One of the country’s leading care providers has teamed up with a specialist school in a unique partnership to support families with disabled children.

The Regard Group has joined forces with Wyvern Academy in Weymouth to provide short breaks and overnight stays for youngsters in Dorset.

The impact of a lack of short breaks was highlighted in a guest blog by Mencap's Dan Scorer on LDT last week and this project is the first of its kind to provide support for children and young people with learning and physical disabilities in Dorset.

Should the pilot prove successful, Regard hopes to expand the partnership model across the country. Chief executive Sandie Foxall-Smith said: “We are so thrilled at what we have been able to achieve in Weymouth in partnership the Wyvern Academy.

“If we can find the same level of support and positive approach we have experienced here, it is a model we would definitely like to see adopted elsewhere.”

Wyvern Academy is a specialist school with 86 pupils aged from two to 19.
Daun Tattersall, regional director for Regard, said: “Through working with Wyvern and head teacher Sue Hoxey we can provide consistency of care families need.

"The children and young people will be able to have overnight short breaks in an environment they are familiar with. We aim to create an atmosphere that makes them feel at home and has all the equipment on site to meet their needs.

Regard has also worked closely with Dorset Parent Carer Council, made up of parents with complex special needs children, to help bring the project to fruition.

Depending on the child’s abilities the short break service will include visits to tourist attractions, swimming, sensory sessions, cinema trips, bowling, kayaking, drama lessons, cooking, rock climbing, sailing and hydrotherapy.

The overnight short break service is registered with OFSTED and can also be used for emergency overnight stays.

Stays will be funded either through personal health budgets or Direct Payments or through the local funding authority.

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