A boy holds a practitioner's hand as he walks

‘All Aboard’

Norfolk and Norwich SEND Association (Nansa) provides lifelong care, support and advice to people with learning, physical and sensory disabilities and their families and carers across Norfolk. For over 60 years Nansa’s highly skilled and dedicated team has provided a variety of services from the moment they are needed.

During the lockdown, their service users praised their essential support and reiterated how much they relied on Nansa’s services. Moving to online, telephone, and socially distanced models of working, Nansa continued providing their excellent support throughout the pandemic. The closure of their charity shops, however, led to a temporarily reduced income stream which caused a shortfall in their budget. Nansa was able to successfully apply for a grant from the Norfolk Community Foundation to plug the gap in the running costs of their ‘All Aboard’ project.

‘All Aboard’ provides direct developmental support for children with disabilities, and also offers behavioural and emotional support tailored to the needs of the family as a whole, including siblings. The course, delivered over multiple sessions, aims to increase the child’s concentration levels as well as increase communication for children and their parents by dealing with social barriers and improving the development of the child’s social skills.

Through lockdown, Nansa moved the programme online and delivered resource packs to families to continue providing support to children and their families, making the transition back to face-to-face sessions easier. Over 50 young people, parents and their siblings benefitted from the programme. The Norfolk Community Foundation grant provided a lifeline to keep the project afloat while alternative funding was secured. Nansa hopes that the success of their programme will encourage greater provision at the county level.

A girl plays with a practitioner. The practitioner holds a cloth and engages with the laughing girl.

Ted’s story

A young boy plays with a balloon with a practitioner

At the start of the programme, Ted had limited periods of engagement, and this was only when he was given something he liked, such as posting balls or small items to explore, very much on his terms and frequently wandering off to access something to climb or bounce on, or taking his items over to a quiet corner. By session 9, he was able to remain fully focused even in the presence of the additional children and began acting as a role model. Despite a 3 month’s hiatus during the lockdown, Ted was able to resume progress, as the family had been given resources to continue the activities at home. They were able to access support and feedback remotely from the practitioners, including videos. This meant that Ted remained familiar with the activity and was able to resume sessions at the Family Centre quite easily. Ted is now anticipating the session from the moment the whiteboard is drawn on and the bucket produced, staying focused and taking part in the last stages of the programme. More recently Ted has started to be more vocal, and Nansa will be supporting this development over the coming weeks.


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