Remembering Peter Blackburn

Today we remember our founder Peter Blackburn, who sadly passed away last week (on the same day as Sir Captain Tom, which we feel is quite fitting in terms of his legacy of kindness and generosity).

Peter Blackburn, who passed away on the 2nd February 2021, was a founder member of Nansa and also, over many years, a highly-valued fundraiser, Trustee and Patron of our charity.

Peter, a farmer from Pulham Market, along with his wife Alice and a small group of parents of children with disabilities, founded Nansa in 1954 after his daughter Joy was born with cerebral palsy.

The newly-formed group supported each other and new parents, and also raised awareness through fundraising events and activities. The charity grew and later joined forces with national Scope (which had also been formed in the early 1950s) to raise funds for the Nansa Work Centre which was then opened in 1965.

Peter was also part of a regional fundraising group which established a Scope Family Help Unit/Respite Centre in Bury St Edmunds. Sadly, Joy did not live to enjoy breaks at the centre, but the Blackburns stayed in touch and carried on supporting the unit for many years.

Once the Nansa Centre was opened, Peter would travel up from South Norfolk every month for committee meetings, and was an active committee member of the charity for many years.

He and Alice, supported by their daughter Alison and her family, attended events, bought raffle tickets, made cakes, supported staff and service-users, and spread the word about Nansa and those we support. Alice, along with her friend Cynthia, chaired South Norfolk Nansa, a fundraising group which held annual sales in Pulham Market for fifty years, and sent regular donations to support the wider charity’s work.

They were very excited about the establishment of the new Family Centre which was opened in 2001, knowing from personal experience what a great support this centre would be for the parents of children with disabilities, and as always they were generous with their donations towards the purchase of the building. Peter and Alice are part of the fabric of Nansa, and their generosity, enthusiasm and determination to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities has been realised with the continuing success of Nansa.

Peter was a true Norfolk gentleman who was always available to offer help, advice and, above all, endless support for the service-users, families and staff of Nansa; he will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.

Benny The Bear 2020

In December 2020, Nansa released a Christmas campaign video to promote sustainable shopping and donations to charity shops.

Watch our #BennyTheBear video by clicking the button below… you may need some tissues!

Navigating the New Normal

In Summer 2020 Nansa commissioned a film to document the stories and experiences of staff and service-users during and after the lockdown. The film shows how Nansa’s services have had to adapt to meet the needs of their families and members. Check out the documentary below:

Norfolk Freemasons are All Aboard

Norfolk Freemasons first became aware of Nansa in 2017 when they were invited to our Family Centre on Woodcock Road, Norwich. The following year, their national grant making organisation, the Masonic Charitable Foundation, chose to fund Nansa’s Sleep service for a period of 3 years up to 2021. Since then local masons and Nansa have stayed in close contact, in June Nansa CEO, Leon Smith, approached them to see whether further funding support might be possible in order to sustain our All Aboard project into 2021.

“We were able to utilise an existing pot of funding to see us through to August 2020 but were concerned we would not be able to secure funding beyond that point and as a result; the varied range of support covered under the project was at risk of being discontinued. Our freemason friends have always been incredibly supportive and approachable, once I had explained our predicament they kindly offered to fund the project for an additional 6 months with an award of £28,000. This generous donation enables Nansa to not only provide families with support during this difficult period, but also gives us the time and space we need to secure a more long term funding partner for the project at the end of the financial year in 2021”

Leon Smith (CEO)

Having seen how families across Norfolk whose children with Autism, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and other learning difficulties and disabilities are being helped by Nansa we welcomed the opportunity to ensure their latest All Aboard project could be started as soon as possible

Stephen Allen (Head of Norfolk Freemasons)