Vital short breaks service for children to continue

By Barrie Hudson - 15 July 2020


A new provider has been found to run short breaks for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

  • Councillor Mary Martin said the authority was looking forward to working with the new providers

    Councillor Mary Martin said the authority was looking forward to working with the new providers

Swindon Borough Council has announced that The Brunel SEN Multi-Academy Trust, in partnership with Uplands Enterprise Trust will take over the services previously provided by Hop Skip and Jump.

That charity was forced to close because of financial difficulties, and the council has since carried out its own tendering process for its Short Breaks service.

A launch date for the new service at Shaw Farm is to be confirmed, and details about the range of short breaks and activities offered will be available through the council’s Local Offer web site.

Parents and carers will receive information outlining the options available to families who usually receive a short break service over the summer holidays.

Councillor Mary Martin, 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. 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 which children can enjoy while their parents receive a break from their caring responsibilities.

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.

“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 Brunel SEN MAT and 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."

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