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About Us

The DCF was set up to improve and enrich the lives of children with disabilities and their families who are experiencing difficulties related to the impact of disability, including physical health, emotional strain, and social isolation through a range of provisions.

According to The Office National Statistics there are over 2,500 disabled children across Dorset. We have three successful charity shops and our sales cover all our modest overheads meaning that 100% of all donations go to support local disabled child.

At The Dorset Children’s Foundation we are very hands-on and pride ourselves on our personal approach. We get to know each child and their family as a whole so that we can fully understand each family’s needs.

What We Do

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Accessible For All

We offer our families a wide range of events and activities from football to dancing, and everything in between.

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Counselling

We have a dedicated mental health team and offer cost free counselling to parents and primary carers.

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Specialist Equipment

We source and fundraise for wheelchairs, walkers, and other such disability aids.

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Therapies

We provide funding for a range of therapies including: Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and music therapy.

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Family Support & Advice

We offer advice regarding benefits and entitlements, a befriending service and parent/carer activities such as: yoga, paddle boarding and sewing.

Medical Expenses

We help fundraise towards medical expenses not covered by Statutory Services.

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Support Groups

We help fund independent support groups, SENturians and Doors Open who offer weekly meetings, holiday activities and invaluable support and advice.

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Pre-School Groups

A weekly stay and play group for pre-school children with additional needs, where families and children can make friends and have fun.

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Disability Awareness

Fun, interactive educational initiatives, designed to break down barriers and change how the world sees disability.

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Life experiences

We also provide life enriching experiences for children and their families.

This is a short video Richard Gale from ITV made about our work.

Accessible For All

Our hugely popular Accessible for AlI initiative is focused on creating sporting opportunities and play activities for children with disabilities. Being the parent/carer of a disabled child can be a very lonely and isolating experience and parents increasingly lose confidence to integrate into mainline activities due to the feeling of being ‘different’.

“Every child deserves the right to play. The DCF enables families to get together in a safe and inclusive environment where our children can just be children without judgement or disapproval.” Emily Sutton

We recognise that children with disabilities often miss out on those valuable experiences that should be abundantly available to all children so we set up Accessible For All. We provide regular events such as soft play, drama and dance, music workshops, exclusive use of skate parks, swimming and water sports, and we even have our own award-winning FA-registered football group. The list is forever growing as we respond actively to the needs of the children we represent.

Saturday Club

We have a stay and play Saturday club for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and are wheelchair users. Sensory stories, dancing, yoga, drama, games and music, plus cake, coffee and companionship for parent carers.

Pre-school Groups

We run Little Stars and help support Something Special, weekly “stay and play” groups for pre-school children with additional needs, where along with messy play, story time and games, professionals are invited to give talks and advice sessions are held.

Accessible for All.

Mental Health and Counselling

The mental health of our families is very important to us as being the parent/carer of a child with additional needs can be very isolating. This impacts on all members of the family and the child themselves, we therefore have a dedicated team of mental health advisors and are able to offer cost free one to one counselling sessions. We are also able to signpost and refer to appropriate local agencies. This service is available to both parents and primary carers.

Family Support and Advice

We are passionate about providing an holistic support network to our families and are committed to ensuring they receive the help and support they are entitled to, including financial benefits, care, education and wider support. We have parent advocates, including our Trustee Dan McEvoy who have expertise in dealing with local authority bodies and who are happy to provide a listening ear and represent our families rights and needs.

Our Trustee James Pantling-Skeet, Community Care Solicitor has prepared a very comprehensive guide to Disability Law, covering key topics such as EHCP’S to personal budgets. James also regularly produces exclusive DCF webinars.

Support Groups

We are delighted to offer our families a range of support groups and we help partially fund independent groups SENturians and Doors Open. They offer guidance, support, information and advice to parent/carers, host weekly meetings and offer events and activities during the holidays for families to attend together in a safe non-judgmental environment.

Parents/Carer Activities

We hold regular events and activities for our parent/carers so they can spend time with people who understand. We host coffee mornings, activities such as yoga, paddle boarding and a sewing group where family members can learn to make adapted clothing. Beginners always welcome.

Disability Equipment

At DCF we recognise that there are many costs associated with raising a disabled child. We understand that these are not always covered by statutory services so we help families find other ways to provide the funds needed.

Where a piece of equipment is needed, we will first try and work with families and statutory services to find a way for equipment to be provided – we are building a stock of popular items that can be accessed on a cost free, long-term loan basis. In some circumstances if funding is available the trustees may agree a grant for the purchase of equipment.

Disability Awareness and Education

At the DCF we are absolutely passionate about educating people about disability and showing the world how amazing our children are.
We firmly believe that disability awareness should be taught in all primary schools as today’s children will be the driving force toward a more inclusive society. We support Paddy’s Purpose, a fun interactive initiative designed by Gemma, mum of Paddy, to challenge how the world sees disability. Over the last few years they have delivered their powerful message to over 3000 school children.

https://www.facebook.com/paddyspurpose

We also support Awesome Archie On Tour. Archie and his mum Rebecca were present at one of Paddy’s Purpose workshops a few years ago and have been inspired to develop their own awareness workshops talking about living with Autism.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3650909864922453/.

Give Kids The World

The DCF are delighted that we have been accepted as an official Wish Giving Partner for Give Kids The World. This is a nonprofit ‘storybook’ resort in Florida, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a weeklong cost-free holiday.

It is a common misconception that children with disabilities can access all the equipment and support that they require through statutory services. Sadly this is not the case, and this is why our work is so vital.

Our Mission

We work closely with statutory services, local council, NHS and schools to ensure that the needs of our children aren’t forgotten when it comes to making important decisions within our community

The therapies, equipment and accessible for all activities that we provide improve the lives of children with disabilities, over and above pure medical necessities. We seek to improve the quality of life for children so that they can gain better movement, overcome isolation, improve their self-esteem and play a larger part in the society around them, be that family or school.

Disabled Children's Partnership

We are proud to be a member of The Disabled Children’s Partnership. This is a coalition of more than 90 organisations campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families. The DCP provide a platform for their voices, and challenge the injustices that affect them.

Our Trustee Dan McEvoy, father of Elisa who is profoundly disabled, is an active member of this group and is frequently the voice of children with disabilities by addressing Parliament and being interviewed by national media.

https://disabledchildrenspartnership.org.uk/

 

Our Trustees

Our trustees frequently attend our events and activities and have additional voluntary roles within the charity. Our families have frequent and direct access to our trustees so they are uniquely able to see first hand the needs and wants of the families they serve.

The charity is led by our trustees who make decisions that will impact the children and families we support. Their approach supports both good governance & the delivery of the charities purpose.

Our Trustees create a welcoming and supportive culture and apply ethical principles to all decisions made. We support inclusion, equality and diversity throughout all facets of The Dorset Children’s Foundation.

Our Trustees are made up of two parents with disabled children, a community care solicitor, an expert in the voluntary sector and a communications business manager.

Amy Collins is our longest standing volunteer and befriender, Dan McEvoy provides support and advocacy, Avril Jackson organises the PMLD Saturday Club, the parent/carers adapted sewing group and manages our equipment library.

James Pantling-Skeet hosts webinars on disability law and represents our families. He also runs marathons to raise funds for the DCF. Chair Alex Deutsch is head coach of our award winning inclusive DCF football club and works tirelessly behind the scenes to fundraise and promote the DCF.

Have a quick look at The Treehouse, our lovely Children’s shop in Boscombe, where all the profits go to providing fun activities for local children with disabilities.

Our Shops

Come and visit one of our three charity shops in Bournemouth.

BOSCOMBE

695-697 CHRISTCHURCH ROAD BOURNEMOUTH BH7 6AF

Opening Times:
9.30am – 5.00pm MON – FRI
SAT: 10am – 5pm

01202 390011

THE TREEHOUSE

Children's shop and adapted clothing. UNIT 18, THE SOVEREIGN CENTRE, BH1 4SX

Opening Times:
9.00am – 5.00pm MON – FRI
SAT: 10am – 3pm

01202 304004

SOUTHBOURNE

3 CARBERY ROW, BOURNEMOUTH BH6 5AD

Opening Times:
9.00am – 4pm MON – FRI
SAT: 9.30 am – 3pm

01202 390011

You Can Change a Childs Future.

DONATE NOW

We are registered with the Charity Commission, members of the Fundraising Regulator and have been approved by HMRC to collect Gift Aid.

"I was deeply honoured to be asked to become a patron of The Dorset Children’s Foundation and accepted without a moments' thought. It is a wonderful charity that is truly transforming lives and making a difference to so many families and I am immensely proud to be part of that team"

Stephen Young Lord of Westbury.
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