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About Us

The DCF was set up to improve and enrich the lives of disabled young people 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

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 an in-house mental health advisor and can therefore offer a free counselling service to parents and primary carers.

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Family Support & Advice

We offer a range of services including advice and guidance regarding benefits, entitlements, plus a befriending service offering peer-to-peer support.

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Specialist Equipment

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

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Disability Awareness

A fun, interactive educational initiative, 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.

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.

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 is very isolating and can lead to loneliness and depression. 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 advocated who have expertise in dealing with local authority bodies and who can represent our families rights and needs.

Our Trustee James Pantling-Skeet, Community Care Solicitor, Leister Aldridge 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 fund 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.

We run Little Stars a weekly “stay and play” group for pre-school children and also hold regular events for our parent/carers so they can spend time with people who understand.

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. We will advise families on how to set up and manage fundraising pages and will use our experience to share fundraising ideas.

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 Trustees Dan McEvoy, father of Elisa who is profoundly disabled, is a very active member of this group and is frequently the voice of disabled children by addressing Parliament and being interviewed by national media.

https://disabledchildrenspartnership.org.uk/

 

Our Trustees

The charity is overseen by our Trustees who have overall control of The Dorset Children’s Foundation and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do.

They lead the charity and decide how it is run. They make decisions that will impact on the children & 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, an accountant and a communications business manager, both of whom double up as DCF FC coaches.

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

THE TREEHOUSE

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

Opening Times:
9.00am – 5.00pm MON – SAT

SOUTHBOURNE

3 CARBERY ROW, BOURNEMOUTH BH6 5AD

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

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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