Topcats provides opportunities for children and young people aged 0-30 years with additional and complex needs in Lowestoft and the surrounding areas offering 9 different project and activity programmes. These run from Monday to Saturday (term time) and Monday to Friday during school holidays. The young people are invited to participate in a fun and fulfilling project where they need specialist support, equipment and subsidised opportunities which are not always freely available in Lowestoft.
The People That Topcats Support!
The young people have a variety of complex needs meaning that they cannot always access opportunities like that of their mainstream peers. These include support with communication, health, mobility, emotional health, social skills and building friendships due to diagnoses such as Autism, Asperger’s, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Battens Disease, Fragile X Syndrome and Lissencephaly. Alongside these personal and complex needs the young people also live in the deprived area of Lowestoft. Lowestoft scores below 10% nationally in areas such as employment, salaries and academic attainment according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015 which can lead to other barriers to inclusions and poor mental health and well-being.
How we have grown!
Topcats has come a long way in the past 5 years and has developed its building inside and out through the generosity of funders and organising our own fundraising events. We strive to continue raising these funds for the benefit of the young people who need the lifeline that Topcats provides for them and their families and carers.
The reason we are raising money!
The one thing we haven't got or have ever had is the use of a minibus, specifically an adapted minibus. We would absolutely love to have our own because the service has grown so much and in order to cater for all the individual needs of all the young people who attend the benefits would be enormous. An adapted minibus is an expensive project, but the rewards would be magical! With the amount of diverse activities we now access and the amount of young people who come to Topcats, it would mean that the service could be entirely inclusive as everyone would be able to access the bus and everyone could access a variety of activities not just in the local community but around it! As well as the funds needed for the minibus, we also need to consider training for staff to ensure we have drivers available and the insurance and running costs.
Getting Topcats On the Move!
If we could get Topcats on the move the possibilities would be never ending. With an adapted minibus we could access days out on a more regular basis, the trips that are accessed on a daily basis would mean everyone could travel together. Topcats also run a very busy afternoon club, if we were to have a minibus, we could pick up more young people, some of those who are unable to attend currently because there is no way to get them here due to mobility needs. Topcats is very much about inclusion and we want to enable more young people to access the service. The strain on staff cars is immense as currently all staff have to pay for business insurance and then have escorts for each car. Mileage is a cost for Topcats that would be simplified with the use of only maintaining one vehicle. It would be safer, more environmentally friendly and much nicer for everyone to travel together.
What other people say!
""I first went to Topcats when I was only 4 months old and both Mummy and I were greeted with such love and support that we instantly fell in love with the place and the staff"
Topcats "provide a much-needed service in the Lowestoft area not only supporting Tom** but giving our family much needed respite"
"Topcats listen to what individuals and their families need"
"All our lives are better thanks to the support of Topcats"
"Without services like Topcats, we, as a family would find it a great struggle in finding the correct care"
"The staff at Topcats are amazing and have also taken Lucy** into their hearts"
"Joe** has been going to Topcats for a number of years now during the school holidays and they always cater for his needs and let him do the things he enjoys most while there."
** names have changed for privacy and safeguarding