Partners in Kind

Daisy (10) the first child to use the new facility with Leanne Stone and Sue Hoxey

Daisy (10) the first child to use the new facility with Leanne Stone and Sue Hoxey


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 project is the first service of its kind in Dorset and will provide support for children and young people with learning and physical disabilities. Regard hopes to expand the partnership model across the country. Youngsters will stay in a specially-equipped flat with three bedrooms, each kitted out to look as homely and welcoming as possible.

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. Each child has their own ‘box of goodies’, which includes things such as favourite toys, games and photographs, which are all kept here.

“This means we can get the room ready for when they come so it will look the same as it did when they were last here and will feel familiar to them. We want to make it a real home from home.”

Daun says the service also gives parents the opportunity to have a well-earned rest and a chance to re-charge their batteries.

“They know their children are being looked after by people they trust in a familiar environment where we will deliver all the support and care they need.

“Many of the children will also know our staff from the extended day services we currently provide in Dorset.”

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 are funded either through personal health budgets or Direct Payments or through the local funding authority.

Wyvern School is purpose-built on an inclusive campus with a mainstream primary school and a mainstream secondary school.

For further information visit: www.regard.co.uk.

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