Disabled children’s charity launches 35-year anniversary text donation campaign 

Volunteers helped out Springboard Opportunity Group.

Volunteers helped out Springboard Opportunity Group. - Credit: Supplied

A North Somerset children's charity is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a fundraising campaign.

Springboard Opportunity Group is a charity supporting children with additional needs and disabilities aged birth to five, and their families. 

For the families that have walked through its doors it is a lifeline of support as they start their Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) journey.

Springboard needs to raise more than £200,000 a year from grants, fundraising and donations in order to continue to provide its vital service for more than 100 children and their families. 

The charity is a safe and secure place where children with disabilities are able to learn and flourish, where different is not different and additional needs are not an additional burden, they provide support for families in challenging times. 

Springboard Opportunity Group

Springboard Opportunity Group - Credit: Springboard Opportunity Group

Business manager, Jo Kingscott, said: “It has been an incredibly difficult time for us as a charity and more importantly the families having to deal with a pandemic and having a child with a disability. The impact of anxiety and isolation will sadly be with us for a very long time.  

"The demand for our service has increased significantly with all four of our centres in North Somerset being full for sessions.

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"We are also providing telephone support to numerous community families and are slowly opening up our stay and play sessions and Springboard4Familes face-to-face support groups.” 

In celebration of 35 years Springboard its launching its text donation campaign. To donate £1 just text 35YEARS to 70085 and you will be helping Springboard continue their service to support the next generation. 

Children attending may have a learning disability, physical difficulties, complex medical needs, communication and interaction difficulties including autism, or sensory needs. Some are life-limited. 

Kirsty and Edith.

Kirsty and Edith. - Credit: Springboard Opportunity Group

Kirsty & Edith’s story 

The following case study comes from Kirsty and her daughter Edith. Kirsty continues to be involved in Springboard as a volunteer, talking to new parents, offering them a view into the SEND future and helping with fundraising events.  

She said: “Edith was very young and I pushed the thought of her needing specialist care or groups to the back of my mind. Fast forward a few months and it started to become apparent that I didn't feel comfortable taking Edith to 'normal' baby groups.

"I think this was mostly because I wasn't emotionally prepared to answer all the questions that came with having a disabled child. I had no idea why Edith didn't respond and behave like other children and the thought of me crying in front of a group of strangers was a little too daunting. 

"I found out about a monthly coffee morning called Springboard4Families and thought this would be a good opportunity for me to go and speak with someone about what they could offer. I walked into a room of a few strangers and was immediately met by smiles. I was offered a cup of tea and started to talk to one of the family support workers.

"A stay and play session was offered, now this was something I recognised and the term seemed so normal. I decided there and then it was something that I wanted us to try. Stay and play lasted two hours. The last 15 minutes of the session was a chance to have a cup of tea and a chat with the other parents whilst the staff gave the children a snack.

"This was the first time I had ever spoken to other parents who had children with additional needs, it was finally a language I could understand. I found my niche within a small group of parents whose children had similar abilities to Edith and it was here that I finally began to feel less and less isolated. 

"By March, Edith had her first Springboard session, alone, and she was assigned a key worker; someone I could liaise with about her progress. Edith had the opportunity to interact with the other children and make friends. They have hello and goodbye songs, a wonderful sensory area, a chance to get messy with paints and a trampoline for bouncing.

"Springboard were quite simply my lifeline, if they hadn’t been there I wouldn’t like to think of the impact on our family. They were a friendly ear when things just got too much and I knew Edith was in the best and most experienced pair of hands. They offer an opportunity to parents like no other and through them I have made friends for life.” 

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