Inclusivity

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

Me2 Club’s purpose is to address the challenges of isolation and exclusion of children and young people with wide ranging additional needs and disabilities throughout the Wokingham Borough by enabling them to attend a weekly mainstream leisure activity of their choosing. To do this they recruit, train and support volunteers who are then carefully matched to the child who requires this individual help. With their support children are empowered to access a wide range of leisure activities including uniformed groups, sports clubs and drama groups, which their mainstream peers take for granted.
All the children supported by Me2 Club are disadvantaged as their additional needs and disabilities mean they are unable to independently access mainstream activities. They find and train volunteers to offer 1:1 support to children with a wide range of needs including: physical, learning, emotional, communication and behavioural so that they can integrate into a group of their choosing. Often activity leaders do not have the knowledge, experience or manpower to support a child with complex needs, challenging behaviours and anxiety. As a result, the children struggle to join in or if their behaviour becomes too disruptive they are excluded. By not having the opportunity to integrate and socialise with their mainstream peers children feel isolated and have low confidence and self-esteem which in turn leads to a decline in their wellbeing and mental health.
Me2 Club has been making a positive difference to the lives of children throughout the Wokingham Borough since 2003 when it was set up by parents whose children needed this support. The charity is looking for funding of £5,000 to recruit, train and support even more volunteers. With 960 registered disabled children in Wokingham, their service is always in demand with referrals from social workers, health professionals, schools, activity leaders and families. Each year they help around 100 children and with a fast-growing population, there is always a waiting list to address.
Me2 Club provides an enjoyable volunteering project for young people and in 2011 they were given The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This unique UK national honour was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. Volunteers are given opportunities to meet new people and the comprehensive induction and development training programme embeds skills that many volunteers carry forward into careers in medicine, childcare or psychology.
Many volunteers form long term bonds with their families. For example: L. has supported C. for over 7 years so that he can attend Boys Brigade. His mum says: “C. has really grown in confidence since being part of Me2. He is prepared to try new things and go away on weekends. The relationship and bond between C. and L. has been lovely to see. He completely trusts her.”
You should vote for this project to help Me2 Club to flourish and grow. Imagine being a child with Down’s Syndrome and Autism and wanting to learn to swim. In lessons in a busy pool, you might not understand the teacher’s instructions and this together with the increased noise, smells and lights in the swimming pool adds to your anxiety. This is where a Me2 Club volunteer is needed. “I began swimming with my Me 2 pair, P. in January 2017. During this time, I have seen a huge amount of progress, I have really seen P. develop in his activity and in social confidence over these few months. My being there gives him the confidence he needs to try new things and let out his true personality – a happy, outgoing sociable young man. I would love to continue volunteering with Me 2 Club as not only has it allowed P to develop skills, it has allowed me to develop new skills as well. To conclude, I would say Me 2 Club is the most fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable start to my week and I wouldn’t change it for the world."

Project Video

Me2 Club

Moment of Pride

I am proud of us working together to create a more inclusive community. This unique project will involve training volunteers and activity groups to support Me2 Club children thus allowing them to meet friends and develop the confidence and skills to enjoy a happier and more independent life.

Location: Wokingham