Making activities accessible for all
There is a lack of provision in the wider community for fun and sporting opportunities for disabled children. The Dorset Children’s Foundation want to change this.
Being the parent/carer of a disabled child can be a very lonely and isolating experience. Parents increasingly lose confidence to take their children out and take part in simple activities that other families may take for granted.
The Dorset Children’s Foundation have a new initiative to make sports and fun activities fully accessible and this launched for some half term fun.
The week kicked off with an exclusive session at Ramp Rats an indoor skate park, Monday saw our families at Absolute Music; a professional recording studio where they were able to play a variety of instruments. On Wednesday we held a craft afternoon and sensory room experience, Friday local company Get Up and Bounce generously offered us an exclusive session on their giant inflatables and on Sunday we have the first of our monthly soft play at Giggles.
One of the parents commented: ‘We are very grateful for these sessions provided by The DCF. It has made the half term bearable and a lot more pleasant for my child who would normally lock himself away in the dark. It is great to meet new people and for my son to see children outside of school. Thanks very much.’
The DCF want to provide the opportunity for disabled children and their families to get together in a safe and inclusive environment where kids can just be kids without judgement or disapproval and have all the facilities, they need to ensure their comfort and needs are catered for.
Therefore, we are purchasing a fully accessible toilet facility as well as providing a sensory area for children to escape to if they are overwhelmed and relax in a quiet soothing place complete with sensory toys, whereas otherwise they would simply have had to go home.
Siblings and parents are encouraged to get involved at these events so the whole family can get out and enjoy being amongst friends where there needs will be catered for.
We have started to run a range of inclusive events such as: swimming, football, cricket, yoga, family fun days, crafts afternoons, all ability discos, soft play, sensory sessions and music therapy, to name but a few.
Patsy Hallmey (Co-Founder of The DCF) said: ‘Community is very important to us at The Dorset children’s Foundation. As well as funding equipment and life changing operations we want to help our families overcome isolation and increase their child’s self-esteem. For example £75 would buy a swimming session for ten children complete with life guard. We think that’s money well spent.’