Poole Councillor Xena Dion and CWC staff - Luke Dowsett (L) and Connor Scott-Saunders (R) at Rossmore Leisure Centre with a child that is supported by CWC

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.

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