Former Ulster and Ireland rugby ace, Paddy Wallace and his wife Tina have announced the launch of the Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism ‘Buddy Bench’ initiative in Northern Ireland.
The ‘Buddy Bench’ concept first came to popularity in 2013 when a boy called Christian (age 8) from Pennsylvania, America had the idea as a means to eliminate loneliness and foster friendships among children in the playground.
Taking inspiration from Christian, Paddy and Tina have big plans to roll the initiative out throughout the country and have a Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism ‘Buddy Bench’ in every town throughout Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the initiative, Paddy said, “I absolutely loved the concept of the ‘Buddy Bench’ ‘and felt that Christian’s aims fitted perfectly with who we are as a Fund and what we are trying to achieve, and was something which would be great for local children throughout Northern Ireland. Through launching this initiative we want to promote inclusion throughout local communities, encourage children to be kind to one another and encourage children to reach out to each other.”
He continued, “Each ‘Buddy Bench’ can be sponsored by a local organisations and to date we have had an overwhelming response from local businesses, individuals and schools wishing to purchase a Buddy Bench. I would also like to thank Haldane Fisher who kindly donated timber to help manufacture the first 20 benches, this is something which we are very grateful for.”
Launched at the end of 2015, The Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism, is committed to rolling out the Buddy Bench scheme throughout Northern Ireland sites including schools and play areas to help propel the Fund’s mission of raising awareness and eradicating the stigma associated with Autism through hands-on social projects.
For further details on the Buddy Bench scheme and the Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism visit www.paddywallacefundforautism.com.