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IncludesU - building families, reducing isolation!

by Rachel in Taunton, England, United Kingdom

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A new Saturday Club to help families who need a welcoming place to spend quality time together, have fun and build positive memories!

by Rachel in Taunton, England, United Kingdom

Who we are...

Compass Disability Services is a user-led organisation of disabled people and unpaid carers based in Taunton, Somerset. Over the last year we have supported more than 3000 children, young people and adults to have equality of opportunity, look after their wellbeing, be independent and have choice and control over how they live their lives. 

In 2017 we opened Compass Wellbeing, a centre in the heart of our community where everyone is welcome. The Centre has a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room and a range of activities for all ages including Deaf Café, Crafting with Confidence, inclusive Stay and Play for pre-schoolers and InlcudesU sessions for children and young people with additional needs, their siblings, families and friends which run throughout school holidays and give children the chance to do things they might not otherwise be able to do. The children have made friends with alpacas, snakes, bugs and other creepy crawlies, made and raced robots, learnt circus skills and much more!

What we want to do! 

A large number of the families that we support face inequalities in accessing activities and often feel isolated. 

For children and young people with autism they often struggle socially and can find new situations difficult and/or overwhelming and this can make it really hard to go out and enjoy time together as a family, especially as not everywhere is as understanding or as inclusive as you would like them to be.  

And don’t forget the dads, they often miss out on groups that support parents to have quality time with the kids if they work in the week and just like the mums they may not always find being a parent easy. This can sometimes leave dads feeling a bit left out and lonely especially as they don't always find it easy to ask for help.

That’s why this Spring we are crowdfunding to launch two new Saturday IncludesU clubs which will  run throughout the year and offer fun, inclusive and supportive activities for families who need a little bit of time and extra support to spend quality time together to build positive memories. The IncludesU Saturday club will include:

  • A monthly Lego Club – open to all but focused on children with autism and/or additional needs. Lego is brilliant as it helps children with Autism to focus, problem solve, be creative and communicate.  
  • A monthly Dads Club – Stay and Play for dads, babies, children aged 0-6. Dads can have quality time with their kids, support their development, meet other dads and chat over a cuppa.

Funding will help pay for the equipment we need to run the  activities and also contribute towards the running of the sessions.

The difference it will make! 

Having somewhere inclusive to go on a Saturday will help families to meet others in a similar situation, which can be very reassuring and help to reduce feelings of being alone and isolated. Whether it’s the Lego Club for children and young people with autism, their families and friends or the Stay and Play for dads and their young dudes the different sessions will help to provide the time and space to nurture healthy relationships and develop personal skills in a safe and supportive place whilst having fun and making positive memories to treasure for years to come.

But don’t just take our word for it this is what other people have to say about the difference we are making...

'Thank you so much for having us and for everyone’s patience and understanding with my little boy going in and out of the doors etc #autismacceptance and a massive thank you to Mr T! Brilliant as always.'

During a robotics session in the summer, we had a young girl who didn’t want to get involved in the activity.  She had only had a diagnosis of autism the week before and the mum was obviously worried and just turned up to the robotics hoping she would get in.  The young girl and her mum really enjoyed the session and she won the prize for the best robot.  The mum said afterwards it had made her feel much more confident as a parent that she could have fun with her daughter and not to worry so much.  Also that seeing her daughter having such a great time was the best feeling.

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