A donation of £53,000 from the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation to the Special Needs Inclusion Programme will provide 3,500 hours of specialist support for children with disabilities to access mainstream nurseries.
Mr Gower said the Foundation wanted to make a difference for children with disabilities. He said: “We recently visited a nursery to see the Jersey Child Care Trust in action and were surprised to learn that without this charity, children with disabilities would not be able to go to private nurseries.
“The Philip Gower Charitable Foundation has agreed to provide enough funds for children to have 3,500 hours of support over a year. Having the extra help of a Support Worker makes an incredible difference for the children who need it. This charity is truly changing lives.”
Fiona Vacher, Executive Director of the Jersey Child Care Trust, said that last year the Trust’s Special Needs Inclusion Programme provided 15,474 hours of support to 53 children in Jersey. She said: “The need for our services is growing and we experienced a 40% increase last year compared to the previous year. We are working hard to make sure we can help all children who need us when it matters most to them, in their earliest years.
“This generous donation from the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation means that we can provide over 3,500 hours of support to children with disabilities, helping them to go to nursery alongside their peers. Each child receives an individualised amount of support, based on their needs. Without this, these children cannot go to nursery.”
One of the children who has been supported by the Trust is Ross, who attended Little Squirrel’s Day Nursery. Nursery Manager, Tracey Bunn, said the support from the Jersey Child Care Trust was imperative for Ross. She said: “The one-to-one support enabled him to stay in a nursery environment safely as the Jersey Child Care Trust were able to focus all their time and attention on the complexity of his needs. As Ross responded to this support his understanding and communication developed enabling him to play alongside his peers. His parents have said how tremendous it is to see him fully included in nursery life.
“The Jersey Child Care Trust provides a crucial support network for both families and nurseries so that children with disabilities can remain in an inclusive environment of the parents’ choice. It is vital that the JCCT continue to find funding so that children and families can continue to access this invaluable support.”
Maggie Brown, Ross’ mum said: “Every day was just a relief when the Jersey Child Care Trust stepped in and offered support for Ross. They have been an amazing help to Ross himself, but also to me and our family. They have re-assured me on the worst days and we have celebrated together on the good days with his development.”
Mrs Vacher said the work of the Jersey Child Care Trust was of crucial importance. She said: “The charity can literally change the trajectory of children’s lives. Due to his progress at nursery, Ross has entered reception in a mainstream school with support. This was not thought possible when he first joined the Jersey Child Care Trust’s Special Needs Inclusion Programme, which is why we are so grateful for the support of Islanders and charities, including the Philip Gower Charitable Foundation, who make going to nursery possible for so many children like Ross.”
It costs the charity on average, £3,300 to help a child like Ross for one year. You can donate here to help more children and for more information, contact Fiona Vacher, Executive Director.