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Do You Need Our Help?

Join The DCF Family

If you are the parent/carer of a disabled child and live in Dorset you are very warmly invited to join us at The Dorset Children’s Foundation. Please complete this short form and you will then be sent a welcome pack and given access to our Facebook groups and newsletter which details upcoming events and information.

All families are dealt with respectfully and in a confidential and understanding way. The only reason the charity exists is to help improve the quality of life for your child.

Please contact Gemma@thedcf.org to sign up.

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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, sibling support group and parent/carer activities.

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.

If you have a disabled child who needs our support please get in touch. We understand that asking for help can be very emotional but we promise you will be received with warmth and understanding.

Your Welcome Pack

We offer a friendly support network within the charity through connecting parents in similar situations who best understand the challenges each other face. We marry up new families with befrienders so that no one needs to feel anxious about coming into a new group.

We will reach out to each new family and send them our friendly welcome pack which clearly details the services we offer.

Become part of a community that understands you and your child’s needs.

Accessible for All

The DCF’s Accessible for All initiative is focused on creating sporting opportunities and play activities for children with disabilities. We provide regular events such as soft play, drama and dance, music workshops, swimming and water sports, and we even have our own award-winning FA-registered football group.

We believe in nurturing differently abled children’s abilities, interests, and energy, and strive for an inclusive society, where children with disabilities and their siblings are furnished with the same opportunities as their friends.

Please contact Gemma@thedcf.org to sign up.

Specialist Equipment

We understand that at times a child will require a piece of equipment urgently, and unfortunately the turnaround time for the provision by statutory services is untenable for the child’s immediate needs.We will first try to match a child’s needs with equipment that we have in our reconditioned stock, and issue items on long-term loan. In exceptional circumstances we will assist in the purchase of equipment and can also provide expert fundraising advice.

Support Groups

We have a range of independent support groups run by amazing volunteers who would be delighted to meet you and are more than happy to chat with you beforehand and even meet you outside, as we all know how daunting walking into a room of new people can be . Rest assured you’re among friends who will just ‘get you.’

We help fund SENturians and Doors Open, they offer guidance, support, Information and advice to parent/carers and family members who have children and young people with any type of SEND need, with or without a diagnosis. They host weekly meetings and offer events and activities during the holidays for families to attend together in a safe non judgmental environment . Contact:  Senturions.poole2021@gmail.com and Doors-open@outlook.com.

The DCF’s Counselling Service

Currently we are experiencing unsettling times, and we understand the emotional toll being placed on parents caring for children with special educational needs and disabilities. We provide a free counselling support service for parents/carers to speak to someone in confidence. We offer a listening service over the telephone, as well as more formal sessions with trained counsellors.

If you are interested in taking up our service, please contact: Hayley@thedcf.org.

Family Support and Advice

We provide our families with advice and guidance regarding benefits and entitlements. Dan and Rhi are both parents of disabled children and understand first hand the struggles and endless paperwork required to get parents/carers their entitlements. Their experience and advice will help guide parents through this complex process.

Sibling Support

The majority of our ‘Accessible For All’ events are for the entire family but for the reasons below we have stated sibling only sessions too. We understand that being the sibling of a child with a disability can be difficult as they witness so much but feel unable to share their feelings. Gemma (of Paddy’s purpose) is now working on a 1:1 basis with the siblings of the children we support to help them better understand what is going on around them and allow them to ask any question in a calm, supportive and safe environment.

Super Siblings Group.
This was set up by siblings for siblings by Katherine and Ruby. Their aim is to have activities and outings where they can just spend time with each other to form friendships without the emphasis on the child with a disability. We have a range of monthly events, from discos to bowling and have recently teamed up with Bournemouth University to offer story writing and illustration workshops. To find out more please contact Paula (mum of Katherine) at paula@thedcf.org

Disability Awareness & Education

We firmly believe that disability awareness should be taught in all primary schools and so we support Paddy’s Purpose and recently formed Awesome Archie on Tour, designed to break down barriers and celebrate differences. Gemma creator of Paddy’s Purpose has delivered her message to over 3000 school children and is now currently working with families who have children with disabilities and siblings who may benefit from a child friendly explanation of epilepsy, tube feeding, mobility equipment etc. If you would like to learn more please email at gemma@thedcf.org. For Archie on Tour please contact Rebecca at clappers@thedcf.org.

Big enough to make a difference, small enough to care.

“When our son needed additional therapy input, The DCF could not help us enough. Both my boys love attending the multitude of events run by The DCF. They truly go above and beyond for anyone. Nothing is too difficult and you never feel a burden.”

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we hold pure admiration for the whole crew! SUPERSTARS!! “

Parent/Carer Activities

We now have regular parent/carer activities, such as coffee mornings, Beginners Hatha Yoga, DCF Paddlers and Sew your own sewing group. All designed to give Parents the chance to de-stress with like minded people, share experiences and make new friends.

Give Kids The World

We are one of only 13 UK Charities who have been accepted as a wish giving partner for Give Kids The World. GKTW is a non profit ‘story book’ resort in Florida, where children with life threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a week-long magical holiday.

“The Dorset Children’s foundation is a fantastic charity, it is the shining light and the friendly face that guides us through the minefield of living with children that have additional needs. To put it bluntly without The DCF, my husband and I would probably be rocking in a corner, struggling to cope with it all. The paperwork, the fights, the behaviours. Everything. It literally saved us! Our family too!” – Rhian Wooton

“I felt an acceptance and understanding that did not need any explanation."

“From the first time we spoke to Patsy at The DCF I felt an acceptance and understanding that did not need any explanation. We were welcomed into a community that at the time we didn’t even know we needed.”

“The DCF really value every child they support. Whenever we take Arlo to any sessions everyone is so warm and welcoming and make us feel they’re so pleased we are there. A community of people with a wealth of experience all willing to support us on our journey.” – Charlene Wright

“I had my counselling session today. While talking through all my ugly scary thoughts I cried like the flood gates had opened . We are going through something very tough as a family right now and being able to get free mental health support is invaluable. If I wasn’t able to talk my feelings through with a professional now and so I would have to bottle it up for later date, oh what a ticking time bomb that would be.” – Maiju Heikkinen

“Life with a child with a disability can be very stressful and you don’t get a lot of time to yourself. Having activities like paddle boarding for mums, where you can do something fun and also meet up with other mums who understand what it’s like, is so important. I was excited to try paddle boarding for the first time but also a bit nervous, especially as I didn’t know many of the other mums, but everyone made me feel really welcome and I had a great time”.

The DCF is all about caring, so we will guide you every step of the way.

We welcome you into the Dorset Children Foundation’s family where you can meet parents in the same or similar situation.
We pride ourselves on being ‘Big enough to make a difference, small enough to care’
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