White Lodge’s Elmbridge Play and Youth Scheme Receive £36,000 Funding Boost
For the past 19 years White Lodge, which specialises in care for children with a diverse range of disabilities, has run a series of specialist play and youth schemes in the boroughs of Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Runnymede. They have just received the first part of a Walton Charity Community Grant of £36,000 which will help them provide three play and youth schemes for disabled children living in Elmbridge.
White Lodge’s play and youth schemes offer a high level of support, enabling children and teenagers to access a variety of activities that are generally taken for granted by their mainstream peers. The staff can support individuals with highly complex medical needs, those with challenging behaviour and those only able to communicate through pictures and hand signs.
The new funding will help support White Lodge run three schemes:
One for disabled 4 -12 year olds, running for 8 days during the Easter holidays and 15 days during the
A youth scheme for disabled 13 – 18 years olds, running across the Easter and summer holidays.
A weekend club for 4 – 12 year olds, running on two Sundays per month.
One parent says “He loves to be with other children on the scheme. He doesn’t have any friends locally, so if the scheme didn’t run during the holidays, he would just be at home playing on the computer”.
As families with disabled children often find it very difficult to take their disabled child on days out, the visits from Holly’s Farm are always a great hit during the holidays. The children love getting up close to the animals and being able to touch them provides a perfect sensory experience. They can do this in their own time, at their own pace, in an environment where they feel safe.
The play and youth schemes are not only essential to help combat social exclusion and isolation often faced by disabled children and teenagers, but also to provide vital respite for families, allowing parents to spend time with their other children and have time for themselves. Overall, 93% of parents stated that the schemes enabled their child to take part in activities they would not otherwise be able to experience.
Funding the White Lodge play and youth schemes is part of Walton Charity’s programme for promoting personal health and well being in Elmbridge, and support will be given for the next three years.