Unique Friends launched in August 2016 and is run by a voluntary trust committee of parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and additional needs. The group’s aim is to provide a safe, relaxed, inclusive environment for the children and young adults up to the age of 25 as well as offering a support network for their families.
Amanda Best, chair of trustees for the group, said: “Unique Friends is a support group for children and young adults with SEND or disabilities and their families. We offer fully inclusive activities, days out and support for all of the family. We also signpost families to other agencies and we have recently hosted two coffee mornings for parents and carers, which were a huge success.
“As parents of children with additional needs, we have all been in their shoes and we offer help, support and advice to families who are in the process of diagnosis or who already have one.”
The group, which meets every third Saturday of the month at Junction, Goole, as well as putting on other events throughout the year, rotates the activities it does with the children and parents are encouraged to join in too.
Amanda said: “Examples of what we do include arts and crafts, games, soft play, dance, music, sensory play, Lego, gardening, cooking and life skills. We also invite outside services to provide sessions suitable for the families that attend. Some of the parents have non-verbal children, so you can pick up some signs too while you’re there, if you wish to learn!”
Unique Friends is also the local TSB bank branch charity partner for the year, which is a huge boost to the group. Sessions cost £3 for a child with SEND/ disabilities and £1.50 for each child thereafter. Parents and carers go free. The group holds various other events throughout the year, including family fun days, dance sessions, game sessions and informal coffee mornings.
You can find a full list of events on the Facebook page, @uniquefriendsgoole, or by visiting the website www.uniquefriends.org.uk.
Amanda added: “Lots of work goes on behind the scenes planning the future of the group. All the trustees put a lot of time and effort into providing the sessions and we are all excited for what the future has in store for us as a group.”
The group is also looking for volunteers to join the committee and help run sessions. If you are interested, please contact Amanda on 07713 156232 or via the group’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Amanda added: “We would welcome anyone who would like to come onboard with us!”