A repeat of the successful event for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities was held on a sunny and breezy Sunday in June.
The Local Offer, IASS, NPFG and Northamptonshire Sport met early in the morning at Northampton College and were joined an hour later by the Shooting Stars. The day was finally upon us for the Summer Sendsation 2017 after months of careful planning.
An hour later over 70 providers had arrived bringing a variety of equipment, activities and fun things for children, young people and their families to do, as well as information about the services and groups around the county that specifically support special educational needs and disabilities.
Northampton College was chosen as a particularly suitable site for the event, with a large car park, accessible paths and corridors, and excellent facilities such as a changing places toilet, (which was needed and used). We had providers who use wheelchairs and the college premises enabled them to be equally independent.
The planning team had booked entertainment for families, including a magician and street artist, face painting, Inspiration FM and the annual end of year performance from “Y-Not Arts” (a NMPAT targeted youth drama group ) .
We had booked a photographer to take and print photos for each family as part of the event.
One family shared that this was their first ever family photograph together with all their children.
The ever popular Canine Partners assistance dogs waited on their best behaviour until it was time for them to show off what they are capable of doing to help their owners live independent lives.
Volunteer “fun makers” helped families around the site and some of our Shooting Stars were part of this this team. They could be spotted around the site in their green t-shirts
The planning team were able to fund the event entirely through community grants from the Co-Op and the Community Foundation and sponsorship from a variety of supporters.
The main aim of the event was for children and families to have some fun in a safe environment, but they were able to find information about groups and services, there were workshops (singing and signing was the most popular) and visitors could find out more about NPFG, IASS and the Local Offer.
Over 730 people attended the event and everyone has declared it a huge success. 62 people left feedback to enter into the prize draw for a laptop donated by Tesco’s at Mereway. This was won by a family whose child attends Greenfields Specialist School.
100% of respondees said they had enjoyed Summer SENDsation and that they would come back if we held another. 97% saying they had found something new, and 74% said they had made new friends or contacts.“
The bouncy castle was packed away at the end of the day, the mascot costumes packed back in bags and the site cleared of children, volunteers and rubbish.
The planning team were able to head off home for a well- deserved sit down at 5.30pm, satisfied that they had created an afternoon of fun for a lot of children and their families.
(We couldn’t find Lorraine Flute and Graeme Wilson by the time this photo was taken.)
Watch the Summer Sendsation 2017 film:
For more photos see our Local Offer website.
And a big thank you to Lucy Cox from the web team for taking the photos.