Local Disability Charities Join Forces

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The Dorset-based charity ‘Coping with CHAOS’, which supports families caring for children with disabilities, has this week merged with Diverse Abilities Plus, the local provider of support and education services for both children and adults with disabilities.

The move, which was finalised on Friday 1st April, follows a successful period of collaborative working between the two non-profit organisations, which came about as a result of there being a clear synergy between the charities’ values and services.

Coping with CHAOS supports families caring for a child or young person with a disability or special educational need in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, and was started in 1997 by two local East Dorset parents, Liz Morris and Anne Boyce, both of whom had children with very different disabilities. Today over 300 families are registered and Coping with CHAOS is recognised as a major provider of short breaks for families with disabled children in the area. Its services will continue, albeit as part of Diverse Abilities Plus, which is a significantly larger charity and employer of approximately 300 people throughout Dorset.

Diverse Abilities Plus offers lifetime partnerships to individuals with the whole range of disabilities and their families. It operates six key services – Langside School, Smithers, Shapes, Project My Time, Barnabas and Supported Living – all of which serve to empower those who benefit from its services and to offer the best level of assistance, support and education across Dorset.

One of the benefits of joining Diverse Abilities Plus is that the support and infrastructure of Diverse Abilities Plus will help assure the continuation and development of the support services offered by Coping with CHAOS.

Mark Powell, Chief Executive Officer of Diverse Abilities Plus, said: “We have been providing IT and administration support as well as book-keeping services to Coping with CHAOS for some time now, and the merger became the obvious next step. Coping with CHAOS has become an important provider of support to a large number of Dorset-based families and we are delighted to welcome each and every one of those families, as well as the staff members, into our organisation.

He continued: “We will continue to deliver the popular Coping with CHAOS’ initiatives such as ‘Play Opportunities’ in south east Dorset and Weymouth, ‘Awesome Nights and Days’ and the ‘Face2Face Befriending service’. Coping with CHAOS has been operating for 14 years and has a strong family focus. We intend to build on that focus; to encourage that Coping with CHAOS will continue to be locally run from West Moors with a good deal of autonomy. We will work hard to ensure that there is minimal impact to the families which receive support.”

Diverse Abilities Plus is the only local charity that provides lifetime support to children and adults with varying disabilities and has worked across Dorset for 55 years. The charity provides a range of assistance, support and education services for young people aged two to 19, adults and families.

For more information or to contact Diverse Abilities Plus please visit http://www.diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk or call 01202 718266.

Editors Notes
Diverse Abilities Plus is a charity that has been supporting children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and associated disabilities working in the County of Dorset, England for 50 years. The charity provides a range of assistance, support and education services for young people aged two to 19, adults and families. Services include:

  •     Langside School – independent, non maintained specialist day school for children and young people from the age of two to 19 years who have PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities). It’s one of only 19 similar SEN (special education needs) schools in the UK.
  •     Smithers – provides overnight and day short breaks. Short breaks help families manage the challenges of providing full time care for their child. A visit can be during the day or a ‘sleep over’ allowing the child to make and meet friends and relax and enjoy themselves.
  •     Shapes – provides home support (domiciliary care) for children and young people aged between two and 18 with individually tailored programs.
  •     Project My Time – provides child-led holiday activities that give young people with disabilities the same leisure and fun opportunities that their peers enjoy.
  •     Barnabas – a well equipped day setting for adults. Adults can learn new skills and enjoy a wide range of experiences.
  •     Supported living – this service is for people who live in their own home but may need up to 24/7 support.
  •     Disability Wessex - offers assistance with disability benefits for people with disabilities or chronic and acute health conditions and their families or carers, as well as the parents of disabled children.
  •     Play Opportunities - supports families with disabled children to have a chance to get out and enjoy themselves with other families in similar situations.
  •     Awesome Days and Awesome Nights – A youth group, set up and run by young people of all abilities, aged between 13 - 19 years.
  •     Face 2 Face – a free and confidential network of trained volunteer befrienders, who support parents to make positive adjustments to the news that their child has a disability or additional need. Every Face2Face befriender is a parent whose own child has a disability. They know what it's like to cope with a new diagnosis and can offer support parent to parent.

The charity was founded in 1955 by Mrs Phyllis Edwards who formed a group of parent’s intent on providing better opportunities for their children with physical and learning disabilities.

Visit Diverse Abilities Plus Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/diverseabilitiesplus and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/GoldChallengeDA

For more information
Contact: Zoe Hiljemark, PR Account Director / Jenny Pearce, Senior PR Account Executive
E-mail: zoe(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk / jenny(at)marketing-matters(dot)co(dot)uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 777111 / +44 (0) 7770 924439
Address: Marketing Matters, Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole, Dorset, UK, BH12 4NZ


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Jenny Pearce
Marketing Matters - UK
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