How we started.....

Our company was formed in June 2016 out of frustration from the lack of options and services available for respite in Northamptonshire, and after talking to parents whose own disabled children had matured into adulthood, the feeling was mutual.  

Those parents knew all too well that once young people with disabilities left school, friends would go their separate ways and it was often difficult for them to maintain friendships without the help of parents and carers.  

 

It was all too obvious that once a child turned 18, the number of services available to them were limited.  Making new friends could be difficult, as many of our clients could not fully understand social rules when interracting with others, or accept changes to their routine that so many of us can do without thinking and therefore take such processes for granted.

In addition, the opportunity for adults in wheelchairs to socialise with their peers with whom they had grown up proved problematic, as many respite centres with suitable wheelchair access catered for the more mature generation. 

As a result, many young adults felt as though they were being taken to a medical facility and and found it difficult to interact with elder service users with whom they had little in common.

So, one day, a general conversation about the lack of services turned into a, ‘Let's do something about it’ discussion, and our company was born.

We want to help others to make dreams become reality, to try new things and not to let anything get in their way.

As much as we wanted to provide a respite service to both families and service users, we did not want our clients to be tied to a specific location if at all possible.  We have always encouraged our clients to try new activities at different locations, but took into account the fact that some service users preferred the  security  and comfort provided by familiarity. However, our ethos is that we strive to offer exciting activities away from home, where friends can try new things in a safe and secure environment.

We take into consideration how a location or activity could affect a service user. Ease of access, flashing lights, physical exertion and dietry needs are just a few of the considerations taken into account when booking an activity. Only when we are satisfied that a service user can safely partake in an activity, we would then allocate an appropriate number of staff members with the skills and experience to transport and accompany the service users for the duration of the activity, be it a day trip or a week-long holiday. All of our activities are fully risk assessed, so we know that the safety and well-being of clients is at the forefront of everything we do. But it's not just the fun stuff where our penchant for safety comes to the fore. We also encourage and develop independence skills, social skills, self-determination and choice when clients take part in group activities. 

Our staff help to promote life skills and independence whenever and wherever possible.  When the opportunity arises, clients are encouraged to make their own meals when in a self-catering establishment, to use cash or a debit card when purchasing goods or making group decisions when planning activities or deciding on a form of entertainment . However, all activites are supervised to ensure that no service user is exposed to harm or exploitation so that every new experience is a positive one.

With everything said and done, the ultimate decision as to whether a service user chooses to participate in an activity, or how much they want to be involved or interact with others rests with them. Their views, opinions and right to make their own choice is fundamental to our business philosophy so that we are able to achieve our goal of making our clients happy.

We've found that there is a great community of people with similar needs who are willing to discuss their own situation and circumstances with others in a similar position.  Such meetings are a great way to share ideas, experiences and knowledge with others who in turn can do likewise.  It's amazing how much information can be shared informally which in turn, can make a massive difference with how clients and families deal with day to day events and lifestyle choices.  Please get in contact with us for more information.

Looking to the future.....

We have now been operating for five years, growing slowly but steadily in that time.  As a not-for-profit company, our mantra was to provide a service based on 'quality over quantity'.  Since our inception, we have trebled the number of activities / breaks on offer and now have eight part-time members of staff, all of whom have an amazing working relationship with all our clients.

As time goes on, we will look to expand our client base within Northamptonshire and the activity portfolio we have to offer.  There are always new things to try alongside some of our tried and tested ventures, so we have no worries about being to able to provide fun and exciting services to our existing clients or to potential customers who may be looking to meet new friends, or would want to go somewhere with existing friends as part of a social group. 

Our vision is to one day have a respite centre which will be like a home from home with a family feel.  There, disabled adults can come with their friends to have fun, chill, socialise, gain independence and community skills whilst giving their families and regular carers a break from their caring responsibilities.
 

How We Operate

All new clients are offered a home visit by the Company Directors so that they can get to know those who are being trusted to look after them during any activity.  We would then be able to explain in detail how we operate, what we can offer and alleviate any concerns a client or their family may have. We would then explore options of how best to proceed with any activity, often suggesting a day-trip at first to allow a client to relax knowing that they will be going home at the end of the day back to familar people and surroundings.   At this point, we would have a discussion with the client and the family so that we could obtain the client's details that would enable us to find out the best way we can support them, taking into account GDPR regulations and respect for privacy which is a point we take very seriously and fully respect.  

The activities we offer are funded via the clients direct payments, personal budgets or personal finances.  All activities are priced accordinging to the number of clients who are expected to attend and the number of staff required to ensure client safety and wellbeing.  We then submit an all inclusive cost for the activity, well in advance, so that we have the option of offering a deposit scheme to secure a placement and to spread the cost of the activity.  As such, all payments are properly invoiced as per our business terms & conditions.

However, it's not all about business!  We often organise social meetings in local pubs for clients to bring along their friends and family.  Not only does it allow us to convey our plans for the year and the acitvities we've organised, it allows new and existing clients to meet their peers in a relaxed setting and social atmosphere and to put forward their ideas and suggestions for what they want to do as well.  It's also a great way to 'break the ice' 

We've found that there is a great community of people with similar needs who are willing to discuss their own situation and circumstances with others in a related position.  Such meetings are a great way to share ideas, experiences and knowledge with others who, in turn, can do likewise.  It's amazing how much information can be shared informally which in turn, can make a massive difference with how clients and families deal with day to day events and lifestyle choices.  Please get in contact with us for more information.

Who We Are.....

Charlene - Company Director

First and foremost Charlene is a parent with an adult son who was diagnosed at an early age as being on the autistic spectrum with a learning disability.  She has first-hand experience of the difficulties associated with managing and caring for disabled young people and how it all changed when they hit 18 years of age.  As a qualified Youth & Community Worker, Charlene has organised many trips and residentials for young people with special needs both in the UK and abroad.  For much of her working life, Charlene has had some connection to working with children and adults with special needs/disabilities. Today as well as being a founding director of this company, Charlene also manages our sister organisation that provides supported living for clients with special needs.

Martin - Company Director

As a graduate with early careers in both food technology and IT, he is currently employed in the public sector and has a varied role specialising in law, risk assessments and helping vulnerable people.  Such a background has afforded him the experience of dealing with people with challenging behaviour, mental health issues and learning disabilities.  His prior experience of health and safety matters, risk assessments and legal process enabled the company to put into place robust policies and procedures that would ensure the safety and wellbeing of clients and staff. Martin is a very practical guy with a ‘make it happen attitude’, and as well as being a founding director of this company, Martin also manages our sister organisation that provides supported living for clients with special needs.