Summer at Seashell

It's the middle of the summer and most of our students are enjoying the holiday with their families. But even though the school year is over, our site is still busy!

Our care homes operate all year round - both for students who need short breaks over the holidays and for students on residential placements that extend outside term-time as a small number of our children and young people may stay in our houses for up to 52 weeks a year. This summer, our children and young people have enjoyed going out bowling, seeing some of their favourite animals, trampolining, swimming and riding miniature trains! Other experiences like visits to local cafes, parks and shops give students the opportunities to keep practicing functional skills like handling money, coping in busy environments and how to follow a shopping list or use a menu.

Our sports team are keeping busy with another summer of CADS activities bringing children of all abilities and disabilities together through play. For many children with disabilities, opportunities to play with their able-bodied siblings and peers are thin on the ground: by opening up our accessible facilities and making sure that the appropriate support is in place, CADS lets all kids cycle, play football, dance, make music and swim together.

Our planned football facility has already been announced as we keep moving with our plan to become a national centre of excellence for inclusive sports. The project is going ahead thanks to £500,000 from the The FA Facilities Fund and £300,000 from PZ Cussons, and we plan to have the football pitches open for our local community to use by the end of the year.

Families and professionals attended several Makaton taster sessions delivered by our Outreach team at the start of the holidays. The sessions, designed to help people with no real Makaton experience see how it works so they can figure out if it would be a useful tool for them, found that a lot of people were interested in learning more, so the first round of our Makaton training sessions will take place this October with more to be announced later this year.

Our amazing volunteers have been hard at work refurbishing our family flat, a space for families to stay onsite while they visit their son or daughter. Other projects they have taken on include tidying up our Sensory garden - which, now that some necessary maintenance work has been completed, is open again to all our students and visitors, and sounds of young people exploring the musical instruments are filling the air again.

For our college leavers, their transition planning may include support from our job coach for up to six months after the end of their course - it's this extra time that helps the young person, their workplace and everyone supporting them figure out how to solve any problems that might arise. Often it's not a problem with the work itself but something like transport arrangements or funding through Access To Work that our graduating students need extra help to resolve.

Last but not certainly not least, all our staff are working hard to make sure everything is ready for September as new school and college students prepare to join us.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you soon!