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 nuisha.abab@diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk

Do a Good Deed for Dorset’s Disability Community this Volunteers’ Week

Diverse Abilities is inviting local people to an open morning at its special school, Langside, from 10am until 12pm next Thursday (5 June) to celebrate National Volunteers Week – an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution volunteers make across the UK, taking place next week from 1 – 7 June.

The aim of the open morning is to thank the charity’s current volunteers, showcase the school’s new sensory garden, which was created by a group of corporate supporters, and give people ideas on how easy it is to get involved with Diverse Abilities and volunteer to make a difference to local people with disabilities.

Those that attend the event will be able to enjoy some refreshments while wandering around the garden or chatting to the charity’s staff, people it supports or current volunteers. Tours of Langside School, which provides education to 28 children from the ages of two to 19 who have special educational needs and physical difficulties, will also be available on the day.

National Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and at the open morning Diverse Abilities will be asking people in Dorset to get involved and pledge just 30 minutes of their time to the charity.

Sarah Harrison, Volunteer and Recruitment Manager, at Diverse Abilities, said: “In just 30 minutes you can actually achieve quite a lot that can really help the charity and the people it supports. For example – plant a seed for one of our adults we support’s garden, undertake some research online for our central office, bake some cakes to help raise funds or distribute some collection pots or leaflets in your local area… these are just a few ideas and there are many more!”

Currently 100 individuals in the Dorset community volunteer for the charity, plus a number of local businesses including Barclays, LV=, Nationwide and Bournemouth University, who volunteer on a project basis. Based on these volunteers providing an average of two hours of their time every month, the value of this contribution each year is in excess of £25,000, which is very important for a not-for-profit organisation such as Diverse Abilities.

Diverse Abilities Plus sees its volunteer base as a core asset in leading the organisation towards its goals and all volunteers are treated with respect and appreciation of the contribution they make. By volunteering with the charity individuals can build upon their skills and knowledge and are encouraged to be creative and innovative. The charity assists them to achieve their full potential within their appointed role and a personal or professional gain from their involvement.

Sarah added: “We are strongly supporting Volunteers’ Week as there are many benefits to volunteering and getting involved in the local community. No matter what your age or ability, there will be something that is perfect for you. We hope many people come along to our open morning and see what difference they can make to children and adults with disabilities.”

If you would like to attend the event or find out more information, please contact Sarah on 01202 718266 or email sarah.harrison@diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk.

Brand New Sensory Garden at Langside School is Officially Open!

Children, parents and staff at Langside School, an independent, non-maintained, special day school run by Dorset charity Diverse Abilities, celebrated the official opening of a brand new sensory garden this week thanks to the hard work of volunteers from Barclays, ISS Landscaping and MA Hart plus donations of materials from Gibbs & Dandy and New Milton Sand & Ballast.

The sensory garden has been a six month project to rejuvenate the outside area at the school, which provides education to 28 children from the ages of two to 19 who have special educational needs and physical difficulties, often with complex medical conditions.

Volunteers from the local businesses started from scratch to revamp the area for the children to enjoy ready for this summer by clearing plants, weeds and mounds of undergrowth before moving onto digging up the garden, setting concrete borders and planting sensory plants and installing sensory items that the children can easily reach when they visit the garden.

The garden was completed with a sensory arch at the entrance to the area, which was kindly donated by the Barclays team. David Wilson, the Director of Infrastructure at Barclays Global Payments, officially opened the new garden area alongside parents and children from the school and said: “As a major employer in the Dorset region, Barclays – in conjunction with its corporate partners – has an incredibly strong community programme and I am very proud of the efforts of all 25 of the volunteers in creating something very special for such a worthwhile cause.”

Jon Seaward, School Principal, said: “The transformation of the sensory garden is just astonishing and we can’t wait to see the children benefiting from all the efforts made from all our fantastic volunteers this summer.”

Sarah Harrison, Volunteer Recruitment Manager, said: “We can’t thank everyone enough for the fantastic work that has been undertaken at Langside School. The area looks fabulous and we want to say a massive thank you to every single volunteer for their efforts and enthusiasm.”

Diverse Abilities is always on the lookout for volunteers to help out on projects that will further fulfil the lives of adults and children with disabilities in Dorset. Please contact Sarah Harrison on 01202 718266 or email sarah.harrison@diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk if you would like to get involved and donate some of your spare time.

Diverse Abilities Awards Recognise Inspiring People

Diverse Abilities has launched its first ‘Thank You Awards’ to acknowledge the inspirational people that are connected to the Dorset-based charity that supports children and adults with profound learning and physical disabilities in the county.

The Thank You Awards took place at Barnabas, the charity’s adult opportunities service in Poole with special guests – children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis, who gave out the awards, and Cherries legend Steve Fletcher.

Winners included 13-year-old Josh Faramus, who has autism and learning disabilities, but continues to fund raise for the charity which has supported him for ten years. He received the award for “a child we support who’s achieved something remarkable”.

Lawrence Godfrey, who has been supported by the charity for more than 20 years, received the award for the “adult we support who’s achieved something remarkable” for losing two-and-a-half stone, while Tineke Knight received the Lifetime Achievement award after recently retiring from the charity where she worked at Langside School for more than 20 years.

Sandy Ranu received the Individual Volunteer of the Year award, after volunteering at 12 events during 2013, Hannah Fielding won the Individual Fundraiser of the Year award after raising £5,000 in a sponsored skydive for the charity, and Simon Shave, who is supported by Diverse Abilities, received the Outstanding Voluntary Contribution award for his work volunteering.

Emma Wray, who supports Simon, was recognised as the “staff member who’s gone above and beyond”, while a volunteer team from Barclays and the team at Haskins were presented with corporate awards for their support of the charity.

Charlotte Curtis, the charity’s head of business resources, said: “We see the great job that our staff do day-in day-out, how committed our volunteers and supporters are to the charity and the achievements that the people we support accomplish and therefore wanted to express how thankful we are to them all for being such inspirational people.”

For more information regarding Diverse Abilities please call 01202 718266.

LV= Volunteers Brave the Wet Weather to Make a Difference to Charity School

Children at charity run Langside School in Poole will now be able to enjoy their garden area even more this summer thanks to a team of 21 volunteers from LV= in Bournemouth.

The volunteers braved the wet weather and spent a whole day renovating the wildlife garden by reconditioning the rockery, repairing paving and replanting flowers and plants. They also created a brand new sensory garden area for the younger children, painted some woodwork and made a new balustrade for the decking area. LV= contributed £250 worth of materials for the project.

Samantha Preece, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at LV=, said: “I’m delighted to see how hard the LV= team has worked to create the sensory garden at Langside School. I hope the children and staff will enjoy using the space for years to come.”

Sarah Harrison, Volunteer Recruitment Manager, said: “We can’t thank LV= volunteers enough for the fantastic work that was undertaken at Langside School. The area looks great and we want to say a massive thank you to every single volunteer for their efforts on the day.”

Langside is an independent, non-maintained, special day school run by Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity, and provides education to 28 children from the ages of two to 19 who have special educational needs and physical difficulties, often with complex medical conditions.

Diverse Abilities is looking to recruit volunteers to work on various projects in the future. Please contact Sarah Harrison on 01202 718266 or email sarah.harrison@diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk if you would like to get involved.

 

Celebrating 15 years of CHAOS in Dorset

Coping with CHAOS, one of the services run by Dorset’s disability charity Diverse Abilities, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and are looking forward to the 16 July when the service can officially celebrate its birthday.

The service that joined Diverse Abilities in April 2011, 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. Coping with CHAOS offers a variety of play sessions during the school holidays for children with disabilities and their siblings, giving parents the 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.

Since becoming a charitable organisation in 1999, Coping with CHAOS has grown and grown. It now supports over 300 families in Dorset and following a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, the service now provides even more support to families in rural Dorset, expanding into the north and west of the county including Blandford and Dorchester.

Coping with CHAOS was set up by two parents, Liz Morris and Anne Boyce, both of whom had children with disabilities. Both felt frustrated that there were not any services available for children with a disability, their siblings and parents to bring the whole family together. Therefore they set up Coping with CHAOS’ first play session which took place during the summer holidays and supported 12 families.

To this day, the service is primarily run by parents that have children with disabilities and they can therefore can provide advice and support to parents that need to talk to someone, as well as providing the perfect setting for children with disabilities, their parents and siblings – allowing them, to all enjoy their time together as a family as the quote below illustrates.

A parent that uses the Coping with CHAOS service said: “The service has helped our family enormously over the years. Summer seemed such a daunting stretch of difficult outings and restrictions. CHAOS opened up our options and gave us a reason to enjoy outings, less pressure, inclusion, for the whole family and full acceptance. Brilliant!’

To run Coping with CHAOS it costs £265,000 per year and therefore the service relies on grants, donations and volunteers.

If you can get involved and help in anyway, please do get in touch on 01202 855105.

Diverse Abilities Launch Awards to Thank Inspiring People

Diverse Abilities has launched its first ‘Thank You Awards’ to acknowledge the inspirational people that are connected to the Dorset-based charity that supports children and adults with profound learning and physical disabilities in the county.

Anyone and everyone in Dorset can nominate an inspiring person or group that is either a Diverse Abilities fundraising enthusiast, an employee, a volunteer or an adult, child or family supported by the charity.

The ‘Thank You Award’ categories include the following – Employee Lifetime Achievement; Corporate Supporter; Volunteer Team; Individual Volunteer of the Year; Outstanding Voluntary Contribution; Individual Fundraiser of the Year; Child, young person or adult the charity supports who’s achieved something remarkable and Staff member or team who has gone above and beyond.

Charlotte Curtis, Head of Business Resources at Diverse Abilities, said: “We see the great job that our staff do day-in day-out, how committed our volunteers and supporters are to the charity and the achievements that the people we support accomplish and therefore wanted to express how thankful we are to them all for being such inspirational people. If you know of anyone that fits into one of the categories, please put them forward and help them realise how fantastic they are.

The deadline for nominations is Monday 17 March and a panel of judges will choose the finalists, which will be invited to an awards reception on Wednesday 30 April.