Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


CHIPS (CHildren’s Integrated Playschemes) was established 22 years ago to provide fully accessible playschemes and social opportunities for children with special needs. From the beginning, all of the playschemes were fully integrated to ensure that siblings could play at the playscheme with their brother or sister with special needs who was attending CHIPS.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING TO THE AVIVA COMMUNITY TO FUND: Our siblings attendance at the CHIPS playschemes.
HOW MUCH: We're looking for £5,000.

CHIPS provides Saturday Playschemes during school term time, for three weeks during the Summer Holiday Playschemes (5.5 hours per day) and two days during Easter and Christmas Playschemes (5.5 hours per day). If funds allow; CHIPS will also organise trips out to the seaside or country park, social events and Christmas Parties.

These activities are delivered at five locations across Eastern Hertfordshire – Hertford, Ware, Bishops Stortford, Hoddesdon and Cheshunt. CHIPS runs specialist interest clubs for children with special needs - climbing, computer, cookery and a club for teenagers. Currently over 220 families with nearly 300 children are registered with CHIPS.

By sending their children with special needs alongside their siblings to CHIPS; there is a positive impact for families on their physical and mental health meaning that they are less reliant on local health services. CHIPS conducted an anonymous survey of all parents whose children attended CHIPS. Over 100 questionnaires were returned. Of the respondents; 93.2% reported that their family felt less stressed, 87.1% felt less isolated, 75% felt that their children coped better, 80.6% thought that CHIPS helped them and their family to cope better while 64.4% thought that attending a CHIPS playscheme supported their family’s physical health.

However CHIPS’ core funding from Hertfordshire County Council does not cover siblings. But the inclusion of siblings into CHIPS’ playschemes is fundamental to the CHIPS’ philosophy of inclusion and support for the whole family. Therefore, although siblings are not funded, CHIPS continues to welcome siblings to ensure that our playschemes are truly integrated. It makes CHIPS unique in Hertfordshire and possibly beyond.

CHIPS covers the costs of siblings attending with a mixture of parental fees and active fundraising by CHIPS’ Trustees and other supporters.

Siblings also benefit by attending from a CHIPS playscheme. The sibling will meet another child in the same situation as their own which helps to reduce their stress by knowing that they were not alone. One parent wrote that by attending CHIPS; the sibling of her disabled child had, 'A chance to meet other children that have similar experiences to them' while another parent commented (in relation to her daughter attending CHIPS), 'It builds her confidence, helps her to understand the needs of others.'

Through the project ‘Keeping CHIPS unique, Keeping siblings involved’ CHIPS is seeking support from Aviva to cover the gap in the budget to pay for the costs of the staffing required to support siblings who attend CHIPS playschemes.

As demonstrated above; the inclusion of siblings benefits CHIPS as a charity, benefits the sibling individually and helps CHIPS to deliver a better playscheme service to children with special needs.

As one parent wrote in last year’s CHIPS’ survey of parents; 'There are not many places that can cater for my disabled child + his siblings, it is nice to have somewhere they can attend together' while another wrote 'My son thoroughly enjoys CHIPS and likes to be able to join in with his sister'.

Attending CHIPS together allows children to play together and, crucially, means that the child with special needs is seen first as a child who wants to have fun, to be equal with other children and not to be left out.


Moment of Pride

The inclusion of siblings into CHIPS playschemes is fundamental to the CHIPS philosophy of inclusion and support for the whole family. We therefore continue to welcome siblings. It makes CHIPS unique in Hertfordshire and beyond.

Location: Hertford