Specialist Children and Family
COVID UPDATE Aug 2021: until further notice we have decided to close until we can hopefully review the safety of opening in the near future. Please watch this space and follow us on Facebook!
Covid-19 service changes
Dear Clearly members and friends,
Inline with the current lockdown we find ourselves in, Clearly Speaking will remain closed until further notice, we hope to review the safety of all families, children and volunteers and decide together when to reopen safely.
We would like to express our gratitude and great thanks to all our families and friends for your support and patience, and send our love to all our volunteers at this very difficult time.
We look forward to catching up with you all in the very near future. Please stay safe and well.
Janet and all the Clearly team.
Sorry we are closed until further notice!
New Activity clubs/sessions on offer
We will carefully plan who will be in the centre through the days we are open.
– Monday morning 10am – 12pm, then 1-3pm, an evening appointment can be offered to those who need an individual session, whichever member of the family.
Wednesday 10am – 12pm, then a break for volunteers and a chance to clean down before others use the space. Then 1pm – 3pm is a cookery session, we hope with the support of FairShare, we will welcome those who have been cooking for themselves and those who need a hot, nourishing meal locally, and we will place more in the fridge to give out. We will use Zoom so that more adults over sixteen years of age can also join us and cook along. From 3.30-4.30pm, space for an individual session for anyone who needs it.
Friday – 10am – 12pm arts and crafts for the whole family. We hope to put together craft kits for parents or family members who can come to the centre and pick up a craft or art kit, then we can work with a small, pre-booked group, and invite more to join us by Zoom. 1-3pm we want to offer art and craft in the garden. This will have a garden focus as we want to get the garden back on track. We have more outdoor space for a range of ages, sit and ride toys, (Please can you donate these, if you have any your children have outgrown, trikes, 3-8years of age please. Plus any fun sit and ride toys, but no partner rides due to the need for distance. Thank you)
For the older members, if you are over fourteen years of age and want to play Dungeons and Dragons, please get in touch so we can plan a weekly or two weekly session into our program. Using the garden area means that we can have groups containing six young people and under. we can hold more than one session of the club, depending on the play levels and interests of each person. We have a new campaign and some great new resources at the centre to help you to redesign a character for the start of the new campaign.
Changes for booking sessions
We cannot offer any drop-in support because this means we cannot provide the safe support everyone needs.
– You will need to phone and book a slot for you and your family to come in and meet with Janet and the volunteers you are likely to be working with
– You will need to tell us who your family members, (those who want or need to come to Clearly), are regularly in contact with. This will help us to plan the best clubs or sessions to place them within.
– You will need to make sure we know if anyone in your family has been poorly, or has had any symptoms of the Corona 19 virus. Or the Flu virus etc.
– You will need to fill in an up-to-date registration form. If you are an existing family member of Clearly, we may be able to do this by phone or Zoom.
– We will plan together to identify a short term and longer term goal each family member would like our help to achieve.
– We will also record, the actions we each need to do to help each family member to achieve their goal.
– The key Goal of ‘Clearly’, continues to be; to have fun, to make friends, to improve confidence and communication, or, social interaction skills and, where appropriate, to improve your, or your family member’s mental health, to improve the relationships of all those you want to be able to spend positive periods of time with.
Covid measures in place when visiting our centre
On your arrival, please wear face coverings, we have always had strict no contact rules on our sites. Please be prepared to drop off your child/young person at the front door so we can avoid cross contamination and enforce social bubbles. The centre is marked with safety signs throughout for safe social distancing.
We now have a strict one-way system; everyone must enter through the front door where you must sign in with your personal contact info by a member of our team. At the end of the session, you must sign out with a member of our team and exit through the black gates to the rear of our centre where your family can pick you up.
New opening times
We have reduced our opening hours as follows:
- Monday: 10am to 4pm
- Wednesday 10am to 4pm
- Friday,: 10am to 4pm
Our reduced opening hours allow us the chance to offer play, craft, cookery or games sessions each day with time for volunteers to have a proper break from ppe and disinfect everything before the next session.
Any changes to our opening times will be posted on Facebook and we will contact all families via text when events or activities are cancelled or moved.
Don’t forget to book for our activities, we no long accept drop ins.
What support is on offer at clearly speaking?
We are open and We are Safe for families who need our help and support.
Our aims are:
- To provide weekly respite care for those families who need have children and young people who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, (ASD), as part of their diagnosis
- To provide support to any family who may be finding it a little difficult to manage more challenging behaviours their children, or family members are exhibiting
- To provide a supportive stepping –stone for those who have been ‘Self-isolating’, or ‘Shielding’, over the months since March 2020. We aim to help everyone to feel safe and to be able to begin socialising safely again.
- We provide a safe, fun and exciting environment to enable children and young people to meet in small bubbles, or, to play or socialise together, to enjoy similar interests, and when being in the same place as other people is too frightening at the moment, to take part in online games and activities, until ready to attend the centre themselves and to enjoy time with others until they are ready to meet with other people in person.
- To take part in small cookery sessions with adults who have special needs and disabilities, or to attend online with the help of adults on the autistic spectrum, to make a tasty meal for yourself, and to help to make a meal for other people, to be stored safely at Clearly, until it is requested. To help those who are less fortunate than themselves.
- To build positive self-esteem, improve mental health and prevent further isolation and possible loneliness and anxiety among the children, young people and the adults who have specisl needs and disabilities who come to ‘Clearly’ for our help, support and intervention.
What changes have you made to deliver services?
We aim to do this by:
- Providing weekly slots of time for individual families so we can meet at ‘Clearly’, get to know the needs of each family member, or to understand the wishes of each member of the family, in regard to the help and support they need to be able to identify a short, and a longer term goal, then to plan together, what help and support we can provide for you to enable you to achieve this goal.
- As far as is possible, providing small bubbles which will allow children and young people to spend time together on a weekly basis to relax with our volunteers, where possible, individual to the individual groups and bubbles, to avoid cross contamination or the possible spread of the Corono-19- virus, and to play, enjoy time with, or to initially join in the online fun of an activity in the Centre in Buckingham. To develop confidence and self-esteem so that it is less difficult to return to school when it reopens after the official summer break.
- To develop strategies which will help individual children, young people, and adults who have ASD as part of their diagnosis, to better understand their difficulties, and to therefore, better manage their anxiety so that we are able to avoid additional barriers to learning how to return to a social or learning based environment when their family and key adults feel that the time is right.
- To continue to act upon the guidance provided by the .Gov websites, Government led advice sources in order to ensure that all who visit and attend the Clearly Speaking Centre, are safe and as well as can be expected over the weeks, months and years ahead.
Changes we have made to create a safe environment
The centre now has multiple sanitiser stations, all at the correct height for all members of your family. The soap dispenser is also infra-red, these are all automatic so there is no need to touch anything, avoiding any cross contamination.
The paper-towels are also pull and tear, with peddle bins to put the paper straight in to. We must thank the wonderful volunteers from Buckingham Rotary Club for all their hard work. They put all these up as well as repairing the greenhouse, giving up another outdoor space to use. Thank you.
- All staff and volunteers will be wearing PPE, masks, gloves and aprons. If a child should begin to cough or appear unwell, the centre also has visors and goggles which can also be used.
- We have a one way system at the centre. Parents/carers will drop children. Young people etc off at the front door with a good hand-over, we ask that you do not come into the centre, to avoid adding to any cross-over of germs, or possible viruses. Children, young people will then be handed over through the black gates, this will make sure that everyone is safe on site. They will be encourages to wash their hands regularly and when passing the sanitisers, to use them. This will be made into fun for the members of Clearly.
- After speaking to Buckinghamshire County Council, they have agreed to the purchasing of a large awning to sit on the rear of the building we lease from them. This will mean that even as the weather changes, we should still have the space we need to be able to work outside in the garden.
- We now need to raise £5,000 for an Awning which is automatic and which fits across the back of our building. We would welcome any help and support to make applications for funding for this essential project, please do get in touch if you are able to help and support ‘Clearly’ to apply for this funding. Thank you.
- All volunteers are being offered additional support to understand how to use PPE properly, to keep themselves and members of ‘Clearly’ safe.
- All volunteers are being offered the chance to take additional first aid training, online at first, then face-to-face.
- All DBS checks are being repeated and references are being rechecked to ensure everything is up to date now, rather than waiting until next year when agencies are likely to be much busier.
- Volunteers will only work with one or two groups, or bubbles, or, if a child needs 1:1 support, the child will always have the same volunteer if at all possible, so that we avoid crossing over germs.
- A record of any changes will be made at the start of each session at Clearly.
We require you to sign a new registration form
All those attending Clearly Speaking over the weeks ahead will be asked to sign a form with a member of staff (we are hapy to do this over the phone) to state that they have read and understood the requirements of being onsite at the Children and Family Centre, and that they will work with us to keep their family members safe and well, and that of all who are on the site of our Children and family centre over the weeks ahead. This will also state that children and young people will do all they can to also stay within the rules we have set out for everyone who is at ‘Clearly’, when they are also there.
Any child who appears to have any symptoms of the corona 19-virus when being brought to the centre, will be asked to leave and to be checked by their GP or an appropriate nurse or doctor. They will not be able to be left with a member of the Clearly team until another relative can come to pick them up. They will remain within the responsibility of their family.
We hope that these instructions are clear and that they are understood by all who see them. We are happy to go through with individual families so that they can then be signed and placed within the file of each member.
Our aim in supporting all local families who have children and young people with hidden specisl needs, is to make sure that they are not left behind and left to struggle because they do not meet the criterion for those who had a child with disabilities, we want to make sure, that anyone who need care, someone to listen, someone to understand, and someone to help to make the world to make sense, is here. Clearly Speaking is listening, and is here to help you, and cares, for as long as you need us, particularly at this very difficult and confusing time. Please do reach out and ask for help if you need it and we will do all we can to help you.
Who Are We?
Clearly Speaking is an approachable, professional, caring support service for families and front line professionals. We offer independent specialist support for all families and individuals in and around Buckinghamshire and the surrounding counties who have children/young people or adults from birth to 25 years of age who have any level of special needs and disabilities. Due to increased demand, we will also be holding activities and support groups for adults over 25 years. (please see Activity group section in the main menu for more)
We have over 15 years of experience, having designed specialist support programs and intervention which have not only been adopted by numerous other charities and support services, but for the sole benefit of thousands of families who are members of Clearly. We have the needed privacy at our local Buckingham Centre to meet with families or young people, as well as the space and independence to offer all our services and support/activity groups onsite for all families who come to Clearly Speaking.
We can assess young people and adults who appear to have fallen through the net and who may be really struggling with key aspects of becoming independent adults due to their difficulties with social communication, self-esteem and confidence issues.
We work with children and young people who struggle with a wide range of difficulties.
Our director Janet Nicks specialises in supporting families who may have a family member with hidden special needs and disabilities, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Autism, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, learning difficulties and the wide range of associated difficulties such as depression, anxiety disorders, mental health difficulties, and social communication difficulties.
Give us a call to find out more and register for our services on 01280 824871
We offer a range of practical, specialist clubs and activities alongside our advice, guidance and support. We will always aim to return your calls, although please do keep trying as at times we are extremely busy, which can cause delays on our part, we would hate to miss your enquiry.
We welcome self-referrals by phone or email to access our specialist services free of charge.
We work with children and young people who struggle with a wide range of difficulties suchas self-harm, low self esteem, eating disorders, difficulties remaining on any task, even when self imposed, difficulties feeling positive or accepted, associated challenging behaviours, bipolar disorder, psychosis and sensory integration difficulties.
During our weekly clinic we can identify any underlying difficulties causing significant barriers to making good progress towards social relationships, employment or training etc.
We have a wide range of local referral streams we can initiate after an informal assessment.
WHAT AREAS DOES CLEARLY SPEAKING COVER?
We are located in Buckingham, and serve all of Bucks and the surrounding counties including Milton Keynes but our reach has extended to many areas of the UK just because of our unique and specialist services which are getting harder to find with the government cutbacks. If you can travel to us, we will do our best to support and advise you, at the very least we can direct you to another service closer to home.
ARe you a free service or do i need to pay?
We are free at point of contact yes! Although we could charge a lot for the services we provide, it’s important to our director that everyone has access to essential help and support, especially as she knows first hand how difficult the system is to navigate bringing up her own children with special needs as a single parent. Janet accepts contribution based pricing where you donate what you can, whether it’s money, time or perhaps some craft and food for our clubs.
Please note, our clubs and activities are not free unless stated, we charge a small fee per person, (group discounts available to help cover the costs of craft, food, and volunteer travel expenses.) If you are in recite of benefits do let us know as we don’t want you to be left out due to costs.
Please contact us and we can discuss your needs further.
How can i make a donation to your charity?
We accept online donations via our website which uses PayPal, please take a look. If you prefer, we also accept cheques and cash that you can either mail to us or pop down and hand in at reception. If your not sure send us an email or give us a call.
We are always happy to receive donations in the form of toys and games, games consoles, IT equipment, furniture suitable for our centre, as well as food for our clubs and gardening supplies. Perhaps you might even have something we can hand out to our families.
DO I NEED A REFERRAL to access your service?
No! We encourage parents, carers, and young people to self-refer themselves. Simply contact us via phone or email and we will talk you through the next steps to register with our charity so you can receive access to all our organisations specialist services free of charge.
(Please note to take part in our activities, you must register your child/yp so we can ensure to meet their requirements.)
Families can also be referred by any of the local statutory agencies suchas GPs, CAMs, Schools and nurseries, healthcare, social care, Adviza and youth advisory services etc… whether your contacting us on behalf of a client/patient or just curious about our service and wish to work with us just pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01280 824871
I’ve left a message but haven’t heard back, help?
First, please accept our apologies for any delays. We have recently lost a few of our long term volunteers/trustees along with some big grants forcing us to reduce the amount of hours spent on admin. We are sadly another underfunded, overstretched charity doing the best we can with the resources and man hours we have available.
We ask if you can be as patient as possible, and ensure you give us all your contact info by phone and email so we can be sure to get in touch quickly.
I would like to volunteer, how do i apply?
We have a number of year round roles involved at all levels our our charity including openings for trustees. We welcome abled and disabled volunteers aswell as provide volunteering opportunities for all ages and abilities.
We are always on the lookout for help in the garden and kitchen as well as help with social media and maintenance of our website. Take a look on our volunteer page and apply using the form provided.
Please ensure you book with us if you wish to attend any of our sessions or you will be turned away. We are now running reduced group sizes of upto 2 slots per session onsite with 2-4 slots available alongside via zoom.
If you are interested in registering your child to participate any of our activity clubs, we will require you to complete a registration form which can be done over the phone on 01280 824871.
Please make sure you like our Facebook page as we post all service updates. If you have a change in contact details during your child’s time at Clearly Speaking, please get in touch ASAP so we can update our records.