Our Story So Far…

Our children inspire us…. Can they inspire you?

Pathways 4 All is local North East charity which was launched in 2010 following an identified need for leisure activities for disabled children and young people. 

Lynn McManus, our charity founder, had previously been running a weekly youth club for children with additional needs from within a local soft play area, however this was only available once a week.  Families attending were keen to have more frequent access to activities, but this was not possible at the venue they were using.  This inspired Lynn to start looking for a more permanent venue and in doing so she started up the charity Pathways 4 All with the primary focus to open a specialist centre for children with additional needs.   

Working with North Tyneside Council, Lynn was able to identify a disused council building in the Rising Sun Country Park, however the former hospital wing (built in 1927) was in a very neglected state.   There was also a plot of land behind the building which the charity wanted to develop into an enclosed outdoor play area.  Upon securing the building, Lynn and the Pathways 4 All Board of Trustees started planning how they would move the project forward and raise the estimated £400,000 needed to bring the building up to a usable standard.   

The Pathways 4 All Garden Project

Our first break-through came when the charity won £60,000 in the National Lottery’s Jubilee People’s Millions Award, 2011.  This fantastic amount of money enabled us to purchase play and sensory equipment for our garden area.  Before this money could be spend on the equipment however, our first job was to clear the very overgrown garden area to the rear of the property.   This was no easy task and we are very grateful to the local companies, parents and supporters who came out in all weather conditions to help.

The original garden area consisted of a long and narrow sloping grassed area with an overgrown ‘wilderness’ immediately behind.  To the rear of the partition fence was a field which the Duke of Northumberland was kindly allowing us to use so we could extend our garden area further.  

Once the garden area was cleared and the ground prepared, the play and sensory equipment arrived and our garden started to take shape.  We were especially delighted when our Charity Patron Denise Welch, dropped by along with Kacey Ainsworth to see what had been achieved and spend time playing with our children. 

The Building Transformation

With our garden project in progress, our sights turned towards our dilapidated building which was in need of total refurbishment, including new windows, re-wiring, new heating system, roof repairs, sanitation and a new entrance.  This was a huge job for a small charity still in it’s infancy, but this did not deter Lynn and the board who were determined to bring this old building back to life and provide much needed facilities for local disabled children.  

Our good fortunes continued, when we were chosen by Channel 5 for their TV production Operation Homefront. Bringing in a construction squad made up of ex-service men and women, their mission was to transform our building in just a few days.  Working tirelessly alongside a team of volunteer local companies, what seemed like an impossible dream at the start of the week, soon became reality.  

Our dream finally became reality in Autumn 2012 when we opened the doors to our much anticipated children’s centre.  This was a huge achievement and we were very grateful to all the organisations, companies and individuals who had helped us along the way.  One of those key individuals was our Board of Trustees Chair, Tim Lamb who had been invaluable in bringing the right people together, to help advance the charity whilst still in it’s infancy.  Tim sadly passed away before the refurbishment of the Centre was completed, so we named it the Tim Lamb Centre in his honour. 

The Tim Lamb Centre was officially opened by our Patron Denise Welch on 4th November 2012.

The David Marley Extension.

As demand for the Tim Lamb Centre continued to grow, it was evident that more floor space was needed.  Following a 3 month refurbishment the Centre re-opened in 2017 with the ‘David Marley Extension’ providing a brand new kitchen and café, adjoining the soft play area.  We are very grateful to the Directors of local business firm Kans and Kandy, for generously funding the extension in memory of David Marley, the late father of one of the company directors.  The extension was opened by Eunice Marley alongside our Patron Denise Welch. 

Room for Improvement

We are always seeking new ways to improve the facilities and services we offer.  In 2018 we relocated our sensory room into a much larger space, adding a new heated water bed and a stunning suspended fibre optic ceiling.  

Then at the end of 2019 we acquired an additional room (attached to our building, but previously used as the main country park office) and set about to create a purposeful social space for our short break activities programmes.  By sectioning off the back of the trampoline hall we were able to create a second additional room and added a small adjacent kitchen area, with cabinets kindly donated by the Benton Branch of Howdens.   We were also able to move the computer suite into a larger room and make improvements to our toddler room too. 

Pathways 2 Play

At the start of 2020, we set out with an ambitious goal to raise in excess of £100,000 to improve our outdoor play area.  We were keen to add more wheelchair accessible equipment, interactive sensory play boards and upgrade the surface area to facilitate better wheelchair and all-weather access.  Despite the onset of Covid and subsequent lockdowns we were delighted to smash our fundraising target by the end of 2021. 

We are enormously grateful to , The Sun 50 Fund, The Morrisons Foundation, The Clothworkers Foundation, Postcode Neighbourhood Trust funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Bernard Sunley Foundation for their large grant awards which enabled us to purchase the large ticket items from our original wish list.   

 Lynn McManus Awarded MBE for her Services to Charity

We were delighted when our CEO and charity founder, Lynn McManus was named in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours list on the 1st June 2022.  Unfortunately, due to the sad passing of her Her Royal Highness the Queen, the collection of Lynn’s MBE was delayed until March 2023.

Lynn was presented with her medal by the Anne, The Princess Royal at a lovely ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday 8th March.

Lynn was awarded an MBE for her services to charity.  As our charity founder, Lynn has dedicated over 13 years of voluntary service.  Her invaluable contribution can be seen in the huge development of the Tim Lamb Centre over the last 10+ years.   What started out as a local project for North Tyneside families, has now grown into a much-appreciated play and leisure facility, accessed by families from across the whole of the North East region.

In addition to her dedicated volunteering, Lynn has also raised in excess of £1.5 million through fundraising events, including organising 10 charity balls.  Her efforts have ensured the continued development of the Tim Lamb Centre’s facilities and wider charitable services.

Lynn’s MBE, follows a host of other accolades our remarkable CEO has received over the years, including a Platinum Champion Award received in 2022, The Chronicle Sunshine Fund Glass Slipper Award in 2020 and  Pride of the North East Award in 2018.

Pathways 2 Nature

In the spring of 2023 we were granted permission to develop a plot of land, (adjacent to our outdoor play area) into an environment for exploring nature.  Our Pathways 2 Nature area has been kindly funded by Assura, and includes a tipi, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and trim trail.  The area has proved popular with our young members who have enjoyed cooking outdoors, camp fires and activities in the tipi, during some of our staffed group sessions.

New Media and Gaming Room

Most recently we’ve had a room change around, swapping the soft play room with the ICT suite, so we can add a new gaming room.  With led lights and brand new consoles the darkened room is a gamers paradise.  The room will allow some our gaming teenagers the opportunity to enjoy supervised sessions, competing against each other.  In addition to the computers in the ICT suite, we’ve also added 2 new retro arcades games, Packman and a pinball machine, which have proved very popular with the parents as well as the young people.

What’s New for 2024… Watch this Space!