SensationALL provide therapeutic activities and specialist support for individuals with disabilities or multiple support needs (MSN), their families and associated professionals. To improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities by supporting them, we make specialist support accessible to the whole family in a tailored environment.
This year we were lucky enough to have secured three years funding from Children in Need, this funding has assisted the development of two groups to promote inclusion, social opportunities and empowerment of skills for children with multiple support needs and their siblings.
Inclusive Social Group
Previously only a monthly group, the Inclusive Social Group now runs every second week and is a social group for primary school-aged children with support needs (mainly autism and learning issues) and their siblings. It is run in conjunction with our sister social enterprise out of school care club, Schools Out! This gives us the opportunity to create a safe, supported environment for children with mainstream and diverse needs to play and learn from each other. A range of games, interactive activities and therapeutic rooms are available for all the children, supported by experienced SensationALL staff. An added benefit for most of our families is that it is a drop-off session, where parents and carers are not expected to stay on-site, so providing a brief period of respite in an often challenging life.
Already it is evident how valuable this group is for families, some of whom travel almost 20 miles to attend. One mother said “It is one of the few places that we can come and I can leave my son, knowing that he is not only cared for in a safe place, but that he will be encouraged to engage with a range of peers, while learning to tolerate others and have unique opportunities to self-regulate with supportive staff in special facilities”.
One young sibling also said “It’s great that my brother has autism because it means that we both get to come here and play with our friends. I get to meet other siblings and have great fun!”
SocALLise Teenage Social Group
This group has developed rapidly over the last two school terms, increasing attendee numbers by 60%. It is attended weekly by academy-aged youngsters with various support needs (most being autism related). As well as this group being structured around usual youth club type activities like; pool, games, baking, sports, quizzes, and creative projects; the youth group get the opportunity to partake in community based visits and outings.
SensationALL Operational Team Lead, Suz Strachan says: “the focus for this group is to promote confidence, provide social and community based opportunities to increase vocational experiences and generally promote social skills and self resilience.”
One teenager said “I struggle to fit in, always have and SocALLise gives me a place to come every week where I can meet my friends and be accepted. I would probably just do nothing or sit in my room otherwise.” One of the parents expressed the difference it had already made to their teenage son: “…we have seen our son’s confidence increase and for a boy who’s default mode is reluctance, avoidance and negative thinking; the staff have quickly attuned to his needs and found ways to encourage his involvement in all the group’s activities.”
With less than 10% of income originating from service income, SensationALL rely heavily on grants, trusts and donations to ensure the continuation of life-changing groups like those supported by Children in Need and to help the development of their unique vision of an inclusive supportive hub for the North of Scotland.
SensationALL are very thankful for the opportunity to benefit from the support of Children in Need, not only in the form of funding, but also in their marketing and training support, which for a small, growing charity can assist with the empowerment of skills to ensure long term sustainability.