Our next entry for the St Luke’s CARES Community Awards has been submitted by Kidz ‘n’ Co. For details of how YOUR community group can enter please click here.
At Kidz ‘n’ Co. our ethos is: “Everyone is understood, included and accepted.”
We provide a safe, non-judgemental place for young people with additional needs to enjoy a youth club type environment. We are extremely family orientated, Mum, Dad, neurotypical and able siblings are also included. We adapt our sessions to take into account sensory, social and cognitive differences our children have that cannot be catered for in a traditional youth group setting. With the amount of young people being diagnosed with similar conditions our children have, this kind of group is even more important.
We formed our group in January 2012 and welcome families not just within the immediate area but from different parts of Leeds and surrounding areas too.
Our age group is 5 to 19 years. Yes this is a large gap, but the need is there and continues to grow. Our activities focus on solo play and social play. Games, consoles, craft projects, dominoes, lego and the use of a sensory room – there is something to interest all.
The group runs every Saturday from 10.30am until 12.30pm during school term time at Cottingley Community Centre. There are several spaces we can use which keep the children busy meaning the adults can enjoy a coffee or tea and chat about everything from similar behaviours our children share, education, good news, and our hopes for the future. We exchange advice, coping strategies, relationships. A listening ear that understands where you’re coming from is valuable and with the complexity of our children’s needs those ears are rare in everyday life. Some of our parents are full time carers and have been for a long time so socialising is just as important for us adults as it is for the children.
At every session we share a hot meal, family style. Everyone appreciates the home style food produced by parents and the children help too.
The socialising aspect of our group is what makes us most proud. Our children come to us in their most formative years and are school ages. These years can be tough for some children; they can feel left out and not understand. The risk of that with our group is higher than a neurotypical child. We make friends usually based on things we recognise of ourselves in other people, whether that is interests, sense of humour, topics. When you don’t think or feel the same way as most finding a good friend in a large setting is difficult. Our group allows friendships to be made and maintained.
The grant would help pay for the hire of the hall each week and pay for a day trip to the coast including transport costs. Some of our families that attend are single parents and/or on low incomes, so if we didn’t offer such trips then these families wouldn’t have these luxuries. Some parents also need additional support for their young ones and us as a group offer that support if their child/young adult is having a bad day.
To contact Kidz’n’Co call Suzanne on 07807 486937, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was written by Suzanne Jackson Bailey using our Create an article for South Leeds Life Page.