Working on the outreach service during these testing times has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences I have had. Though there are many challenges we face, we have still managed to make sure we can provide our young people with a fun and Covid-safe day.
Following government guidelines, we have been able to provide our young people with the chance to still learn through play, whilst ensuring that we are thoroughly explaining and stressing the importance of self hygiene routines such as regular hand washing and wearing a mask when necessary whilst keeping the experience exciting.
Though it has been a challenging process, I feel we at KCA have successfully been able to ensure both the safety of the staff and young people during our sessions.
Working at KCA, it has been an eye-opening experience and a delight to be able to help our young people out of lockdowns and isolation, as the wider public hope for our lives to revert back to a safer and accessible norm.
Our Family Support team are running monthly virtual coffee mornings to help support families of children with a learning disability. Each session will focus on a different theme and ways you can get the support you need.
Our next coffee morning is on Thursday 11th March at 10.30am – please join us to find out more about the range of services and support we offer at KCA. The zoom link is:
Join our family services team for a virtual coffee morning on Thursday 19th November 10.30-12.30 via zoom.
Our 3 family support workers will be there to let you know a bit more about the work they do and how they can support your family. Our family support is a free service for any families who have a child with a learning disability in Harrow. We also offer a free creative therapy and counselling service.
Now more than ever everyone is struggling in the current climate. Please get in touch and share with family and friends you think could benefit.
Our family workers can provide information, signposting, and onward referral to other services, sources of support and specialist advice.
We can offer tailored practical support e.g. letter writing, attending meetings, making phone calls, support parent to self advocate and / or advocate on their behalf, grants applications, benefit maximization and offer emotional support.
Please join us for our virtual coffee morning to meet our family workers and see how they can best support you and your family.
The year so far has been very unsettled and challenging for everyone at KCA. We are very proud of the way that our staff have adapted and worked throughout the pandemic. As a result ensuring that we have been able to support children and families with learning disabilities.
It has been a very challenging time with a loss of income; increased expenses and sourcing PPE. As well as supporting staff who have been unwell, isolating and shielding and adapting services.
“KCA has an amazing team who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Enabling us to restart our regular services safely ensuring all children experienced a transition back as seamless as possible. I am incredibly proud of our organisation and our staff for their tenacity and true KIDS CAN spirit throughout.
We have now safely completed a seven week long exciting summer holiday. No matter the great challenges this pandemic has brought to all of us, we are happy that our children have experienced a wide range of fun play activities at KCA. It has been so rewarding to see another summer full of fun and smiles for everyone and we are looking forward to the Autumn term.”
Ilias Kostalas, Operations Manager for Programme Development
During the summer children have been able to participate in some great activities, having fun, seeing friends and playing. Parents have also been able to have a much needed respite break after a very difficult lockdown without their usual support networks.
Here are some photos of what we have been up to:
We are looking forward to embracing the challenges that lie ahead. Ensuring our priority is supporting children and young people to be able to engage in fulfilling, fun and positive activities at KCA.
How you can help support KCA
KCA relies on donations and local support in order to make our centre the best it can be. Enabling us to buy specialist resources and equipment to best support our children and young people. We have an Amazon Wish List and if you are able to it would be fantastic if you could support KCA by purchasing some equipment and toys for the young people we support. Please click here to see our Amazon Wish List.
Our family worker has complied a list of mental health support resoucse which may be useful in helping you at this difficult time. For further support from our family workers please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
How are you feeling?
There is an assessment available through the NHS website to help you understand how you are feeling.
We are happy to announce that our service will fully reopen again on Monday 20th of July!!! Our team are looking forward to welcome back all children and parents! It is going to be business as usual but with some important changes to ensure that we keep our children, parents and staff safe.
I am sure that you all have already spoken to Megan and Deborah about bookings, but if you have not, you should expect a call from us any moment now.
Play & Youth schemes will start on the 20th of July and finish on the 4th of September. This is 7 weeks of play and fun! Saturday Club is reopening this Saturday, but this year it will run throughout the summer holidays in order to offer more play opportunities out of home! Outreach is already back, offering sessions to young people and young adults!
Free Family Support our family support workers are here to support you and your family. Through 1:1 sessions with our experienced family workers or accessing creative therapies with our fully qualified and experienced therapists. Get in touch to find out how they can support you email@example.com
We know that you want to hear more about the safety plans that we have in place, so we are putting together an easy read guide for all parents and you will receive it shortly.
Please note that we are still operating with a smaller than usual team in our office, so please contact us for general inquires using the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep busy over half term with some activity ideas put together by our family workers.
One of our Family Workers, Sahara has devised a weekly timetable of fun activities to keep your little ones entertained and learning whilst at home. Why not try out some of the activities and let us know how you get on…
During the current crisis our family services team have been working hard to ensure that all our families have the support they need in place to be able to cope during these testing times.
Many of the families who we are speaking to are seeking reassurance and want to hear the sound of another human voice other than a family member. The families are currently concerned about being connected to people in the outside world and they are finding it difficult to get shopping and do the things they would normally do, and don’t want in any way to bring COVID-19 to their vulnerable child or young person.
At this critical time the support we are able to provide to families is more necessary than ever. Our family services team have very quickly adapted to providing a virtual service enabling this critical support to get to the people that need it.
Our team has been busy calling vulnerable families daily, helping families’ access priority shopping hours and delivery slots, arranging volunteers to pick up prescriptions and essential shopping and supplies, creating a guide of activities and things to do at home, helping families to understand the restrictions and how it affects them as well as essential emotional and well-being support.
We have also been keeping parents up to date with social stories about COVID-19 and helping older children in the household to deal with the mental stress that is affecting many of them. We have been giving parents ideas as to how to engage them to talk about their fears in a safe space as many don’t want their parents to go out to shop and feel that they have in some way brought the disease into the home. They have also been helping parents with their child’s hospital passport and signposting to the government and NHS websites. Our family support team are proving to be a familiar face that is offering help and support in this difficult time.
Here are some examples of how we have been supporting families:
Mr H is an elderly carer of his 21 year old daughter who has a severe learning disability and epilepsy. He is a single parent with no support from surrounding family or friends. His daughter does not receive any support from adult social care.
The family service team have been making daily contact with him, providing on going emotional support as well as ideas about how to keep healthy and active while at home.
He is not able to leave his daughter unattended in the home, nor is he able to take her with him as she is shielding. This has meant it has become increasingly difficult for him to leave the house. We were able to refer him for support from Westminster City Council. Unfortunately, as this was over the Easter weekend, he had yet to hear from them after one week. We contacted the council again and were able to move him to the top of the priority list, allowing him to have grocery shopping delivered the next day.
A few days later, he let us know that he needed prescriptions to be picked up for both him and his daughter but the pharmacy that they use is not operating a delivery service. We then contacted multiple organisations until we were able to find a volunteer to pick up and deliver the prescriptions on the same day.
We continue to keep in touch with him regularly through the week.
Ms D is a single parent of a 3 year old with autism. The family service made contact with her after a referral from a local speech and language therapist.
Ms D had been unable to leave the house since the new government guidelines were put in place, as her son’s behaviour is very difficult to control out in the community. He is not able to understand social distancing rules, nor is he able to wait in the long queues for the supermarkets.
She has only recently moved to the area and therefore does not have a local support network. She was becoming increasingly concerned over how to access food supplies and activities to keep her son engaged in the home.
The family worker sent her a document with a list of local support organisations, as well as a document with a list of activities that can be done in the home to keep her son engaged and learning.
We also referred her details to the council, to put her in contact with a volunteer who can help her with getting the essentials she needs without having to leave the house.
We continue to check in with her once a week, making sure she is able to access any support she needs.
Alexandra our Portage worker has been doing Skype and WhatsApp video sessions with her families. These sessions are proving to be really useful and helpful to families. She is combining PECS (a picture communication system), Portage and is finding on line resources to support the families learning together with their child. Some parents were initially sceptical about how these sessions would help them but now they really look forward to their weekly session with Alexandra as it is contact with the world outside their home and gives them ideas to help their child learn.
One particular family has a baby boy of 8 months with Down’s syndrome and when Alexandra first met them, he was unable to sit up to play unaided. Alexandra has been helping him with sensory integration exercises such as balloon kicking so that he is able to interact with his environment; and this has helped to develop his muscle tone. She has also been working on getting him to sit between his parents’ legs and to roll a ball to his mother/father, which has helped develop his backwards and forwards motion. He has become more active and engaged, is now able to keep eye contact and is responding more to his parents. Alexandra is working on his mobility and engagement and his parents are really pleased with how far he has come and the progress he is continuing to make.
In 2019, Access Self Storage Harrow collected more than 200 Easter Eggs for Children’s Charity the Log Cabin
Can the team and the community beat this egg record this Easter for Kids Can Achieve?
The annual Access Self Storage Harrow charity Easter Egg Appeal is now open! Anyone wishing to take part can donate a chocolate egg to local charity Kids Can Achieve by popping into Access Self Storage Harrow on Neptune Road. All chocolate eggs will be stored and given to the children supported by this great local charity in time for Easter.
Access Self Storage Ealing is also collecting Easter Eggs for their nominated local charity, Kids Can Achieve (KCA), which provides services for children and young people with learning disabilities aged five to 25, including those with physical disabilities, autism, complex communication, and behavioural needs.
Kids Can Achieve, supporting children with learning disabilities and behavioural needs in the Harrow community.
Emma Russell from Kids Can Achieve said: “We are so pleased to be nominated for this year’s Access Self Storage Easter appeal, these chocolate eggs will put a smile on the faces of the children and young people we support. We thank everyone who gets involved, these eggs will bring so much happiness to the children receiving them!”
Access Self Storage Harrow manager Somaya Brown said: “ Kids Can Achieve is such an inspirational local charity we hope we can collect a whole 50 sq ft store room full of eggs for the children and families under their care. Our team has started to donate, and we’re really happy to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea for anyone bringing an egg who wants to stay for a chat.!”
Staff have already been making donations and people are invited to bring even more eggs into the Harrow Store on Neptune road any time before April 6th, when a delivery will be made to the charity in time for Easter.
In 2019, more than 2,000 chocolate eggs were collected by Access Self Storage and shared among 16 charities across the UK.
This year 17 Access Self Storage Stores will set aside a combined 950 ft of storage space to be filled with Chocolate Easter eggs for 17 charities across the UK.
We are really excited to announce Kids Can Achieve has been awarded funding from Postcode Community Trust to fund creative therapy and counselling sessions.
The funding of £10,800 is thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
This funding will support young people with learning disabilities to live healthier, happier and safer lives. It will give them access to therapeutic interventions which will help reduce stress related ill health, help understand how their disability affects them and provide support to cope with emotional problems. It will also build resilience and self-esteem, help prevent family breakdown, reduce suicide risk and address bullying.
This is a vital service for children with learning disabilities and their families, as there is nothing else like this on offer in the borough. NHS waiting lists for therapies and counselling are too long, with families not being seen until they are beyond crisis point.
Our project will offer creative therapy on a one to one basis which is a non-intrusive way of engaging young people. Creative therapy has a positive impact on health & well-being & will help unlock potential & build confidence through the use of drawing, painting, playing, sand tray work or talking.
“This grant will have a huge impact on children and young people with learning disabilities and their families living in Harrow, we have been offering creative therapies for a number of years and it has had far reaching impact with many families including stopping young people from committing suicide, preventing family break downs and improving family relationships. We are so pleased that the Postcode Community Trust has enabled us to carry on delivering such worthwhile support to families in need”.