At the time of writing this, the OnSide network of Youth Zones has close to 3,000 members that tell us that they have a disability or an additional need. That’s nearly 3000 parents/carers that we have successfully managed to engage in a Youth Zone since the beginning of the project back in December 2013.
Through the ‘A Level Playing Field’ funding the network has received training from a variety of training providers and consultants such as: The Seashell Trust, National Autistic Society, National Deaf Children’s Society, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, English Federation of Disability Sport courses and Scope.
This training has enabled staff and volunteers to not only understand the needs of a range of disabilities but also how best to include and integrate young people into our Youth Zones.
We have received training from a parent who has a child with a disability, called ‘Why Inclusion Matters’ to a family. Our Youth Zones engage with their local parent/carer forum as we want to ensure that with feedback from parents and carer, they too can help shape local services that affect them.
Please watch the video below which explains how one of our Youth Zones partnered with their local parent/carer forum which enabled children and young people to access the activities, but also the whole family could attend whilst getting peer to peer support and advice from their local forum.
We invite every parent/carer to find out what is on at their Youth Zone and meet with one of the specialised support workers who can discuss with you what the best way is to get the young person involved in what is on offer, when it is available and in the most appropriate way you would like to get your child involved.
We know from the experience of the ‘A Level Playing Field’ project that we have to do everything we can to help manage your expectations for your first visit so that we either meet or exceed it. Having a dialogue and providing some feedback to you is really important to achieve that. If your expectations are met or exceeded then you are more than likely to attend again.
Across the network we have discussed and shared best practices for the induction of members with a disability to the Youth Zone. Our Youth Zones maintain a dialogue and conversation with you over the first few weeks and months to answer any concerns or worries or make adaptations to ensure you can be included.
It all starts with that first conversation and we believe that #everypersoncan.
See you soon