North Dorset MP Bob Walter is visiting Langside School in Poole on Friday. The school is run by disability charity Diverse Abilities Plus and Bob will be finding out more about the programmes they are currently running to support local children with special educational needs.
He last visited the charity-run special school, for pupils aged two to 19 with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex medical needs, in 2011. The school provides a full sensory and therapeutic approach to meeting the needs of the pupils and helps them to achieve their full potential, with nursing support in every class.
Diverse Abilities Plus also runs a number of outreach services in Bob’s North Dorset constituency that help children, and the families of children, with special needs. These include Big Lottery-funded play opportunities at Yewstock Special School in Sturminster Newton, Splash N Bounce pool and trampolining sessions at Blandford Leisure Centre and once-a-month indoor soft play sessions at Crazy Monsters, also in Blandford Forum.
These sessions aim to give the whole family the chance to have fun together, whilst meeting children’s individual needs and building in respite opportunities for carers and siblings.
Trained Face2Face befrienders also provide monthly drop-in support sessions for parents and carers at the Blandford Children’s Centre and at the Riversmeet Leisure Centre in Gillingham. Befrienders have first-hand experience of bringing up children with disabilities and can providing signposting, support and advice
Bob said: “Langside School is a very special place in more ways than one, offering great support to children in Dorset with special needs, their parents and siblings. The outreach services also offered by Diverse Abilities Plus in my own North Dorset constituency are a huge support to local disabled children and those that care round-the-clock for them.
“I know that around 25 local families regularly access Diverse Abilities’ North Dorset Play Opportunities services and 6-8 parents regularly make use of the charities committed Face2Face befrienders. Having such services on the doorstep, particularly in a largely rural area, is hugely valuable and I am delighted to be able to support them in any way I can.”