The Children's Society Disability Inclusion Programme
The Children's Society Disability Inclusion Programme gives disabled children and their families a break from everyday routine.
Commissioned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, the project offers value-for-money short breaks for up to three families at a time in its residential bungalow unit. While disabled children are there, they have the chance to have fun and live as 'regular' a life as possible for a few days.
They can visit at the same time as their friends, and the bungalow is close to the town centre if they want to go out. It looks like any other house. The project gives families a break too, not only with short breaks but through its new sitting service, which offers families of disabled children three hours of care for their child each week, so they can have some time off. As with our short breaks, flexibility is key. Parents can choose when their children are cared for by us; they aren't just assigned set days which may or not fit in with family life.
At The Children's Society Disability Inclusion Programme, disabled children and young people are given a say in everything that happens. Those who visit the project are constantly encouraged to give feedback, to make the service even better.
'We want to give disabled children as much power as possible'
Maureen Murray, programme manager, says, 'At its heart, the project is all about inclusion of disabled children and their families in normal life. We want to give them as much power as possible, no matter how profoundly disabled they may be. Because of this we’ve worked with our young people to create the Askability website, where disabled children and young people can access the latest national and local information, news and what’s on, and keep in touch with their peers in a safe environment.'
'We have shared a long and beneficial partnership with The Children's Society and through The Children's Society Disability Inclusion Programme have given the opportunity to many disabled children and young people to enjoy overnight stays away from their families and carers. The Children's Society has been instrumental in helping us achieve our desired outcomes of improving the lives of disabled children and young people in our local area.'
–Lynda Akhtar, children's disability team manager at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
'We both find it impossible to put into words just how much you have changed our lives and we’d like to thank the staff who have worked with us.'
'My son really enjoys going to The Children's Society Disability Inclusion Programme. If the project wasn't here, it would put more strain on our relationship because we wouldn’t have that break that most children have if they go to family and friends. Because of my son’s special needs with his wheelchair, there’s not many people and places that he can go for a break and that’s why this place is so important.'
'Staff are committed to providing the best possible care for young people. Excellent links are maintained with parents and key agencies such as placing authority, health professionals and schools. Achieving the best outcomes for young people is a high priority for the home.'
–Lead Ofsted inspector, Claudette Morgan (the project has been consistently highly rated by Ofsted)