Replacement service found after Hop Skip and Jump closure

By Jamie Hill - 20 July 2020

Charity

Hop, Skip and Jump announced in June that it would not be reopening. The charity, based at Upper Shaw Ridge Farm, provides flexible and immediate respite care for children and young adults with disabilities - no matter how complex.

Swindon Borough Council has now announced that, following a competitive procurement process, The Brunel SEN MAT, in partnership with UET (Uplands Enterprise Trust), will take over the services previously provided by Hop Skip and Jump after the charity incurred financial difficulties, forcing it to close.

The council has since carried out its own tendering process for its Short Breaks service, resulting in the announcement.

A launch date for the new service will be confirmed by the council in due course and details about the range of short breaks and activities offered will be available through the Council’s Local Offer web site.

There will also be further communications sent to parents and carers outlining the options available to those families who usually receive a short break service over the summer holidays.

Councillor Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted to announce that new providers have been found to take over the running of the short breaks centre that provides vital activities and support for children with special needs in the community.

“The Council is looking forward to working with the Brunel SEN MAT and UET who are local providers already working with children with special educational needs and disabilities and who will bring a wealth of experience to the children and young people of Swindon.”

The service will offer a variety of activities for the children and young people to engage with. There are indoor and outdoor play facilities, all with an emphasis on self-development and discovery.

There are sensory rooms, soft play facilities and art rooms that the children can enjoy while their parents receive a break from their caring responsibilities and spend time with their wider family members.

Lisa Harding, Director of UET, said: “UET is excited to be working with Swindon Borough Council, Brunel SEN MAT, families and most of all the children who will be accessing the provision at Shaw Farm.

“This is a great opportunity for UET to expand its offer to the young people we support with SEND in Swindon and will create much needed volunteering and paid job opportunities for them.

“The site has been closed for a number of months and to ensure that the provision is looking its very best, the UET Skills Forever team of young people have started preparing planters and organising grounds maintenance and decorating teams.

Jackie Smith, CEO of BSM & UET, said: “I am delighted that UET, under the Leadership of Lisa Harding, will be able to deliver this essential service to children and young people in Swindon.

“I am also very proud that the UET volunteering young people will also have a great project for the summer. We are very grateful to the Council for giving UET the opportunity to make a difference to SEND Swindon families."

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