Colburn day centre visitors bring smiles to disabled children in Africa

Elspeth and Lynne with sock doll ‘makers’ Lawrence, Nathan and Darren at The ABLE Day Centre.

People who attend an activity-led day centre for adults in Richmondshire are helping to put smiles on the faces of children with disabilities in Uganda.

The Broadacres-run ABLE (Activity Based Learning Environment) Day Centre in Colburn has been a hive of activity in recent months as adults who attend the centre make dolls made from socks.

The ‘sock dolls’ are being taken to Kumi in eastern Uganda where they are handed out to local children, many of whom have never had a doll or toy of any kind.

The dolls are distributed by the Kumi Community Foundation, an organisation set up in 2002 by Darlington woman Elspeth Robinson.

The Foundation, which is soon to be awarded charitable status, supports families of children with disabilities who are living in extreme poverty in this part of Uganda.

Elspeth is a regular visitor to Kumi and will return on her latest charity mission later this year. She will be accompanied by Lynne Williams, who works at The ABLE Day Centre.

Lynne has been instrumental in encouraging the people who attend ABLE to make the sock dolls.

She said: “Everyone has really enjoyed making the dolls and they have enjoyed seeing pictures of the children in Uganda who have already received them.

“We will be taking even more over with us in October; they really put smiles on the children’s faces.”

This Saturday, Elspeth and her husband Chris, will be holding an open day from 11am to 4pm at their home at 2 Upsall Drive Darlington, DL3 8RB, where people will be able to find out more about the work of the Kumi Community Foundation.

Elspeth, a retired physiotherapist, said: “The motto of the foundation is ‘helping others to help themselves’ and like most charitable organisations we are reliant on the generosity of the public, whether that’s through financial donations or donations like the one made by The ABLE Day Centre.

“It really does make such a difference to children and their families.”

For more information about The ABLE Day Centre visit

For more information about the Kumi Community Foundation visit