Kind Derby mum to host prom for young people with special needs

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A kind-hearted mum-of-four from Derby is organising a prom for young people in the city with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Emma Tansley's daughter Emily is visually impaired and has stigmatism and nystagmus.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She will join other teenagers from across the city at an event being organised by her mum, with donations - including prom dresses, suits and food - being gifted from well-wishers.

"We are lucky to have been given the use of Sunnyhill Community Centre for free, plus donations of prom dresses, suits, a balloon arch, food and a DJ," said Emma, from Littleover.

"People really have been so kind and it means a lot - Emily deserves to have a prom, just like her peers, but I have been told that her school can't meet her needs.

Emma Tansley is organising a prom for young people in Derby with special educational needs and disabilitiesEmma Tansley is organising a prom for young people in Derby with special educational needs and disabilities
Emma Tansley is organising a prom for young people in Derby with special educational needs and disabilities

"There are hundreds of young people like Emily who will miss out on prom this year because their needs aren't being met - and that's just not fair.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"That's why I wanted to host a prom for all those young people who face daily battles just to be accepted."

'My gift to the community'

Emma describes it as her "gift to the community" with her shop - Emma's Emporium - facing closure.

Featuring items such as clothes and white goods at a hugely discounted price, and even a food bank, Emma's Emporium - in Browning Circle, Sunnyhill - has long been seen as a pillar of the community with residents often popping into the shop for essentials or just a cuppa and chat.

"I have had people visit my shop in tears," said the 41-year-old.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I feel like I've failed the community but also felt that Emma's Emporium is no longer sustainable to run.

"It is so much more than a shop, though.

"I have two ladies who are battling cancer who regularly come in for a cuppa and kind words.

"I've taken care of families fleeing violet partners and a man who has dementia.

"When a family of refugees from Iraq were relocated to the area, I helped them with advice on local schools.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We provide items such as kettles and toasters to those in need and, at Christmas and Halloween, we host family events to raise money for those who need it the most.

"And, having once been homeless myself, I know just how important places such as Emma's Emporium are."

Emma is keeping busy by focussing on the forthcoming prom with several businesses contacting her Facebook page offering help.

Derby-based Sunshine Support – a SEND organisation based in Derby – is one of those organisations which has offered help.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Founder Chrissa Wadlow has donated £500 to the prom and contacted local photographers, suppliers of cars, and make-up and hair specialists to see if they can help.

"Parents of children with SEND are used to fighting for equity and Emma is one strong, kind-hearted woman," said Chrissa.

"Like Emma's Emporium, Sunshine Support is a hub that is so important to the community - and that is why we're pleased to be supporting the prom.

"Everyone should be given the opportunity to attend their school prom.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's a key milestone in a young person's life and we have a lot of respect for what Emma is doing."

The prom will take place from 6pm this Sunday.

Anyone wanting to help can visit Emma's Emporium Facebook page.