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!

Theresa, a mother to a severely disabled son,  helped to establish KIDS Orchard Centre and later became part of our Board of Trustees.

How I became part of KIDS

"I am a parent carer, my husband Martyn is an optician, our older son Anthony is now married with a son of his own, and our other son John-Luke who is severely disabled is now living in a lovely adult residential care home in the West Midlands about 15 minutes drive away.

I first became aware of KIDS when I applied for the job of Information Officer and was in that role for 7 years.  I got to know how caring all the staff were and we always worked together as a team so that even when equipment and things were not quite going to plan, as they sometimes do, we always made sure that families received a good service and that their disabled children always had access to play and leisure. Having a disabled child and working for a disabled children’s charity you soon learn that there’s no perfect solution, but there is always a solution of some kind.

Often disabled children have less chances of accessing services, especially in play and leisure, but KIDS’ staff often showed other professionals, services, and parents how it really is possible for a disabled child to have access to services and how to make other less accessible services more accessible, how to find those solutions! KIDS often did outreach work to train staff, talk to other professionals and do presentations raising awareness of disabilities at those bigger disability events like Kidz to Adultz. 

That’s why I always saw KIDS as a ‘treasure chest’, waiting to be opened and explored and to find all those exciting possibilities!

Helping to establish KIDS Orchard Centre

The KIDS Orchard Centre came about when The Orchard Partnership, a group of Dudley parents, who had a vision of having an accessible centre for disabled children in Dudley, joined together with KIDS and succeeded in gaining Lottery funding for 3 years.  Together they started the KIDS Orchard Centre in Dudley. 

The Orchard Partnership, having become a small charity themselves, continued supporting the centre and disabled children in Dudley through fundraising locally and applying for smaller pots of funding.

As parents moved on to other services and into adult services, there were no parents available to take on the roles of chair or trustees, so I eventually took on the role of chair of The Orchard Partnership that continued for a few more years.  Not easy when you are a carer yourself and working as well, even if only part-time. 

Sadly The Orchard Partnership has now closed but has left the continuing legacy of the KIDS Orchard Centre, which I hope will continue in one form or another for years to come. 

Becoming part of KIDS’ Board

After 7 years working for KIDS I had to move on myself from working as my son needed more support due to all his complex needs (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, visual impairment, learning disability, feeding problems, inability to walk or to talk, 17q12 microduplication).  There were too many meetings to attend, not just appointments but also raising awareness at other health and social care meetings or events.   

But I still continued my link with KIDS by becoming a Trustee and Non Executive Director for KIDS, attending regular meetings in London.  Some of the Trustees were also parents themselves of disabled children and everyone had various skills that they used to contribute to making all meetings and resolutions as professional as they could be.  I could see at those meetings, and from their discussions and points raised, that the Trustees were always passionate and really did care for disabled children, and we always tried to find solutions to any problems.

The Chair and Trustees always valued my opinions as a parent carer myself and from my background as both employee and as a parent carer, and having liaised with many professionals in Dudley, I could represent a wider range of families and raise some of the different issues that sometimes arose. 

I have now had to move on like previous parents but I hope that the KIDS continues and listens to their parent carers and families and that they provide that additional useful link with professionals, raising awareness of our families’ needs around play and leisure.  I know that KIDS is a treasure chest that still has a lot more to offer and explore for families of disabled children and young people. Long may it continue for as long as it is needed!”