KIDS at 50

Welcome to KIDS’ 50th Anniversary

For 50 years, KIDS has worked alongside disabled children, young people and their families.

We’ve directly helped many thousands of children and young people, supported their families and worked creatively to provide support in the way that’s right for each individual We’re delighted to share examples of our achievements over five decades; stories from families we’ve supported, young people who have used our services, trustees who have guided our work and staff who have dedicated their working lives to championing the needs of disabled children.

We have a gallery showcasing some of the events we’ve organised and from some of our services over the years, messages of support, and a timeline (coming soon) illustrating a snapshot of some of our achievements in each of the decades.

As the anniversary year progresses we will be adding more content so please do check back regularly. And if you spot a gap or have a story to share we’d love to hear from you!

Matthew was supported by KIDS from the age of 3 until he was 19 accessing various services from KIDS South including nursery, Saturday club and youth club. His mum Dawn writes about his long journey with KIDS and how she is now part of the KIDS team, supporting families just like hers.

Born prematurely

"I became involved with KIDS in July 2004 after our son, Matthew, was born six weeks prematurely on 30th June 2000, weighing 4llb 3oz.  Initially he did really well and was only in intensive care for one week. However after coming out of hospital, he never really settled down, would cry for hours on end, and struggled feeding.  He had a hernia operation at the age of 6 weeks old, which at the time was the one of the hardest things we have ever had to deal with.  Having to hand over your tiny 4llb screaming baby to a surgeon was traumatic.  Little did we know at the time that this was only the beginning of a long term relationships with hospitals and surgery’s this was the first of many. Matthew is 20 years old and has undergone 11 different operations, on his eyes, ears and knees.

Tough first few years

Matthew had a tough first few years,  found it hard meeting his milestones and struggled with his speech.  He eventually stopped crying and became our silent little warrior.  He would just look around at the world with a look of confusion.  He underwent many tests in hospital, including brain, heart and kidney scans.  Matthew was having trouble with his vision, and had to wear glasses, and was on antibiotics quite a lot due to persistent ear infections as well as burst ear drums. His speech was severely delayed, and the consultants were unsure if it was his hearing that was hindering his speech or his processing and understanding. 

Finding KIDS

When Matthew was about 3.5yrs old I was talking to a friend about my concerns on how he would ever be able to cope attending pre-school and then further on in mainstream school.  My friend asked me if I had heard of KIDS, as she knew someone whose child had attended the nursery and thought they may be able to help.  I had never heard of them but after some research I found their local family centre in Fareham, and called them up and asked if I could get some advice.  This was beginning of our families’ journey with KIDS. 

The perfect service

We were introduced to Matthew’s keyworker, Rosie and Matthew started attending the nursery three mornings per week. Within a short space of time we could see a difference in his progress.  They put a schedule in place and Rosie gave advise on how to use this at home with him.  He started speech and language therapy and starting mixing with the other children.   Matthew bonded with Rosie, and it was such a relief to know that I was leaving him with someone that fully understood he needs and wanted him to succeed.  He was having fun!At this point Matthew was still undiagnosed, and Rosie supported us right up to the point that Matthew had to leave the nursery and attend school.   Matthew went to a mainstream infant school.

Joining the KIDS team

During Matthew’s last term at KIDS nursery, a job opportunity arose for a part-time administrator within the family centre. My background had always been administration and the positive experience I had with KIDS, I applied joined the KIDS team in July 2004. Since then both Matthew and I have been fully involved with KIDS. 

Finally getting a diagnosis

Matthew struggled at primary school, he was behind everyone in his class and spent his days looking confused.  His speech regressed and he became quiet and under confident. 
It’s not very often that you can go into work place and talk about your problems and have a whole group of people understand and give you advice.  We eventually got a diagnosis for Matthew which is a rare Chromosome disorder called Distell Deletion 22q. It means he is missing a large amount of genes from his 22nd chromosome.  Unfortunately the genetics team do not have enough information on this disorder to know fully how this will effect Matthew and his future.  He has a learning disability, issues with his knees, and they are also keeping an eye out for any abnormal growths on Matthew’s spine.

Growing up with KIDS

Matthew went on to attend a special school, and then a residential college to gain independence and life skills.  Throughout all of this time from age 4 to 19years old, KIDS has been there.  After leaving the nursery Matthew attended KIDS Saturday fun clubs, holiday schemes, youth club, and cooking clubs. He has also been away on residential trips and had some of the best experiences ever.  Every session, trip and group he has attended has always been delivered with such skill and compassion from every member of staff.  They have all loved Matthew and he has built some great bonds with the staff members, especially Vicki and Corniche.  He has made friends and grown from a little boy to a young man with KIDS along the way.

Supporting families like mine

Matthew would not be where he is today without all of the help, support and encouragement that KIDS gave to us as a family.  I am proud to work for KIDS and to have built up my career during this time, from a part-time administrator to the Care Support Coordinator.  My experiences with Matthew help me to relate to the families that I support. If I can support any family the way that my family has been supported then that’s my job done!!

Matthew has now stopped receiving KIDS support but has 16years of very happy KIDS memories to look back on.

Thank you."