Get Involved with Your Local Charity and Support Those with Disabilities in Dorset

Dorset’s disability charity, Diverse Abilities, is looking for kind-hearted, fun loving and social individuals, 18 years or older, to be part of its brand new ‘Friends of Diverse Abilities’ group.

The aim of the group is to form a volunteer-led committee that will work collectively to raise the profile of the charity and the work it does across the county. The role of the group will include organising events to raise the much needed funds that are required to ensure the charity can continue supporting adults and children with profound physical and learning disabilities in Dorset.

The ‘Friends of Diverse Abilities’ group will give members an opportunity to be part of a dedicated team and offers a great opportunity for individuals to develop new skills – essential to any glowing CV, meet other like-minded people and achieve a personally rewarding experience. Most importantly, the initiative hopes that all members have an enjoyable time, with the added bonus of helping local people with disabilities.

Fiona Hansford, Corporate and Community Manager at Diverse Abilities, said: “We are really looking forward to our ‘Friends of Diverse Abilities’ group and hope that lots of enthusiastic people want to get involved with our fantastic charity. We are looking for individuals of all ages, so get in touch and help us make a difference.”

If the ‘Friends of Diverse Abilities’ group is something you may be interested in joining, or if you would like to find out more information about the initiative, the charity would love to see you at its open evening on Wednesday 10 September, at the charity’s head office located at Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole BH12 4NZ at 6pm. Please RSVP to Fiona Hansford via email at:  or via telephone: 01202 718266 to confirm your attendance.


Jumping for Joy Thanks to Grant

Dorset’s disability charity,Diverse Abilities, has successfully received a leisure grant of £995 from Borough of Poole. The grant will support the charity’s Coping with CHAOS service to deliver supported gym and trampolining for disabled children and their siblings in Poole during the school holidays as part of its play opportunity sessions.

The service, which is part of the charity that supports children and adults with disabilities in Dorset, has received funding from Borough of Poole three years running. Last year funding was received for gym and trampolining sessions and the year prior to that supported swimming sessions.

With the help of the grant last year, 37 children with disabilities and 25 siblings attended the gym sessions – that’s 62 children in just five one hour sessions that were able to access a sport that they normally would have great difficulty accessing.  And 37 parents who were able to meet each other and develop social networks.

Feedback from families shows that they value the opportunity to take part in supported specialised sessions. A parent whose son attended a gym and trampolining session last year said: “‘Michael has Asperger’s and does not tolerate other people at all, he doesn’t want friends or to leave the house. Going to the gym sessions has not only boosted his self-esteem but also his physical abilities and his social skills, he now talks to people in the gym and will even ask for help! It has greatly improved his mood swings and his temperament is much more cheerful. He seems, at last, a bit happy with himself, which is priceless!”

Margaret Rustici, Coping with CHAOS Manager, said: “We’d like to say thank you to Borough of Poole for granting us this funding, we are extremely grateful. The sessions are fantastic for the children we support as gym and trampolining provides therapeutic exercise and recreation for children with a wide range of disabilities. It can facilitate movement, promote balance and develops great co-ordination.”

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Sports Development, Borough of Poole, said: “We are delighted to be able to continue providing funding for such projects. These activities can make a real difference to the quality of people’s lives and it’s just amazing to see the positive effects that a gym or trampolining session can have on the children and their families.”

Coping with CHAOS provides support to families with disabled children in Dorset up to the age of 19 and has been described by many local parents as a lifeline. The service offers a variety of play sessions during the school holidays for children with disabilities and their siblings, giving parents an opportunity of a short break, plus a weekly youth club for teenagers with disabilities, called Awesome Nights. The service also has a one-to-one befriending service and coffee mornings providing support, signposting and guidance for parents and CHAOS Juniors, a once monthly stay and play session for disabled pre-schoolers.

To run Coping with CHAOS it costs £213,801 per year and therefore the service relies on grants, donations and volunteers. If you can lend a hand, please contact Diverse Abilities Plus on 01202 718266 or Coping with CHAOS direct on 01202 855105.

Gift for Life Fortnight

Disability charity, Diverse Abilities, has teamed up with five leading Dorset-based solicitors who are offering 50 per cent off making a will or amending an existing will during Gift for Life Fortnight – taking place from the 8 – 21 September 2014.

The 50 per cent discount applies to single wills, joint wills and those making an amendment to an existing will (a codicil). Local solicitors working in partnership with the charity are Humphries Kirk, Dickinson Manser, Battens, Coles Miller and Porter Dodson, and all have offices located throughout Dorset including, Dorchester, Poole, Weymouth, Wareham, Swanage, Broadstone and Bournemouth

The charity that supports nearly 1,500 local children and adults with disabilities, and their families each year is appealing for those who take up this offer to consider leaving a gift in their will to Diverse Abilities Plus.  A gift could help local children attend the charity’s specialist school, Langside, which is one of the top schools in the country for children with complex needs. It could also support children to go on short breaks and fun leisure activities where they will make new friends and learn new skills.  Or it could pay for a nurse to provide vital support to children in their own homes.

Sadie Smith, the parent of James, 17, who has been supported by the charity since he was two, said: “Being part of Langside School has made a huge difference to James.  He receives excellent health care at school and is provided with a stimulating environment that helps him learn.  It has given our family a real sense of wellbeing; whilst he is at Langside or the short break home we don’t need to worry about him.  The staff are so loving and caring, each child is special to them.  As a parent that is the best we could hope for and is something we wouldn’t get in mainstream school.”

Nuisha Abab, Senior Fundraiser at Diverse Abilities Plus, said: “No matter how big or small, a gift in your will is an amazing gift from one generation to another and means Diverse Abilities Plus can fund life-changing programmes that provide a better future for those with disabilities, and their families, in Dorset. It is a vital source of funding for us as a charity and is one of the best ways that you can help us secure a better future for the people we support.”

For those that wish to take up the offer, an approximate guide of cost, after the discount has been applied, would be: a single will £75, rather than £150; a mirror will £108 – £135, usually £216 – £270 and an amendment to an existing will (a codicil) £50, usually £100. Costs will vary slightly between solicitors.

To take up the offer, please contact Nuisha Abab and not the solicitors on 01202 718266 or email

Thank You to LV= Volunteers

Over 60 volunteers from LV= recently dedicated their time over a four-day period as part of an initiative concentrating on improving the services offered by Dorset’s disability charity, Diverse Abilities.

The volunteers split into teams and spent the first two days working at Barnabas – the charity’s day opportunities service where adults socialise and undertake fun and stimulating activities. The remaining two days were spent at Langside School, a specialist day school for children with profound and multiple disabilities.

At Barnabas the team revamped the stage area inside the building by cleaning mould from the ceiling, repainting and putting up display boards. The volunteers also put their green fingers to work by giving the garden area some care and attention, reconditioning benches, repairing raised beds and dismantling a chicken coop.

The team also put some final touches to the sensory garden at Langside School and gave the area a clean and tidy by pressure washing and re-painting the decking, decorative wooden beams and a terraced area.

Samantha Preece, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at LV=, said: “This is the second group of employees from LV= that have helped to transform the sensory garden area at Langside School over the last few months.  We’re delighted that so many of our people have given their time to create a better environment for the children at the school.  As one of the largest employers in the area we support our people whenever possible to go out and volunteer in the community.”

Sarah Harrison, Volunteer Recruitment Manager, said: “We would like to thank the LV= volunteers for all of their great work and support, they really have been an invaluable asset for the charity! Their enthusiasm during the four day period really paid off as Langside School and Barnabas now looks fantastic.”

Diverse Abilities Plus is always looking to recruit volunteers who would like to get involved with various future projects. If this is something you, or your company would be interested in, please contact Sarah Harrison on 01202 718266 or email if you would like to get involved.