13 Aug 2008

Set up in 1984, our PACT project in York supports disabled children and young people by helping them to stand up for their rights.

PACT does what it says on the tin – it stands for Participation, Advocacy, Consultancy and Training. We do all of this to make sure that the young people we work feel empowered, self confident and happy!

We use a variety of different methods to help the young people achieve this. From using our innovative and award winning ‘I’ll Go First’ CD Rom, providing a ‘student befrienders’ scheme or getting young people into work experience, all our work is entirely child centred.

We believe that all children can communicate. The PACT’ ‘I’ll Go First’ CD-Rom, trains professionals to have the skills, confidence and knowledge to communicate with disabled children and young people who have communication impairments.

The tool helps children and young people to express their feeling about the care and education their receive in a fun and creative way – especially children with high communication needs who use non-verbal methods of communication. It helps them to be included in decisions about their future and their path to increasing independence.

Laura is one such person increasing her independence and benefiting from the schemes we run at PACT. We work with her to provide work experience, learn new skills and increase her confidence in professional work situations. Getting into work has increased her confidence and given her the chance to learn new skills.

"I work at a pet shop. When I first started I was so nervous but I had support and gradually I felt more confident. When people at work say “Thanks” and “You’re doing a good job” I feel so much better about myself and really proud of me."
- Laura

Direct work, such as Laura’s success, is at the heart of the programme. Young volunteers work alongside children like Laura to improve their independent living skills at home and in the community, learn about appropriate transport, plan activities and learn how to manage their own money. Enquiring about cinema times and finding the best route helps their transition to more independence as well as lots of fun.

By spending time to match young people of similar interests and hobbies together, lasting relationships are built and continue to impact the lives of both young people.

We work directly with disabled children and young people, provide accredited training for professional and volunteers throughout the country and consult with children nationally.

Twenty-four years on from our opening, we continue to innovate and campaign for the rights of young people we work with. We’re making childhood better.