Seashell Trust's 10 out of 10: Venika Mulchand

Venika Mulchand with her quote about Seashell Trust

To celebrate our decade as Seashell Trust, we are sharing ten top people who have been at the heart of our family during the last ten years – staff, volunteers, supporters and most importantly our extraordinary students and their families.

Let us know who else you think is 10 out of 10!

Businesswoman Venika Mulchand has been involved with Seashell Trust since 2004. She is a volunteer, supporter of the annual Seashell ball and fundraiser extraordinaire.

But it was sheer luck the 40-year-old became part of the Seashell story and she has witnessed huge changes achieved by the charity over the last decade.

Venika said: “By chance, we filled a little money box that came through the door just after I had moved from London to Manchester. We got a thank you letter and saw that it was up the road to where we were living so we decided to visit. Once my husband and I stepped into the grounds, we never looked back.” 

As she began volunteering in one of our music classes, Venika noticed the importance we place on giving our students – many of whom cannot talk – a ‘voice’: “One child constantly ran to me to hug me to show they were happy. Sometimes that's all the communication you need.

“I've seen children come quiet and reserved, and they are now communicating, walking with aids, the list is endless, but no child comes here without leaving in a better place - both for them and their families or carers.

“One of my favourite things about Seashell is the dedication of the staff. Physically and emotionally, it is the most challenging role I have ever seen.”

Laltex Group, the family business she is part of along with her husband Sanjay in Leigh, has also been a long-term supporter of Seashell, through our Valuing Employment scheme which negotiates jobs and work experience for students.

Venika said: “Supporting students to find a place in society is incredibly important to continue their confidence. The school can do all the hard work to get children through some difficult years, but at the end giving them their rightful place in society is the goal. We have one student working with us and he is an asset.” 

The company also sponsored Seashell Trust’s highly successful Bee in the City Shellbee which tapped into the creativity of the students, as everyone who attends Royal School Manchester contributed to the interactive art installation.

She explained: “It is vital to understand we all can communicate. Being creative allows us to think outside the box. The smell of grass to suggest let’s go out to play or using scents to know the day of the week. These are all amazingly creative ways to develop students’ understanding. 

“Communication is not restricted to words, try using your other senses. It is amazing how much we perceive without words or how much we can feel without seeing. The students end up teaching you a lot too.”

And Venika has noticed ambitious results not just for the students: “The new houses are phenomenal compared to when I got involved with Seashell (then Royal Schools for the Deaf) 14 years ago, and the facilities have evolved with the complex needs of the children, but the ethos remains unchanged - every child is important.”