Friends of Castlewood School were awarded a £5,000 grant from the Youell Family Fund to help continue their work for children with additional needs, including the run of a Saturday club.

It’s Saturday morning and there’s a stampede of children as the doors at Castlewood School fling open.

Sue Rumble, Group Fundraiser, said:

“We’ve been running for 10 years. We normally have about 50 kids and we’ve 30 on the waiting list as a lot of these children can’t use mainstream activities.


“We split them up into six different groups depending on their needs. Some children are non-verbal, some are very autistic, we’ve a group in wheelchairs, two girls with brittle bones which can be quite tricky.”

This organisation also provides much needed care for siblings:

“If there’s a child with needs their sibling can come as well. Sometimes at home, they don’t get pushed out as such, but their sibling gets priority. They don’t moan about it, but here they can share their experiences with others.”

And of course, thanks to the excellent care, parents are provided with some much needed respite.

Asia’s son, Rhasid, uses the service:

“Having a child with special needs can destroy more able families, for me it meant having no more kids and sitting at home making sure Rhasid is ok.


“It can be quite a big, deep, dark world. Even family members don’t understand. Since coming to this provision it’s helped me get back into working.


“I don’t want to sound selfish, but it gives parents a chance to get on with things we need to do. Saturday Club is a blessing, I’m so happy.”

Unfortunately, when children reach 11 the service is no longer available to them.

Something Ravinder, another parent, is coming to terms with:

“The service isn’t just on a Saturday, they’re always there to support us and answer any questions.


“I’m worried about my son being too old for the service, I’m trying not to think about it to be honest.”

Finally, we caught up with Ella. Her son has autism but her daughter, as a sibling, takes advantage of the club:

“The provisions are really good here, for £20 there are loads of things available.


“My youngest is profoundly autistic, I knew from the moment I came here that I was in the right place. They know how to talk to me and my child.


“My elder child is very withdrawn and needs to be part of a group too, she makes friends here. This makes me feel fantastic. Finding a playgroup is impossible for Julian and it’s so important that my daughter Olympia has somewhere to go as well!”

If you’d like to apply for funding please view our Available Grants here.