A picnic and fun day on 14 August marked the start of a new recruitment drive to help Swindon children with disabilities have a short break away from home.
The Swindon Borough Council ‘Home and Away Scheme’ is being promoted through 16 week poster campaign using local buses featuring advertisements. The aim of is to recruit at least ten more carers, following a funding injection from the Government’s Aiming Higher programme to expand the scheme.
If more carers can be attracted it will enable disabled children to live away from home for a few hours, overnight or a whole weekend. It helps them to forge new friendships, widen their horizons, and be stimulated in a new environment. It also gives parents a much needed rest from caring for their child, and means they can spend some quality time with their other children.
Cllr David Renard, Cabinet Member for Children Services, said: “Short break care schemes can be a very positive experience for a child and very rewarding for the carer. These children are often isolated from other young people during their leisure time and this opportunity gives them a chance to be independent of their families.
“Children with disabilities usually attend a special school and this often means they may have no friends within their immediate neighbourhood or they can’t play outside of their home without supervision. It’s also a lifeline for parents who don’t often get a break themselves from the demands of caring for a disabled child.”
There are 3,600 disabled children living in Swindon and out of these 20 use the council’s Home and Away service. The children, who are aged 0-18, have a wide range of learning and/or physical disabilities.
When a link is made between a child, his or her family and a carer, an agreement is drawn up between all parties which set out the basis for arrangements. Carers are matched to children in order to meet the child’s needs and are trained to meet any special needs the child may have.
Pictured, the mayor and mayoress of Swindon launching the Home and Away recruitment drive with local children and carers
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