We need to raise money to keep our sessions and trips for local families with children with autism or additional needs running. Due to cuts and changes to criteria, we have lost local authority funding this year.
What is The-Zone! ?
The-Zone! is a charity, based in Farnborough, that supports families living with autism or other additional needs in the Hampshire/Surrey border area. The-Zone! runs activities and trips for families at the weekend and during school holidays, as well as coffee mornings and a Facebook group for parents. The group is run by volunteers who are mostly all parents of children with autism.
Autism affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. A person with autism might struggle with body language, facial expressions, taking things literally and seeing another’s point of view. They may experience anxiety and sensory overload when out and about. It can be really hard for families to go out and take part in things when their children can’t cope or others are not accepting of their resultant behaviour.
Using the Money
We would like to put the money raised towards keeping our ‘Saturday Zone’, 'Fun Zone' and 'Teen Zone' sessions running. We want to run Saturday Zones once per month during term-time, Fun Zones once per week during holidays and our Teen Zones one Friday evening per month. We hold our sessions in rooms at a school in Farnborough, Hampshire. We have games consoles, laptops, toys, crafts, sensory equipment, music tech sessions and a resource library available inside. Outside we have the use of a playing field and a children’s play area, as well as go-karts/bikes and outdoor games for when the weather is dry and we also hire bouncy castles in the summer.
Our aim is to provide an environment where children with autism or other additional needs and their families can come along to join in with activities and socialise with others. Families benefit from the opportunity to connect, where autism and similar needs are the norm and where everyone can feel accepted. Children with autism have difficulties with social communication and often struggle to fit in and make friends in a mainstream environment; our sessions provide the opportunity for the children to interact with others who are similar to themselves and build relationships and thus improve their social skills within a safe environment. Families often find that they and their children can become isolated as they can’t just sign up to join in with mainstream activities because of their children’s anxieties, sensory issues or resultant behaviour when they can’t cope with what is going on around them. Sometimes the children can’t even cope with school which adds to their isolation. Our sessions make a big difference to families, enabling them to get their children out of the house and joining in with activities, improving their wellbeing. Our activities are for the whole family - the parents attend the activities with their child and any siblings.
How you can help
Any donations would make a huge difference to us as they would enable us to provide these activity sessions for the local families. We would use the money for room hire, to purchase crafts, toys and activities, and bouncy castle hire in the summer. Over the last year we have lost a significant amount of local authority funding due to cuts and changes to the eligibility criteria. We rely solely on fundraising and kind donations.
We would really appreciate you helping our project so that we can continue to provide our much needed services. We are a volunteer run charity and have been running as The-Zone! for over 4 years. Our families struggle to find suitable and affordable activities for their children with autism or other additional needs and we believe that we are helping to fill that gap. We have over 500 parent members in our Facebook group, and we have around 100 families who attend our range of activities across the year.
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