The Two Carols, Carol Amery and Carol Beardmore started Special Needs Objective Outreach Project - known as SNOOP - in 2000. They wondered what a centre for children with disabilities and complex needs would look like and, with support from other parents, they decided to go for it. They got a New Opportunities Lottery grant, went on a business planning course, set up a registered charity, kitted out some premises and gave up their full-time jobs. On August 24, 2000, the two Carols opened SNOOP in a classroom in a former school and held play schemes and a small out-of-school club. Now, SNOOP has its own purpose built centre, based in the Inspire Bradford business park in Eccleshill.
"The children and young adults never seem to know their limits as to what they can do or want to do, so who are we to try and limit their goals and ideas"-Carol
SNOOP now offers a wide range of services, from after-school clubs and a youth club, to holiday playschemes for children and young adults, daytime activities for adults on life skills, an indoor climbing wall, soft play, sensory integration swings and a parents' meeting space. There is also a sensory room, outdoor and indoor play spaces, and support for parents and carers planning for their child leaving school and living a good life as an adult. Services are for people aged two to 25 years+
What we do:
Over the past year alone SNOOP has supported 140 families and provided 27,191 hours of care and support over 50 weeks of the year. SNOOP is the only provider of both adults and children’s learning disability provision in the Bradford district and is recognised as a leading provider, offering support and guidance to parents, carers and other settings on all aspects of learning disability support.
Adults day opportunities sessions run five days per week. Activities include 'I can do it' sessions based around life skills within the community, 'In-stitches', based around crafting and sewing, 'Seed to Plate' based around growing own produce and 'mind, body and soul' based around physical and emotional health as well as social skills and Independence sessions.
Children's provision runs daily, after school and throughout the school holidays. Sessions include messy play, sensory play, outdoor play, sports, crafts and baking.
Youth club sessions run every week with a focus on making friends and having fun, activities are chosen by the young people but typically include, pool, air hockey, crafting, karaoke, cooking and outdoor play.
In addition SNOOP has a climbing wall, some of our staff are trained instructors which means our service users get opportunities to be adventurous and try out a new skill.
We also support parents and carers by offering advice, support and attendance at review meetings.
Why is our work important
Research shows that children and teenagers with a learning disability partake in fewer activities and participate less frequently than their peers without a learning disability. They also tend to have fewer friends (Solish et al., 2010; Taheri et al., 2016).
In a survey by Sense, over half of disabled people reported feeling lonely, rising to over three quarters (77%) for those aged 18-34 (Sense 2017). Loneliness is associated with physical and mental health problems and poorer quality of life (Gilmore & Cuskelly, 2014).
Research suggests that 1 in 3 young people with a learning disability spend less than 1 hour outside their home on a typical Saturday (Mencap, 2019).
Snoop’s vision is for a society where people with learning disabilities and their parent/carers feel valued, supported and enabled to have a good life with the same chances and opportunities as any other person.
What we need help with
Covid-19 and beyond
Like many small charities the Corona Virus pandemic has hit us hard. All our usual activities had to stop very suddenly, with no indication of when they could start again. Carol and Carol worked tirelessly through this period to keep SNOOP going and make sure all of our families kept safe and well. Over time we have adapted to 'the new normal' with staff coming up with creative, socially distant ways to support our families. This has included using methods such as video calling, zoom bingo and zoom quizzes, telephone calls and door step visits to drop off activity packs.
We are doing everything we can to support our children, young adults and their families but we miss our face to face sessions greatly and want to open soon back up as soon as possible. Our staff are working really hard to ensure we are 'covid safe' and are making lots of exciting upgrades to the indoor and outdoor spaces in order to provide the best possible experiences for our families.
50% of this money will go towards purchasing new resources, equipment and toys that are suitable to use at this time. Some of our resources that are not easy clean have had to be put into storage so we need to buy some new things instead and some will be form individual activity boxes.
The other 50% of this money will go towards important things needed to keep SNOOP open such as lighting, heating and rent.
Here is what some of our service users have said.
"I miss coming to SNOOP, I miss all my friends"-SNOOP service user
"You don't realise how important SNOOP is to our daughter, it is her life and life line to me and my family"-Parent
"SNOOP is a fantastic resource, by offering specialist after school care and play schemes I was able to continue my work, I would be lost without SNOOP"-Parent
"SNOOP has a warm and friendly atmosphere and all the staff are helpful and approachable. I don't know what we would do without them"-Parent
Hi I’m Chris. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and autism at an early age.
My journey began when I was 5 years old and since then I have achieved things I never thought I would.
SNOOP helped me learn and practice the life skills needed to become successful and to cope with modern life. This made school life easier as outside of school SNOOP helped me with my studies to achieve my absolute best and overcome the challenges with my dyslexia. I received my GCSE results in 2013 and a grade C in English.
SNOOP gave me the opportunity to become chairman of committee for their ‘Help I’m Lost Card’™ Scheme, and with their support took part in voluntary work which further lead to me being employed as a “play support worker” and taking an NVQ course.
SNOOP helped when choosing my career as I wanted to become a police officer, they signposted me to the “explorer programme” and I achieved the explorer of the year award!
At 20 years old, I realised my ambition to become a special constable within the West Yorkshire Police Constabulary. By the time I was 21 I had achieved a degree in Public Service Management and completed my training. I firmly believe that I would not be in this position today if it wasn’t for the timeless support and commitment Snoop has given to me over the many years . I believe SNOOP is the most valuable organisation which supports many individuals, parents and carers.
SNOOP parents and carers
Set up by parents and carers, we have lived experienced of caring for children and adults with disabilities and we are able to share a wealth of experience, knowledge and support for other parents and carers.
How you can help:
If you've already donated, thanks or if you can't donate right now, there are other ways for you to show your support.
TELL EVERYONE! - If you love our idea then please - tell your friends and family and anyone else you know. The more people that know about our campaign the better!
SHARING for SNOOP - Crowdfunder suggests that every share on social media will raise around £20. So please share us on your social media networks and help us reach our goal. A personal message will often lead to a donation!
Thanks for reading. For more information you can visit our website www.snoop.org