Livingstone Street Play & Community Centre, located in Birkenhead were praised this week for their “life-changing” summer club that provided free sessions for families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Due to cuts in funding, the community centre was forced to close its doors and families were left with nowhere to go, causing distress to many local people who relied on it.
Equilibrium North West, a Birkenhead based community interest company, recognised the need for the centre and applied for a grant to support its summer club from local housing association, One Vision Housing.
The grant from One Vision Housing’s Community Development Fund, supported the six-week summer holiday club which helped 450 residents access over 100 hours of support and provided 750 nutritious meals.
The club included a series of four-hour sessions with arts and crafts, games, and story times. SEND families were also provided with exclusive access to the centre’s on-site sensory room.
A parent who accessed the free sessions said, “I would have been lost without the holiday club; it has changed our lives. My son has autism and ADHD, and the supportive environment here has been instrumental to his development. The people here are amazing, attentive to his needs and know how to look after him in challenging moments.”
Another parent added, “We have never been able to come to a summer club like this before. My daughter loves coming here. It is great to be able to get out of the house and see her experience things that other children do.”
Using the HACT Social Value Calculator, which was formed following extensive research to measure the positive impact of social initiatives, One Vision Housing were able to determine that over £898k of social value had been generated thanks to the project.
Sharon Munroe, from Equilibrium North West said, “On behalf of our whole community, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to One Vision Housing. Parents really struggled when local SEND activities were cancelled, many who approached me in tears with nowhere else to go.
Sharon went on to say, Thanks to grant we received, we were able to support children with multiple difficulties and challenges, giving families a much-needed break, and providing an opportunity to connect with others who have the same challenges as them.”
Ian Mitchell, Managing Director at One Vision Housing said, “We are thrilled that so many families, who would have otherwise faced severe hardship, were able to access a safe, fun, and tailored experience during the summer holidays through Equilibrium’s club.
He added: As part of The Sovini Group, we are proud to create opportunities and change lives, and this project truly demonstrates the impact we can make across our thriving, inclusive communities.”
A total of £10,000 is available each year for voluntary and community groups through the housing association’s Community Development Fund. Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year.
To learn more about the fund and how to apply for a grant, please visit ovh.org.uk