Derry to Disney - Tuned In Project’s bid for the trip of a lifetime

Derry’s Tuned In Project are undergoing a colossal fundraising campaign in order to take their students on a once in a lifetime trip to Disney.

Aine McFadden, Team Leader at Tuned In, takes a 'selfie' with a group of students and staff who went on the first trip to Disney.
Aine McFadden, Team Leader at Tuned In, takes a 'selfie' with a group of students and staff who went on the first trip to Disney.

Tuned In work with people with disabilities, empowering them through the digital and creative arts.

Aine McFadden, Team Leader of the project, said, “We are currently running our Derry 2 Disney fundraiser which includes a range of events from competitions to sponsored walks and the odd wee night out.

“The funds raised will go towards providing specialist care and equipment for 30 people with a range of disabilities during a 5-day trip to Disneyland Paris.

“The campaign initially started for a trip that was planned for April 2020 but, as you can guess, Covid made this impossible. All fundraising efforts were halted as we weren’t sure what the future held.

“We have since had to reschedule the trip three times due to restrictions and wanting the students to have the best time possible. Because of all these changes, the cost of the trip has increased significantly and it will now cost almost £50,000. The past few years have been very difficult for our students with so much uncertainty in their lives so, cancelling this trip wasn’t even an option. They have all been looking forward to it so much so the pressure is definitely on now to raise the money.

“This really is a trip of a lifetime for so many of our students. As independent adults, we take for granted getting away on holiday with our friends or partners and, for some of our students, this has never been a reality. This trip will give them the opportunity to build on their independence which, in turn, will improve their self-confidence and empower them with the knowledge that they can do a lot more than they ever imagined. All this, as well as getting a holiday with their mates!

“So far, we have had a bed push, a livestreamed variety show, loads of raffles, a bingo night, a golf event, Christmas charity event and bonus ball competitions. Some very brave staff members tackled the Stairway to Heaven in Fermanagh in the freezing cold and Glenkeen furnishings are giving away a sofa, all in aid of the trip! Bronagh McMenamin, also known as @BeeMac321 on Instagram, did a fantastic raffle on Instagram live raising an amazing £3,5000 pound, which was just unbelievable.

Tuned In staff members after completing the Stairway to Heaven in Fermanagh.

“We’re at the final push now to get all the money raised in the next month or two. We’ve about £15,000 left to raise so we have a bit to go yet but the finish line is in sight.”

Derry band Here Comes the Landed Gentry (HGTLG) are ‘coming out of retirement’ for a Dance for Disney event to raise money for the trip on March 5.

The group disbanded in 2010 but got back together in 2012 for an event called Dance for Dizzy, to raise funds for their friend Emma ‘Dizzy’ McLaughlin to get specialist cancer treatment in America.

Dance for Disney will feature other local acts such as Nash, Reevah, Junior Johnson, Jeanette Hutton, Waldorf & Cannon, Jonny Nutt, John Deery & The Heads, Parker and the Tuned In band.

The Derry to Disney campaign after their Hallowe'en bed push along the Quay

The Tuned In Students will also be releasing their Music Box album on vinyl, which consists of 12 original songs that they wrote and recorded with their tutor Wally of Waldorf & Cannon. All proceeds from the gig and the album sale will go towards they Disney trip.

Dance For Disney #2 is taking place at The Nerve Centre, Derry on Saturday March 5. Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased via said, “We would be so grateful for any donations, and they can be made via PayPal which you can get through our Facebook Page or you call 02871 367029.”

Dance for Disney