Parents/Carers told us:  
Accessing our local community can be difficult as my child is not understood, we need to have some activities which are disability specific.The activity calendar outlines activities we have available which are SEND specific and we continue to look for new providers who could offer activities under our umbrella.

The Community Inclusion and Activity Team continue to offer Disability Awareness, Communication and Voice of the Child informal training sessions to all different staff and volunteers within provider organisations.

The Ollie the Flamingo project continues to be rolled out via the Parent Carer Forum. The project has worked with local businesses to create a list of venues that’s are willing to make reasonable adjustments for children with additional needs and disabilities. The companies that have signed up to the scheme are listed on http://www.somersetparentcarerforum.org.uk
We are not confident to go to activities on our own, we like being with other families who understand as this helps. We like there to be staff on hand if needed.We have some great family based activities which offer that supported approach to accessing community activities to have fun and meet new people. Information about these can be found within the Activity Calendar and Club Newsletter – there is a symbols system which identifies which activities these are.

The Community Inclusion and Activity Team offer two SEND family clubs each month in Taunton and Mendip.
Transport to get to activities is limited if you do not drive.Community transport options are available at https://www.travelsomerset.co.uk/community-transport/
Some of the providers within the Activity Calendar offer transport from agreed pick ups in the county to support families to access activities.
We need more for the 14+ years and the under 8’s in some areas of Somerset.We continue to engage with new providers of activities across all of the 0 to 18 age range. Some providers split their sessions by age range so they can tailor activities to meet a specific age group.

Sometimes we will ask a provider to review their age range and consider changing this.

We know there are some age-related gaps in the county with our activities, but we try and offer alternative choices around the Max Card which is for 0 to 25 years and our Activity Passes.
Changing place toilets can be limited in some areas of Somerset. which make it difficult for my child’s personal care on a day outWe are doing some joint work with Adults Services, Discovery, Somerset Parent Carer Forum and young people to move forward with new installations, updating existing ones, considering some campaigns to educate the public and venues about what the facilities are and who they are for, and how to host the information locally so it is easy accessible when people are out and about.
We need more activities for siblings of disabled children and young people.Many of the activities offered through the Activity Calendar include siblings.
Buddies could help our young people access more in their community.We piloted a volunteer project to offer buddies to support some of our young people access their community. We have since reviewed this and have focused more on recruiting volunteers in a more general role initially, to then consider moving them into more bespoke roles if the need arises. We feel this is a safer, more supported approach, although the number of volunteers we have a relatively small.
We would like more accessible parks and open spaces, more inclusive soft play sessions, and more disability awareness in the community.Accessible parks – we have a few parks within Somerset which offer accessible play equipment, however we recognise there are not enough of these. This is an area we could explore with the District Council who have over sight of parks and open spaces. We will also continue to promote any parks we know in other areas which families may like to travel to.

Inclusive Soft Play – a monthly SEND soft play is delivered in Minehead and the CAOT team also offer exclusive soft play sessions to children with a diagnosis of Autism. There are also some other really inclusive soft play centres in Somerset and we promote these in our Newsletters.

Disability awareness in the Community –
The Community Inclusion and Activity Team continue to offer Disability Awareness, Communication and Voice of the Child informal training sessions to all different staff and volunteers within provider organisations.

The Ollie the Flamingo project continues to be rolled out via the Parent Carer Forum. The project has worked with local businesses to create a list of venues that’s are willing to make reasonable adjustments for children with additional needs and disabilities. The companies that have signed up to the scheme are listed on http://www.somersetparentcarerforum.org.uk
There are more limited options for children with complex physical needs.We recognise that we don’t have enough provision to meet the needs of our most complex needs, however, the organisations which offer this are really good.

We continue to support these activities in the best way we can to ensure they continue to offer excellent provision.

We also partner up new organisations with existing providers to ensure good practice is shared.
Children and young people with a disability or additional need are telling us:
Some of the activities only go up to 18 years.Short Breaks is part of Children’s Social Care which is a 0 to 18 service.

We offer information about opportunities and activities for 18 to 25, but this is not something covered by the grants programme.

The Max Card Scheme is a 0 to 25 years opportunity.
We need help with getting to places and transport.Community transport options are available at https://www.travelsomerset.co.uk/community-transport/

Some of the providers within the Activity Calendar offer transport from agreed pick ups in the county to support families to access activities.
Some of the activities can be too busy.How busy an activity is likely to be is hard to predict, but we do encourage people to contact the organisation offering the activity or club, to talk to them about this before the session or day, find out if there are break out spaces, quieter sessions, for example.

There are a broad range of activities on offer in the Activity Calendar and we hope there is something for everyone.