Swings & Smiles in TilehurstOctober 12th 2023
We recently supported Swings & Smiles with an Empowering Local Communities grant, via Asda Tilehurst.
Swings & Smiles offer support for disabled children and their families in a unique and accessible environment. Their services include respite, family play sessions, youth clubs, sibling support and outreach. Support is varied and tailored to the needs of the individual.
Rhonda Nicklin, Swings & Smiles CEO, said “At Swings & Smiles, we offer a wide range of support through play, to meet the needs of disabled children and their families. We support families across the range of disabilities to offer play opportunities for children with complex physical needs as well as children with a SEND diagnosis within main steam schools. We also welcome visits to the centre from schools, groups and individuals who may benefit from our facilities and to increase a sense of inclusivity within our community.”
They support the whole family including parents, carers, the disabled child, siblings and grandparents, providing opportunities to enjoy playing together without the pressures often experienced in wider community settings.
One parent, who uses the service, said “Swings & Smiles has been fantastic for our entire family. Spending time with other parents, carers and staff who embrace the things that make my child different.”
Another parent said “We found ourselves able to be a ‘normal’ family without worrying about what other people were thinking and being self-conscious – which is how we had always felt previously. We have got to meet families who are in similar situations to us and, as a result, feel less isolated.”
They used their grant to purchase cooking equipment, art & craft supplies, snacks, messy play supplies and sensory toys; allowing the children to take part in a range of new activities while at sessions, including baking.
Are you are a support group for disabled children and their families? Speak to your local Community Champion to discuss the funding opportunities available.