What is Me2 Club?
Set up in 2003, Me2 Club is an inclusion charity that aims to tackle the isolation and exclusion which can impact children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. Our objective is to enable them – often for the first time – to join in with the regular leisure activities like uniformed groups, sports clubs and drama groups that their mainstream peers may take for granted.
Who does Me2 Club work with?
We work in the Wokingham and Reading boroughs to support children with a wide range of additional needs including Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down’s syndrome, whether or not they have a formal diagnosis. We also support a growing number of children with mental health, behavioural and emotional difficulties including anxiety. Our young people may have communication difficulties, limited understanding or might find it difficult to interact with others and make friends. This is a group that is often not catered for in mainstream provision and they can consequently feel excluded, unwelcome or apprehensive about taking part.
We work hard to ensure our support can be accessed by children from all backgrounds and family situations. In cases of financial hardship, we can help with the costs of the activity, uniform and transportation that might otherwise deny the child from being able to participate.
Tell us about your volunteers
We couldn’t do this work without our fantastic volunteers, who we recruit, train and carefully match with a child to support them during a mainstream leisure activity they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to enjoy. Our volunteers are full of energy, enthusiasm and passion; most are themselves young people who often go on to lead careers working with young people or in health and social care.
“Me2 Club is one of the best things I’ve done. My experience has honestly been life-changing and encouraged me to keep volunteering and working with children with additional needs. I’m so privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing staff, meet caring parents who take an interest in you beyond your volunteer role, and help a really special young person to take part in the activity that they love.”
How does the Me2 Club experience help our young people?
The children we work with often struggle to gain independence from their families. They may find themselves left on the social margins, not being invited to sleepovers or parties. They may lack the confidence to join in with school trips. These are not trivial concerns, and many disabled young people say that leisure and play is the most important missing element in their lives. For some children, their Me2 Club activity is their only regular leisure activity outside school; an opportunity to join in with their local community and gain a sense of belonging.
The benefits of social inclusion for our children are significant and include increased confidence, self-esteem and independence, fewer feelings of isolation and loneliness and better quality relationships. Me2 Club also enables them to build vital skills for life and express their emotions or ideas to others.
What do care-givers of Me2 Club children have to say?
While the main beneficiaries are the children that we work with, we’re also providing vital support to their family members, who are finally able to feel more practically supported and emotionally whole through the respite they get.
One Me2 Club parent told us:
“As a family, we rely on Me2 Club for our daughter’s social development, fun, adventure and also our respite.”
“One of the most wonderful things about Me2 Club is its basic concept – to get children with disabilities out into mainstream activities. I think that for all the children and adults who have spent time with T at Scouts, they have a better understanding about disability and that people with disabilities do not have to be feared and have a great deal to offer.”
How can you help?
By donating to Me2 Club, you can make a positive difference to a child who may be experiencing a sense of isolation every day. Or get in touch to discuss volunteering your time and change the life of a young person with additional needs.
We’d love you to visit our website and follow our social channels for all our latest updates:
Visit our website: me2club.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @me2club. Like us on Facebook: @me2clubcharity. Follow us on Instagram: @me2club.