A YORK-based charity which has made a huge difference to children and young people with hearing loss is marking its tenth year.

Lollipop offers opportunities for children and young people, with any degree of hearing loss, and their families living in North Yorkshire to meet and build friendships with others sharing their experiences of deafness by organising regular free and relaxed social activities.

The charity has gone from strength to strength and this Saturday will mark its tenth anniversary with a party for members at Stockeld Park in Wetherby including circus entertainer James Bazler and entertainment from New York Brass Band.

Andrea Gitsham, chairman of Lollipop, said: "The success of Lollipop and all we have achieved over the past ten years has relied on the selfless support of all of our many volunteers. We have received donations and support from individuals, local organisations and businesses, and this support has been invaluable. Without it Lollipop would not have been able to grow into the fantastic vibrant charity that we are today.

"We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved with Lollipop over the past ten years. We have grown into a thriving community, thanks to everyone’s hard work and generosity."

In 2004, the charity launched with a small membership of 20 children. Since then it has helped 219 children, and currently has a membership of 182.

A donation of more than £13,000 from Betty and Taylors of Harrogate in 2009 meant the charity could employ its first member of staff and a five-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund in 2011 meant it could increase its offer of free activities and support and move to better premises.

Anyone interested in Lollipop can phone on 01904 652286 or email info@lollipopyork.org.uk

Highlights for Lollipop over the last ten years include:

- Lollipop's deaf awareness film Twelve Weeks, Two Wheels, One Aim was previewed at City Screen in 2008 and was later signed by Teachers TV for a two-year rotating screening on their channel.

- The charity was shortlisted for the RBS and Daily Mail Children’s Charity of the Year Awards in 2009. It was one of 90 charities shortlisted from more than 4000 nominations received country wide for this award.

- In 2009 parent and baby toddler group Lollitots was set up as a result of the newborn hearing scheme being introduced, whereby all babies were screened at birth for hearing loss. This led to Lollipop being able to extend its support to very young children and their families.

- Collaborating with York Grand Opera House to provide the first ever captioned pantomime in York by the leading provider of captions, Stagetext.