she said.

Fundraising plans include a Christmas jumper competition on Friday and a Three Peaks challenge next year, with plans for staff to volunteer in the community.

Claire said managing director Robert Johnson had always taken an interest in the lives of his staff.

“He likes to get involved and support people, he’s got a real personal touch,” she said.

Paul, a welder, has worked at Richard Alan Engineering for 10 years and said the support he had received so far was overwhelming.

He said: “It means so much to our family and will really help us to give Chloe the support and help she needs.

“Having this support from local businesses, the people around us, it means the world to us. It’s very humbling.”

Paul, 44, said Chloe could have the opportunity to learn new skills and even earn money at a day care facility.

People who would like donate to the fund or lend support can call Claire Westerman on 01924 467040.