March 15th-16th 2013
(NDCS Big Weekend for families with deaf children with additional complex needs)
What do you get with a packed car full of costumes, puppets, rainbows, bubbles, hoops, arts materials, jelly babies and wellies?? A Handprint journey, of course!
Travelling in an unusual style due to a rent-a-car (Handprint’s poor trusty and much loved Nissan-Micra, aka Terrance, was the victim of a naughty speeding car who hit him as he has having a rest, parked on the side of the road). Thankfully no one was hurt…well, apart from Terrance.
Anyhow, on Friday 14th March, we left a rainy, cold London for a rainy, cold Manchester via a “thrilling” 5 hour stop start journey in rain, hail, traffic jams, and problems involving not knowing how to turn the car’s air con off after de-steaming the windows! So we channelled the windswept and frozen look! Thankfully, the jelly babies proved a vital source of energy (although some Handprinters should not be given too much sugar), and Marge (our Satnav) provided continuous entertainment. Just never mess with her or disobey her instructions as she gets MAD!
Having finally arrived, the hotel and orange/purple T-shirts from the NDCS staff became a beacon of light in the rain, welcoming us in with a smile. What we love about working with the NDCS is everyone is so happy, friendly and helpful all the time! So soon, inside this happy hub, the journey felt like a distant memory.
The following morning started with a full English Superhero breaky, and after a whiz down the road in the Handprintmobile to a lovely site – the Seashell trust – the Handprinters were ready to set up their Superhero Training Camp! With a ZIP, a ZAP, and a WALLER, the room was transformed, Superhero capes were on (for some this is not a costume but an everyday fashion-must-have) and the Superhero cadets started arriving!
The four different groups, appropriately named FAST, FLEXIBLE, STRONG and SMART put us through our paces, showing that they are much better Superheroes by completing a number of Superhero challenges, including: learning to fly, pose, burst bad bubbles (yep, not all bubbles are good), going over/under/through a number of obstacles such as green goblin slime and rescuing helpless creatures, to name but a few! PHEW, I’m knackered just remembering it all!
The next stage was to create a Superhero mask and cape to go with the new skills, and the cadets put the likes of Stella McCartney to shame with some of the designs!
To end the session, the new Superheroes explored our Sensory City with glow sticks and torches, catching any villains that were lurking around, and enjoying some free play time.
Then just as quickly as we came, we were off again, back to the hotel, after reports reached us of an evil green villain who was up to no good.
Luckily we reached the stage just in time to bring our comic “Saving Cardboard City” to life to an eager audience (which was full of newly trained Superheroes who were ready to join in and stop the green villain… ha ha, who had no chance against this brave lot).
Performance over, we took a minute to look at the variety of coloured capes and masks being paraded around the hall…brilliant! Never had a hotel felt so safe then with this super lot!!
Springing into action the following morning and we were back at the Seashell trust, ready to meet our mini Superhero cadets for the day, this time from the creche!
And soon, another fab day flew by with more imaginative and hilarious Superheroes, who may have been small but they were still on the ball! Whilst going through our obstacle challenge, we got to a stinky, slimy section, and on asking the cadets: “Shall we go over or under it?”, one smart Superhero shot his hand up, and replied: “Well…we got just go pass it….” Duh!
Packing up and saying goodbye is sometimes rather sad, but at the end of this project we could do nothing but smile and laugh at all the wonderfully funny moments that make projects like this so magical and fun!! Our mission was accomplished, Superheroes were trained and the World was saved…once again!
So now all that is left is for us to say is a BIG thank you to the NDCS for having us, and thank you to all the families we met on this adventure!
Until next time…its time for the kettle to go on and to hang up our capes….well, maybe we will leave them on…just in case 🙂
“I was at the NDCS’s Big Weekend for deaf children with complex needs and their families this week in Manchester and just wanted to say what a fabulous show you put on. It was lovely to hear so much laughter from the children (and the adults) around the hall. Thank you!” (Feedback from the Weekend)