About Us

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Clearly Speaking has been around since 2001 working with hundreds of families and young people  in need.

We launched our first independent family centre in 2010, taking over the old caretakers house next door to Buckingham youth centre, making it the perfect spot for us being close to local schools and other youth services while being on the bus route.

Janet has directed Clearly for over 20 years with outstanding success.

We have grown strength to strength thanks to the hard work and dedicated of our volunteers and trustees. Least not forgetting our Project Director and Special Needs Consultant Janet Nicks who formed Clearly Speaking from her home and expanded Clearly into the charity it is today. Later forming sister charity Clearly Cool Clubs that house our specialist activities and clubs.

We specialise in providing both help and advice, with services and intervention for families living with special needs suchas Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Aspergers Syndrome and all associated difficulties like D.A.M.P, ADHD, specific learning issues like Dyslexia aswell as Torrettes

We Need Your Help!

We are Dedicated to improving the lives of families and young people who struggle with any level of special needs or disability.

We offer a range of practical, specialist clubs and activities alongside our advice, guidance and key worker intervention 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 work hard to address the inequality experienced by children and young people throughout their lives as they work hard to build social relationships and friendships.

We  provide opportunities for children, young people and their families to enjoy the feeling of belonging and of success whenever possible. The national shortage of provision across all statutory services and the subsequent strain on local charities and voluntary organisations suchas ours has seen our organisation grow very quickly.

Click here for info about our current services.

Covid-19 service changes

We will be reopening Clearly for August 2020 with reduced opening times and new outdoor activity groups for ages and abilities. We have worked hard to prepare the centre and have taken all necessary precautions recommended by the government. For the foreseeable future, all existing activity groups have been cancelled and we will be running outdoor based (when possible) specialist groups for smaller numbers during the week.

We are open with new reduced opening hours!

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. 

Volunteer with us

Janet Nicks, Our Project Director who just happens to be a Special Needs Consultant.

Our camera shy director, Janet Nicks is a parent of two (now grown adults) children, one with ADHD/ ODDe and Asperger’s Syndrome, while the other suffers with significant medical needs alongside ASD, Dyspraxia and learning difficulties. Both continue to receive help and support from Janet while they both also supported Janet to build the charitable organisation to benefit others who need essential guidance and support.

Janet has spent much of the time raising her children alone and at key points, with only state benefits as income.

It was for this reason she setup a charitable arm to the growing business. She feels that no child should be disadvantaged due to race, creed or their parent’s difficulty in accessing a high quality of advice and support due to financial or educational restraints.

Janet experienced first hand the anxiety and frustration fighting for diagnosis and resources to enable her children to make progress in all areas of their development. She has spent much time raising her children alone and at times, with only benefits as income.

Janet struggles with her own physical disabilities aswell as her long term battle with cancer. Now wheelchair bound making mobility a real struggle. Janet is an unstoppable force despite all that has been thrown at her.

Janet is determined not to allow her health to prevent her essential and life saving work in the community or the services many have come to reply on.

Either through her outreach work with other schools and services, or by the many programs or activities and clubs she has built up over 20 years, Janet continues to offer hundreds of families and young people respite and support where the system has failed them.

By having local access to the centre, it allows Janet to see families on a regular basis instead of travelling around the countryside which has become more challenging now she is reliant on taxis and volunteers to help her get around.

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