With the assistance of the Rotary Club of Edinburgh as International Partner, the Host Club, the Rotary Club of Leeds, was able to obtain a Global Grant for a $30,000 project at Leeds Mencap. The Global Grant provided the funding for a project in support of very young children with severe mental and often physical disabilities. There is presently no other funding available for 0-3 year olds, at the time when most learning occurs.
With the Global Grant it was possible to set up a programme for 18 children to benefit from a number of sessions provided by three specialist service providers for one year. Parents and carers also benefited from from being put in touch with other organisations that could provide relevant support.
The children benefited in a number of ways. Their communication skills improved; they began to show that they were listening and forming some understanding of what was being said, they could express their interests and preferences to those around them, and could take part in play and learning and interact with other children and adults. In addition, their physical and motor skills improved, and they learned how to crawl and walk, to go up and down stairs and to grasp a to toy.
The project has been a phenomenal success for the participating children, and it will continue to be offered by Leeds Mencap with funds from a variety of sources. The Rotary Club of Leeds would be delighted to share their experience.
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