Local charities, clubs & services

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This list is alphabetical, in order of the charity, group or project’s name. Scroll down to see more. It includes a range of local clubs, support groups and networks for disabled children, young people and their families. Text in orange is a link: click on it to go through to the organisation’s website or other resource. Let us know if you find any links that aren’t working, or have a group to add.

Thanet ADDers support page for families of children / young people with ADHD and ADD.

Art of Sound is a project by Turner Contemporary and Pie Factory Music exploring the impact that music and art can have on disabled and non disabled young people living in Thanet.  Open to 13-18 year olds, new recruits welcome from  end of January. For more information contact Keiko Higashi on 01843 233017 or KHigashi@turnercontemporary.org.

Be Our Buddy is a befriending project run by  Voluntary Action Witithin Kent (VAWK) for children with mild-moderate disabilities, helping them access a mainstream club or group they are interested in but do not have the confidence to attend alone. VAWK match volunteer befrienders to the young people who will meet them at the club and give them extra support. You can download the project profile here, the referral form here and the Parents’ Handbook here. For more information contact Matt Gough on 07525071671 matthew.gough@vawk.org.uk for Thanet, or Emily Fawcett on 07712 880387 emily.fawcett@vawk.org.uk  for Swale and Canterbury.

Beach Within Reach is a local charity that is working with Thanet District Council to open up access for wheelchair users to Thanet’s beaches. The group is providing new chairs that are made in the USA and especially designed to give access over fine sand. Four chairs will be located on Margate main beach, two at Broadstairs and four at Ramsgate main sands with potentially a further 17 chairs to follow at smaller beaches around Thanet. All the chairs will be available direct from the Beach Life Guards for a small returnable deposit and proof of identify. Call Beach within Reach on 07946 029062 for more information.

Bradfields Specialist Holiday Play Scheme is a holiday play scheme for children aged 4-13 (and a separate one for 14-19 year olds) for children with moderate learning or physical disabilities. Attendants must be in receipt of DLA or have a statement of SEN. Please contact Sue Howrihane on 01634 661 532 for more information.

Canterbury City FC are offering the chance for individuals with any impairment and of any age, the chance to join their weekly training sessions and LD league matches held bi-monthly. This takes place every Wednesday between 6 and 8pm at Simon Langton School in Canterbury. Please contact Tony Newington on 07740084923 or email tonynewington@btinternet.com for more information.

Carers first home and community short breaks are a service set up to provide carers with some support for children with learning or physical disabilities aged 4-18 in a special school or special unit. They can provide respite in the day, evening, weekends and over night. For more information please contact Susan Ashburn on 01634 582 132. Carers First also provide practical support, advice and information to carers across Kent and Medway. For more information please call 01732 357555.

The Centre for Independent Living Kent, or CILK, was formed in April 2002 to support the positive promotion and uptake of direct payments and independent living for Disabled People (adults) living in Kent. The charity offers peer support, advocacy, helping with sorting our direct payments, training and information services.

Cool Crew is a youth club for young people with disabilities and their non-disabled peers that runs at the Quaterdeck Youth Centre, Margate every Thursday evening from 6.30 – 8.45pm. It is open to all young people aged 11-19 with a disability. Parents are not expected to stay with their children. For more information phone Justin Wanstall, SeniorYouth Work Practitioner on 01843 292927 or email justin.wanstall@kent.gov.uk

Crossroads Care East Kent supports parent carers by offering high quality replacement care for children with care needs. Referrals can be made by anyone, including Carers themselves, in person, by telephone or in writing. For more information contact Lorraine Williamson on 08450 956700 or Crossroads Care East Kent, 16 Reculver Road, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 6LE.

CPC kent smiley steps centre is a free service for children aged 1-11 with cerebral palsy or similar motor disorder. For more information please contact Natalie Smith on 01634 220330

Crossroads Care Medway offer respite for carers of children aged 4-18 with physical or learning disabilities, who are in a special school or specialist unit. They offer support on days, evenings, weekends and overnight. For more information please contact Margaret Catlin on 01634 868885.

Demelza Hospice Care For Children  in Bobbing, is for children aged 0-19 years with a life limiting or threatening illness. Demelza also provides outreach services for children who meet their criteria. For more information please contact Zoe Hill, Family Support Worker Kent on 01795 845175 or email zoe.hill@demelza.org.uk

East Kent MENCAP provides opportunities and choices in East Kent for adults and children with learning disabilities, to enable them to achieve the things that they want out of life and to be valued, treated equally, listened to and included. They run a variety of groups and services – for detail phone EK Mencap on 01843-224482 or email info@eastkentmencap.co.uk

Find a Voice is a Kent-wide charity that supports children and adults who have a severe speech, language or communication difficulty, and who may require some form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) support. This can include signing, symbols or a communication aid. Support is provided in person, by telephone and via the website.

Friends Club, Sittingbourne promotes self expression and inclusion of disabled young people aged 12-25 through sports and arts including residential weekends. For more information, please contact John Knight on 01795 423836.

Home-start Sittingbourne and Sheppey (tel 01795 429007) Home-start Thanet (tel. 01843 866344) and Homestart Canterbury Coastal (tel. 01227 472050) offer support to any family that has at least one child under 5 years of age . Support is provided in families’ homes by volunteers who are parents themselves. They offer practical help, share information on local services and knowledge of family life. Some of Home-start’s volunteers have children with disabilites. You can also find out more from the nationam Home Start webpage.

KASBAH provides support services including advice, training and short breaks to people with phyiscal and/or learning disabilities throughout Kent. The charity was originally formed by parents of children with Spina Bifida or Hydrocephalus, but its services are now available to all. For more information contact the office at Northfleet on admin@kasbah.org.uk or phone 01474 536202. A Thanet base is currently being set up.

Kent Association for the Blind offer free weekend and holiday sessions for children and young people aged 0-25. For more information please contact Alan Whetherly on 01634 332929.

Kent Autistic Trust Family Support provides information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with autistic spectrum conditions. For more information email Jo Blamires on jo@kentautistic.com or phone 01634 405168

Kent Parents as Equal Partners (Kent PEPS) is a virtual parent forum for parents of children and young people who have special educational needs in Kent. Kent PEPS aims to actively involve parents in planning and making decisions about services for their children. The organisation issues regular newsletter to members.

Kent Wide Down Syndrome Group provides information and advice, regular meetings, events and signposting for families of children with Down Syndrome in Kent.  For more information, click the website link, or call 07787 947142

Kent Young Carers offers support to young people, including siblings, aged 5-18 who are caring for somebody with a disability, illness, disability, mental health or drug / alcohol issue. They offer chill clubs, support, information and advice. Telephone 0300 111 111 0 or email info@kentyoungcarers.org.uk

Kentish Retts Angels is the official support group for parents and carers all over Kent with a child suffering from Rett Syndrome. The group meets twice a year, in summer and winter. For more information, please contact Lorraine Hockey on keithjhc@btinternet.com

MAGIC is a specialist Autism group in Strood offering stay and play sessions for children with, or in the process of getting an ASD diagnosis. For more information please contact 01634 292015.

me2, run by Young Kent, is a mentoring service that teams up young mentors with disabled young mentees. Disabled young people are supported to attend mainstream clubs and events on a regular basis. The project is currently recruiting in Canterbury district. For more details contact Jon Rees of Young Kent on 07525 324949.

National Autistic Society – Thanet branch is the local branch for families affected by autism or Asperger syndrome offering information and support. A weekly club is held at the Quarterdeck, Margate on Saturdays from 5pm-8pm for all ages. Contact Julia Geer, Branch Officer on 07833 293263 for more information.

MCCH is a charity that supports nearly 2000 people with a learning disability, mental health issue and autism throughout London and the South East. MCCH has built a reputation for quality services which put the individual first.

Parklands Holiday Play Scheme in Gillingham is for children aged 6-18 years with a severe or complex learning or physical disability. Children need a formal diagnosis. For more information please contact Caren Smith on 01634 338 509.

Quarterdeck Youth Centre in Margate offers an Aiming High youth club for young people with a disability aged 13-19 and their siblings and friends on Thursdays 7-9pm. Fun activities suitable for all abilities, and entry is free. The youth centre is fully accessible. For more information contact Michael Bailey on 01843 292927 or email michael.bailey@kent.gov.uk

Richmond Community Thanet is a community-based mental health service covering the Thanet and Sandwich areas. Its aim is to enable people to cope with, manage and improve their own mental health. 17 St. Johns Road, Margate , Kent, CT9 1LU

Sheppey Youth Club for Special Needs runs every Friday evening at the Sheppey Healthy Living Centre, for age ranges 8-12 and 13-25. For more information contact Sheppey Matters on 01795 583547.

Skillnet Group Community Interest Company is a social enterprise working with people with learning difficulties. Any profit they make is re-invested to support their work and local communities. Their mission is to support people with learning difficulties to speak up, make choices, be heard and taken seriously. They support people with and without learning difficulties to work together equally to develop projects and support networks and to challenge attitudes about disability.

SNAAP (Special Needs Advice and Activities Project) is based at Windchimes in Herne Bay and provides clubs, days out and projects for disabled children, young people and their families living in the Canterbury district. For more information contact the SNAAP office on 01227 367555.

SPOTS is a support group for families of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder living in Thanet. It is run by parents and carers.  Meetings take place at Garlinge Children’s Centre and Newslands Children’s Centre on alternate Fridays, term time only. For more information call 07717 064944 or 07788 670721, oremail spotspectrum@talktalk.net

Square Pegs Drama Club is a not-for-profit group based in Maidstone, Kent, who help young people to develop communication and social skills, confidence and self esteem through weekly drama workshops, theatrical performances and social events. They work with young people age 16-25 who have a learning disability, social communication difficulties or who find it hard to fit in with mainstream activities. They run regular sessions in Canterbury from the University of Kent campus. If you are interested in joining as a member, or would like to consider helping as a volunteer, please contact beth@squarepegsdramaclub.com / 07880 794816.

Step and Learn conductive education is a charity dedicated to assisting the physical and educational needs of children with Cerebral Palsy and associated motor difficulties. Their aim, like that of Andras Peto the Hungarian founder of Conductive Education, is to view the child holistically educating and motivating the child through play to become active participants in their lives. There is an early intervention programme for 0-5s, services are free, and parents are actively involved. Based at Strood. Phone 01634 787951 for more information, or see their flyer here

Thanet and District Sports Association for Disabled People (TADSAD) TADSAD hold an Archery club on Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm during school terms, at The Ramsgate Sports Centre. The cost is £3.50 per head, and all attendees must have a carer with them. TADSAD also run mixed sports evenings on Fridays at the same venue  7.00-8.30 pm. For more information contact Fay Hatton on 01843 228865 or email fayhatton2@sky.com

Thanet Galaxy Pan Disability Football Club provides structured coaching and competition for footballers of all ages, male or female with physical, learning, emotional or behavioural disabilities.  For more info email Steve Lancaster secretary@thanetgalaxy.co.uk or call 07984145106

Thanet Voluntary and Community Sector Forum hosts a Disability Hub with regular meetings, networking, conferences and information exchange. Please contact Cara on cara@tvcsf.org.uk for more information about how to get involved.

Weekend Fun Clubs There are 10 Weekend Fun Clubs across Kent with an older and a younger group in each region. These clubs offer day and overnight short breaks for disabled young people aged 10-14 and 14-18. The aim is to enable them to access mainstream activities alongside volunteers aged 14 -18 and to have fun! Each fun club programme offers one activity a month totalling 6 overnight stays and 6 day’ trips, each participant is guaranteed a minimum of 8 of these. For more information please contact Alex Duncum on 01892 530330 or email wfc@vawk.org.uk

 Westbere sailing opportunities are a great charity set up to help disabled people of any age or ability get onto the water and enjoy sailing.

Young Healthy Minds is a newly commissioned early intervention service, commissioned by Kent County Council to deliver emotional well being support to children and young people aged 4-18. Young Healthy Minds is for children and young people presenting issues which may include, but are not limited to: • Anxiety/phobias • Low mood • Behavioural difficulties as a result of emotional needs • Low self –esteem • Poor self image • Relationship/ social interaction issues • Loss/ attachment/ bereavement issues

Young Kent provide youth sessions for disabled children in a mainstream inclusive environment for children aged 13-19 years. For more information please contact 01622 351150.