What is PACSO?
PACSO (the Parents and Carers Support Organisation) is a unique locally based charity, covering Bognor Regis, Arun and Chichester areas. It provides recreational opportunities to disabled children and their able-bodied siblings, and so giving short term breaks to them and their families.
Inclusion is the main ethos of PACSO. Children and young people with disabilities often find it difficult to be a part of ‘mainstream’ clubs and activities. This can be for a variety of reasons, but is often because staff lack the experience and training to deal with people who have special or additional needs.
In West Sussex we are fortunate that the founders of PACSO saw this, and set out to ensure that the person comes before their disability. Now at PACSO, you will find children of all ages and all disabilities (physical, learning and behavioural) playing together, making friends and having fun. What’s more, they also understand the special role that brothers and sisters play, and in fact, call them ‘young carers’ because of the important job that they do, and they ensure to include them in the fun!
PACSO has grown considerably over the past ten years, and from humble beginnings as a small support group for parents and carers of disabled children. In 2009/10 they offered play activities to 178 children, and core activities now include:
• After School clubs during term time
• Monthly Saturday morning club in Bognor Regis
• Saturday morning creative clubs in Chichester
• Saturday afternoon sports clubs for older children/ teenagers in Chichester
• Weekly SNAP meetings in Littlehampton
• Easter Play Days across two venues
• Christmas Play Days across two venues
• Summer Playscheme weeks across two venues
• One-to-one Buddy Scheme supporting 30 children per week, with pick-up from around Bognor Regis and Arun
• Monthly coffee morning for parents and carers
Many of these clubs are free to our members.
In addition to the aims laid down by the government initiative Every Child Matters, PACSO’s aim is for activities to result in skills that bestow self esteem, confidence and happiness. Many parents can testify to the real value of these sessions as their children take their newly-acquired skills back into their homes and schools.
Annual PACSO membership costs £25. Only members will be able to send their children to PACSO events. Members will also be provided with a DVD which demonstrates what PACSO provides for carers and children. Members are regularly kept up to date with activities via our termly newsletters and regular mail outs.
To find out ways in which you can help PACSO, or benefit by becoming a member, you can find them online, or register by downloading the membership form on their website: www.pacso.org.uk, or you can call the PACSO Office for an application pack on: 01243 533353.