Ajaz.org is delighted to be working with Skylarks, a charity that provides support for children with additional needs. Everything about Skylarks is focused on children and the atmosphere here is bright, optimistic and supportive – understanding that all children want to have fun and feel safe, and that parents need a helping hand when days are tough.
Amy Crichton, a member of the team at Skylarks, sets out why this organisation is a such a very special place.
At Skylarks our vision is a world where children with additional needs can thrive.
We aspire to this vision by enabling every child and young person with additional needs to live their best life while supporting everyone whose lives they touch.
Skylarks provides a supportive and active community. We care for the whole family, providing opportunities to join in, develop and feel empowered. We want to remove the isolation that can be created for families and their children who have a disability or additional need. We are based in Richmond upon Thames, but have an open door policy. Anyone, from anywhere, is welcome!
Last year Skylarks supported over 600 families and the list is growing! Over the past 15 years, the organisation has continued to grow. We have expanded from first providing inclusive play sessions to now offering a wide range of therapies and services that are often otherwise inaccessible to families. These include services such as hydrotherapy, counselling, inclusive activities like drama and karate, and free advice for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Jamie, one of our parents, has three young children whom she is raising on her own. Her oldest child has a diagnosis of autism. Jamie contacted Skylarks during the early stages of lockdown looking for advice on where to turn as the pressures of full time support became overwhelming.
“I have found lockdown so isolating. But staff from Skylarks call me every week and it is so good to know that someone cares and understands. I take part in the Listening Space online support group once a week with the counsellor and two other parents when the children are in bed. It is amazing, it's the only zoom call I do with adults, as I have no time or other options. The parents involved with our session have all become friends. It’s the same people taking part each week, we’ve bonded over time, we’ve got similar challenges and are all going through this journey together. It has really given me a boost. Mandy the counsellor is amazing, really kind. I wouldn't have gotten through all this without Skylarks. Your counselling has helped me get through each week. Thank you.”
We support children ranging from newborn to 25 years of age. We support children with all disabilities and additional needs as well as their parents, carers and siblings. No one is turned away. Our families and children are all welcomed with open arms. We are a community.