Stones’ pathway of help

Wiltshire Times: Give us a chance appeal Give us a chance appeal

Mum Caroline Farley is very grateful for the difference that Trowbridge children’s charity Stepping Stones has made to her daughter’s life.

Three-year-old Mia Blaxall first started going to the centre, which serves west Wiltshire children with learning difficulties and disabilities, when she was identified as having a development disorder at 15-months-old.

Doctors are still diagnosing Mia’s condition, but her quality of life is improving in the meantime thanks to the communication, sensory and physio sessions she has at Stepping Stones, based in Broadcloth Lane.

Miss Farley, 37, of Kingfisher Drive, Westbury, said: “When it was established that Mia had a rare genetic disorder it was quite a shock, but thankfully Stepping Stones provided a great support network for us.”

Last month Stepping Stones, lost £10,000 of funding from Wiltshire Council, after central government withdrew its Aiming High For Disabled Children grants.

This left the charity needing to raise a total of £50,000 a year and prompted the Times to launch the Give Us A Chance campaign to make up some of the shortfall with £7,866 being raised so far.

Mia attends Stepping Stones twice a week as well as going to Kingfisher Pre-School in Westbury.

Miss Farley said that Stepping Stones has also provided advice and help to her, Mia’s father Lee Blaxall, and Mia’s big sister Katie, 12.

She said: “It has been a huge rollercoaster, but I’d like to thank Stepping Stones as they have always been there for us.

“I’d urge as many people as possible to donate to the campaign as it is surprising just how many people Stepping Stones helps.

“Every little really will make a huge difference to young people’s lives.”

To find out about fundraising for the charity, call 01225 350004 or email barbara@ steppingstones.plus.com.

How Stepping Stones supports special needs children

  • The centre caters for children from birth to five years with a wide range of different conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism
  • Its catchment area is Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, Bradford on Avon, Melksham and the surrounding villages
  • Referrals can be made by paediatricians, GPs, health visitors, social workers, early years practitioners, medical therapists and parents
  • Following referral, children attend assessment sessions for a period of time (six to eight weeks) every Tuesday morning to enable a full assessment of their  needs
  • They are also given the opportunity to meet health professionals such as the speech and language therapist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist
  • The centre has two playrooms, a sensory room, an enclosed outside play area, a parents’ room, kitchen and accessible toilets
  • The last Ofsted inspection carried out on Stepping Stones in 2011 found that the overall  effectiveness of the early years provision at the nursery was outstanding
  • l Call the centre on 01225 350004 or for more details, visit www.steppingstonestrowbridge.co.uk.

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