We have all been working incredibly hard at Swings & Smiles to carry on providing support, friendship and play to those who need us during the Coronavirus crisis. Closing the centre has meant we've had to completely rethink how we can do this best. So far we have:

  • Provided over 313 hours of support to children with special needs and their families

  • Held 17 different types of sessions online - including 8 groups that run weekly

  • Had 112 one to one Zoom calls with families

  • Supported 57 children with SEND, 52 siblings and 72 parents across more than 98 families as well as 1 care home

  • Delivered Easter eggs to 60 families and care packs to 70 parents and siblings

  • Created a new wellbeing app for parents, launching next week

However, it would usually cost £360,000 to run Swings & Smiles for just one year and we're very aware that for every month that we are shut we are unable to bring in the income we need to do this. We have no income from visitors or hirers at the centre and fundraising opportunities like events and corporate support have either been cancelled or postponed until further notice. We estimate that for every month Swings & Smiles is shut we will lose approximately £6500 in income which, for a small charity like ours, has big impact.

The charity has taken the decision not to furlough any of our staff as they are vital in providing the essential support that children with disabilities and their families require whilst facing very challenging circumstances. We hope to continue providing this support remotely for as long as we need to, and to be there with our full range of usual services for families when we're able to reopen the centre. Here's what some families had to say about the support they've received from our team over the last month:

"The opening up of the virtual sessions was fantastic. K has missed Music Club more than anything else. By making some of her routine available again, this is key to what we need."

"We are amazed and so grateful that the Swings & Smiles staff have adapted so well in these difficult times and are doing everything they can to help families such as ours as much as possible. Thank you to you all."

“I think you are doing fabulous things for us all. I very much appreciate the contact you have made to me to just check we are ok."

"I think it's great that you all still work so hard to help and support everyone and their families through these challenging times. So thank you, you are all truly amazing"

Here's how you can help. We're asking for donations, of any size, to help us cover this shortfall and to ensure that Swings & Smiles can continue providing support, friendship and play to children with special needs and their families now, and when the time comes to reopen. Your donation will help to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on our charity, and make sure that our families can receive all the essential support they need.

Thank you, and hope to see you soon.

Find out more about how we're supporting families during the Coronavirus crisis