Holiday activities and ideas to help solve the 'what to do' dilemas, plus a couple of ideas for future hols.
We all know that for any parent, finding things to do over the summer holidays can be difficult. Even more so for parents of children with disabilities for a number of reasons:
- You may need to consider access
- You may need to consider whether there is age and dignity appropriate changing facilities
- You may need to consider crowds, sensory needs, noise and anxiety levels
- Parent Carers can be put off going out due to the looks, comments and stares of members of the public
- Cost, for a variety of reasons and family arrangements but also the added cost of having a child with additional needs that can impact some families.
- The kids may need a break from you for independence and confidence and you may need respite too, but popular holiday clubs don't and sometimes won't meet our children's needs.
Here are a few of the places and things to do and groups that we are aware of that might give you a few ideas
Groups and Services
Special Friends is a charity that runs in Bristol and South Glos and is ran by Parent Volunteers. They organise activities and days out for families who would otherwise find it difficult to access mainstream activities and venues. It is membership based and the families who are members make up a broad and wide range of disabilities and it can be so nice to be at a venue as part of a group who understand your challenges. membership fee depends on family size and is paid quarterly and is great value for money. The activities are always fun and encourage families to try new things they might have assumed not possible. Get in touch with Special Friends to find out more about how to apply to become a member. At times there can be a little wait for a space due to capacity and for the board of trustees to approve membership (confirming that criteria to join has been met) so it may not be the answer for this summer, but it could be for future holiday breaks. Click here to find out more about how to join.
Hop Skip and Jump
If you are familiar with Grimsbury Road Farm, you will know where Hop Skip and Jump is. It is a respite centre for children with disabilities and provides flexible, cost effective and immediate respite care. HSJ centres have sensory rooms, soft play and art and musical facilities and a large outdoor play area and their Bristol facilities have been awarded 'Recognised Provider' status by South Glos Council so if your child needs a break from you and you need the respite this may be an option for you. Check out their website here and take a virtual tour.
Children's Playlink merged with Brandon Trust in 2015 and manage playschemes at 4 different locations across South Glos: Yate, Thornbury, Little Stoke and Kingswood. They cater for different for all types of disability from adhd to physical disabilities. As a rule support is 1 to 1 unless the child is more independent, then it may be 2 to 1 play worker. Each site has an arts and crafts area, construction area, sports equipment, outdoor play and cooking activities. This service is popular and you may not be able to join in time for this summer holidays, but they do operate throughout the year during Easter, February and October holidays so if you are interested get in touch. They also offer a buddy scheme whereby support can assist a child in attending a mainstream club or activity such as scouts or gymnastics to support your child in engaging. Check out their website for more information here. Below is also an information sheet, registration form, buddy scheme leaflet and Support Plan paperwork.
Elm Tree Farm - Farm Holiday Club
Elm Tree Farm a Brandon Trust Enterprise are running a farm holiday club for young people aged 11 - 18 with mild to moderate support needs. It is a free range organic farm that is also a care farm offering training to adults with learning disabilities and autism. The farm holiday club offers opportunities in animal care, wood work, apple pressing, cookery, craft and gardening. Sessions are £25 a day nd runs from the 24th of July to the 31st of August 8:30am til 3pm. A brilliant opprtunity for learning and building confidence. To book or to find out more information call or email: 07464670915 E: email@example.com. There is some information about Elm Tree on the Brandon Trust website here. Have a look also at the flyer here.
SENSE Woodside Centre
SENSE is a charity that supports people who are Deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs. They have a beautiful facility in Kingswood, The Woodside Centre. We have caught wind of a playscheme over the holidays at The Woodside Centre on the following dates: 26th & 27th of July and 1st, 2nd & 3rd August. There should be more details announced week commencing the 3rd of July 2017. Should you want to get in touch to find out more about this playscheme or more about the service in general, click here.
Places to visit and play together
Is a unique outdoor play and adventure park just for children with disabilities, their friends and family. Giant sand pits, water play, climbing equipment, play houses, cow boy wagon and pirate ships. There is so much to do and play with and all in a beautiful tranquil setting. It is not open to the general public so it is a very understanding space. You will need to become a member to access the facilities, but this is a one off payment of £10 for lifetime membership. To join just call Jinny Rawlings on: 01454 238083 and leave a message and a volunteer will be in touch to arrange a time to meet to go through everything and show you about. For more information check out their website and watch their virtual map here or check out their brochure here.