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Making a difference to the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

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East Lothian Special Needs Playscheme

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For many of the children who attend, the playschemes are the highlight of their year as they offer such wonderful social, recreational and educational opportunities.  We provide a safe environment in which to play and mix with friends while still ensuring that each child's individual needs are met.

 

As well as the obvious benefits the playscheme brings to the children there is also the difference it makes to their families, many of whom just could not cope with having a child with special needs at home for 24 hours a day during the school holidays.  We provide respite for parents and allow brothers and sisters to spend some quality time with their parents.

 

 

East Lothian Special Needs Playschemes was established by

parents in 1982.  

Families were struggling to cope during the school holidays & felt their

children would benefit from suitable activities in a safe & comfortable

environment.  A lot of hard work by parents and supportive local

authority staff has enabled the organisation to develop & grow and

become one of the most popular resources for children with special

needs in East Lothian. A full history of Playscheme can be found here.

 

We now provide playschemes in North Berwick, Prestonpans and Tranent 

during the Easter, summer and October school holidays. Around 75

children attend the playschemes each year and we also have a waiting

list. Our office base is North Berwick Community Centre but the children

who attend come from all over East Lothian.  The children are aged between 5

and 16 years old and have a wide range of disabilities, from mild learning

difficulties to severe and complex disabilities.  The children enjoy a range of

activities such as bikes, horse riding, swimming, arts & crafts, music & drama,

games & outings.  A small charge of £30 per week is made for each child to

attend.

 

North Berwick and Prestonpans Playschemes

 

North Berwick playscheme was established first in 1982 and Prestonpans playscheme was then

established in the year 2000.  Both playschemes are run very similarly and have one combined

waiting list.  Children are allocated to a playscheme depending on where they stay in the local

authority.  During playscheme time every year we recruit local young people to work as helpers

on a 1-1 basis with the children under the guidance and supervision of a group leader.  

This ensures the safety of each child, allows them to have more choice from the activities

offered and also builds up friendships between helpers and the children giving a natural

integration.  Research has shown that our young volunteers benefit enormously from their time

here especially in areas such as confidence, communication, tolerance and career choice.

 

Within the North Berwick Community Centre we have access to much of the buildings resources such as the art room, sensory room, bouncy castle and kitchen area.

 

North Berwick Playscheme is located at the Community Centre.  In North Berwick we make use of many of the local facilities such as the trampolines, swimming pool, the lodge, Yellow Craig’s and the SPACE.

 

We also go on many trips to various different places all of which are very popular with our children.

 

North Berwick Playscheme has the capacity to accommodate 25 additional needs children at any one time.

 

Prestonpans Playscheme is run within Prestonpans Primary School.  We are allocated an area of the

school where we can set up an art room, kitchen area, sensory room and have a bouncy castle.

 

Within the local area we make use of the swimming pool, the park, the local shops and some of

our children enjoy going to visit the trains.

 

Prestonpans Playscheme also has the capacity to hold 25 children at any one time.

 

The children who attend these have a varied range of abilities and come from all over East

Lothian.

 

 

 

The Hub Playscheme

 

 

In 2005 the Management Committee were approached by the Headteacher of Meadowpark

Special School about the possibility of providing playschemes for the pupils there, all of whom

had severe and complex needs.  Following consulation with parents a very successful 2 week

pilot ran in 2005 and established a very clear need for a service for this specific and very

vulnerable group of children and their families.

 

In the following years the project has developed and moved with the school when it become

part of the new Sanderson’s Wynd Community School and was renamed the Hub.  

 

The aim of this project is to provide 20 days of playscheme provision for up to 20 children with severe and complex needs in the Easter and Summer 2012 school holidays.  Through this we will provide 20 days of respite for the families of the children who attend and make the very difficult school holiday period much more manageable for them.  

 

The playscheme is based at the Hub in Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School which is a specialist education base for East Lothian children with severe and complex needs and will offer places to current and former pupils from the Hub.  We have full use of all of the specialist facilities at the Hub including a sensory room, soft play room and music room.  In addition they have all of the specialist equipment required for this particularly vulnerable group of children including hoists and slings, special chairs and crockery and cutlery.  A range of appropriate activities will be offered such as swimming, sensory activities, outside play, walks, music therapy and trips out to provide stimulation and enjoyment for the children.  For many of the children however, the most important aspect of playscheme is the continuation of some form of daily routine while there is no school and the opportunity for social interaction.

 

Four members of the school staff team work under the supervision of the Co-ordinator as sessional Group Leaders.  They are respsonsible for groups of children with their sessional staff and young volunteers.  Their expert working knowledge of the children ensures that we can safely meet all of the specific needs of these very complex children and that families can relax knowing that their children are being well cared for by people who they know and trust.

 

Local young people are recruited as volunteers to provide 1-1 or often 2-1 care and support to the children under the supervision and guidance of the Group Leaders.  The volunteers ensure that the playscheme has a youthful and fun atmosphere for the children and that while they are in a safe and familiar environment it feels very different from the school experience.

 

For many of the children who attend, the playschemes are the highlight of their year as they offer such wonderful social, recreational and educational opportunities.  We provide a safe environment in which to play and mix with friends while still ensuring that each child's individual needs are met.

 

As well as the obvious benefits the playscheme brings to the children there is also the difference it makes to their families, many of whom just could not cope with having a child with special needs at home for 24 hours a day during the school holidays.  We provide respite for parents and allow brothers and sisters to spend some quality time with their parents.

 

Please help us continue our work.

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