Positive Youth runs holiday clubs for underprivileged children in the London Borough of Barnet. Often these children come from large families who simply do not have the funds to provide a safe, stimulating environment for them to be in during school holidays. Positive Youth provides a place where they can be engaged, encouraged and most of all have fun!
Heathlands Children’s Centre
Run by the Manchester Jewish Federation, the children’s centre offers support to children with special needs or disabilities, children at risk of neglect or abuse, or living through a crisis such as the illness of a parent. In addition, the centre provides much needed respite for the children’s families or foster carers.
Step-by-Step provide programs that offer disabled Jewish children in the UK the chance to benefit from weekly after school riding, ice skating, football, cycling sessions, swimming and hydrotherapy sessions, showing that tangible improvements can be made in the physical and emotional health of these children. The sessions include participation in the AQA Unit Award System, a nationally accredited certification. Participation in this scheme ensures that the children are encouraged by having their progress recognised and their achievements celebrated.
The Judith Trust
Many children who have special needs feel excluded from Jewish life. Difficulties with confidence or communication make it hard for them to participate, and some communities are unsure of the best way to support such families.The aim of the Judith Trust is to encourage the inclusion of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems, and their families and carers, in synagogue life. Their ethos is that ‘anything is possible’ if people with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems have the chance to be part of synagogue life and ritual– from baby blessings and nursery, through cheder, Scouts and Girl Guides, to Bar/Bat Mitzvah and beyond. The Judith Trust is working with Synagogues, Rabbis and teachers across all streams of Judaism to enable more communities to welcome children with special needs and their families.
Bnei Akiva (GB & Ireland) – YACHAD CAMP
Hundreds of children every year gain tremendous amount from participating in Bnei Akiva’s residential camps. Yachad is Bnei Akiva’s week-long programme designed to include children with disabilities in camps. Yachad is a fully integrated camp which includes mainstream children and offers an excellent arena in which to raise awareness about the importance of including children with special needs in Jewish youth activities. For some, this is their only chance to spend time away from parents and carers and make new friends. For many it is the only intensive Jewish experience of their year. Yachad is designed for children who need one-to-one attention and extra support but would still love to experience Bnei Akiva camps. For children who have special needs, sleeping away from home encourages independence, personal and social development and helps to improve their quality of life.
Based in Glasgow, Cosgrove Care provides care for children with learning disabilities and complex needs from the age of 3 upwards. Working with families and social workers they develop care plans which are tailored to meet the specific requirements and aspirations of each individual child. Cosgrove Care supports children in their own home on a one-to-one basis and through a range of out-of-school leisure and sport activities. Over 60 children participate in spring, summer and autumn play schemes which incorporate water play, drama, music, arts and crafts, cooking and baking, sports, construction and a selection of outings to places including Glasgow Science Centre and Chatelherault Country Park. Cosgrove Care provides a safe, stimulating and fun environment that caters for each child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs during school holidays, offers families some much needed respite and promotes community integration.
Children Ahead supports Jewish children who have mild general learning disabilities. Children from low-income families are offered therapy programmes specifically tailored to their needs. Programmes include specialist teaching, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and educational psychology. Children who have special needs often have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally. Through the Children Ahead ‘Kid Create’ creative arts therapy programme, children use music, art and play equipment to explore their world. This kind of creative environment can be highly motivating, making children feel encouraged and empowered to express themselves.
The Boy’s Clubhouse
The Boy’s Clubhouse helps teenagers at risk of social or family exclusion from the Jewish community. Many of the teenagers who come to The Boy’s Clubhouse have been excluded from school or have dropped-out of education. All too often this is the beginning of a downward spiral to drug and alcohol addiction, sleeping rough, gambling and crime. The Boy’s Clubhouse provides a range of services including mentoring, activities, carreers advice, therapy and educational support to help these teenagers to move forward in their lives and stop them slipping through the cracks.