Many disabled children say that leisure and play – after school, in the holidays and at weekends – is the most important missing element in their lives. (Source: Contact a Family). A child’s complex needs could mean that they need physical support to take part in an activity, that they find it difficult to understand and follow instructions, or that they lack the social skills needed to make friends. There are approximately 8,500 children and teenagers with additional needs who require special educational needs support in Wokingham and Reading. Each year we face a growing demand for our innovative work and last year saw a 60% (n45) increase in the number of individuals we directly supported.
An independent evaluation found that families want children to be able to access mainstream activities but there is a lack of support for them to do so. Me2 Club offers the solution by recruiting, training and supporting amazing volunteer ‘buddies’. The funding will be spent on our volunteer programme thus enabling more children with complex additional needs access to mainstream leisure activities. Most volunteers (aged 16+) are recruited via presentations at schools and colleges before they attend our comprehensive induction training course. The impact will be: - Increased self-esteem and confidence - Reduced social isolation - Increased independence - Building on vital life skills.
Our delivery team are highly skilled practitioners with significant experience and a passion for making mainstream activities accessible and inclusive. Our Chief Executive is an experienced leader of change and accredited programme manager who focuses on the coproduction of services with beneficiaries. Our Trustees have a wide range of knowledge and expertise including 2 with lived experience of children with additional needs. In 2011 we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. In 2021 we were finalists in the UK Youth Inspiring Hope Awards. Me2 Club is a preferred short break provider in Wokingham Borough. We are 1 of only 5 local providers with this ‘seal of approval’.