Early Christmas time for special needs families at Newcastle Entertainment Centre

SPECIAL needs families were treated to an early festive season treat on Wednesday night at the Newcastle Special Children's Christmas Party. 

Around 4000 people gathered at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre for the annual celebration, which has been held every year since 1993. 

The event is funded by a broad range of organisations including local businesses and community groups, and aims to provide a respite to families. 

Party organiser Annemarie Hodson says the event gives the children an opportunity to socialise together – something they can often be difficult to achieve. 

"Parents have said over and over how grateful they are, especially when their child is very rarely – or never – invited to other parties, or other parties don't cater or allow for their child's disability," she said.

Growing year-on-year, the party has invited over 32,500 children throughout its existence, and relies on the generosity of volunteers to help facilitate the activities.

“The generosity of the local businesses that support the party doesn’t give these families just a couple of hours entertainment," Ms Hodson said. 

"The families carry these precious memories in their hearts forever. 

"We never know how many people will experience this event as the last time their child was well enough to feel this kind of joy.”