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Saturday, 27 February 2021

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Extratime club secures funding to support their work with children

EXTRATIME run clubs, events, and afterschool care for young people with and without disabilities across various sites in Brighton, Hove and West Sussex. The funding from Rockinghorse will enable them to purchase two new tablets to help improve communication between staff and parents.

The organisation was founded in 2003 after two parents with severely disabled children recognised the need for suitable, affordable childcare for children with Special Educations Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Brighton and Hove.

Since then, Extratime has grown and now supports around 375 children and young people with SEND, providing a lifeline for families and becoming one of the largest providers of inclusive play and leisure in Sussex.

Jenny Kay, a Senior Fundraiser at Extratime, made the application to Rockinghorse for the tablets with specialist software to make it much easier for staff and parents to support and share vital information about the children and young people attending their activities.

Jenny explains why these tablets will make such a difference: 

“Ninety percent of children who attend our clubs and schemes last year had SEND, including severe learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions, life-limiting medical conditions and challenging behaviour with many having a combination of these.

“For each of these children, we need to collect, update and store vital information about their medical and personal care needs, communication, behaviour, likes and dislikes. These children need a high level of support, in many cases 1:1, covering everything from eating to using the bathroom. Some have very specific dietary requirements, including some who are tube-fed, and many need to take medication throughout the day to manage their conditions.

“Obviously, we need to keep track of all this information, and up until now, we have used paper forms which needed to be completed, printed and filed ahead of each holiday scheme. These could be up to 11 pages long and would involve many hours of admin time over an average year. So, having a quicker, more efficient and secure way to collate this information will make such a difference to us.”

These new tablets will drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the need for these paper records. It will also decrease the strain and stress on parent carers having to complete this information and make it much easier to share across the staff team safely and securely.

Along with collating information on each participant’s support needs, the tablets will also be used as a communication tool to share information and photographs quickly and easily with parent carers, keeping them involved.

In addition, some young people are non-verbal and are unable to communicate details about their day once they return home, so the chance to share updates in this way will be invaluable to families, especially during the pandemic whilst contact is kept to a minimum.

Rhian Walsh, Finance Manager at Rockinghorse, is really pleased that the charity has been able to support Extratime: 

“Whilst we are known for the work that we do with the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, we also support a wide range of services throughout Sussex like Extratime. We are so proud to be able to help them carry on their amazing work supporting families with additional needs and can’t wait to hear how they get on with their new tablets.”

And Jenny and the team at Extratime are really looking forward to seeing the difference this technology will make to their provision, she said: 

“These tablets will be enormously helpful to our playworkers, directly benefit the children and young people at our Brighton & Hove after school clubs and playschemes each year.

 “It will also mean that staff time will be freed up so that they can focus on providing the best service they can, achieving amazing outcomes for the children and their families.”

For more information about Extratime and the support they offer, take a look at their website: www.extratime.org.uk and to learn more about the projects that Rockinghorse are currently supporting, take a look at the ‘About Us’ section of the Rockinghorse website at www.rockinghorse.org.uk.

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