Do You Need Our Help?
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.email@example.com and Doorsfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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 an affordable 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: Rebecca@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.
Contact Dan@thedcf.org or Rhian@thedcf.org for more information.
One of our mums Line Grieve has recently set up a befriending service. Whether your child’s condition has been diagnosed or you are without one, they are here to help. This voluntary group offer advocacy, advice and a listening ear.
Having a disabled child can be overwhelming and emotional especially in the beginning as you are finding your feet in this new world. A group of parents have formed a special support group just for you. We put parents in similar situations in touch with each other. All volunteers are parents/carers of special needs children so they understand what you are going through. They have all been where you are now.
For more information contact: Line@thedcf.org
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.
For more information contact: Gemma@thedcf.org
Super Sibling 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 email@example.com
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.
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 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”.