Council funding breaks for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (From Wiltshire Times)
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Council funding breaks for young people with special educational needs and disabilities
11:40am Wednesday 25th July 2012 in News
More than 1,000 young people with with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as their carers, are expected to benefit from short breaks and activities in Wiltshire this year.
The council has committed £1 million to maintain the service after a three year government funded package came to an end, and a range of activities are available over the summer.
The activities and breaks for young people aged from toddler to 25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities include cycling, holiday clubs, pony riding, swimming, fishing and drama.
This year more than 1,100 children and young people are expected to have access to short breaks or activity programmes – with a full programme of events planned for the coming summer holidays.
Wiltshire Council’s portfolio holder for children's services, Laura Mayes, said: “This scheme has proved invaluable for children with disabilities and their families and that’s why we were determined to keep it going once the government grant had come to an end.
“We have been inundated with positive comments from the families and carers who have benefited from these short breaks.
“They provide great fun and entertainment for the young people and give respite for the carers who devote so much time to looking after their loved ones.”
Families have the opportunity to use options including weekend and holiday clubs as well as using direct funding from the council called the “local offer” for parents and carers to spend on breaks that suit their child.
The council predicts that in the coming year more of the potential 1,100 eligible families will take up the local offer. This means a further 200 families are likely to take up the breaks on offer.
Mum Alice Jackman of Trowbridge has seen how her 13 year-old son who has Autism has benefitted from accessing funding for short breaks.
She said: "This is my first year using the funding, and it was a revelation. It involves just one piece of paper and using an assessment that had already been done, and then the money was in my son's account within the month.
“So far I have paid for him to have a weekend at a residential camp and to pay for his helper. He has also performed in a play thanks to special support.
“And 32 hours of play rehearsals and performances later we have a deliriously happy boy. It is liberating to be trusted to decide how best to spend the money to support my child and be able to make a decision in just one day.”
To find out more about the activities available over the summer hoilidays and the funding available for short breaks for young people with special educational needs and/ or disabilities, visit the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council website at www.wiltshireparentcarercouncil.co.uk
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