Expanding our support for 500 more young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

December 12th, 2023

Over the next nine months we are going to provide opportunities for more than 500 disabled and neurodivergent young people.

We have been supporting young people facing various disadvantages since our charity started, and recently we have started to develop and expand our offer for young people with special educational need and disabilities (SEND).

This expansion has been as a result of recognising the significant barriers that disabled young people are facing. For example, on a typical Saturday, young people with a learning disability describe spending on average only one hour outside of their home. 

One of these programmes is the SEND Local Offer Social Action, which will support disabled and neurodivergent young people aged 11-20 to take part in social action.

Young people will be able to access support on a rolling basis, enabling them to lead positive change in their communities as and when they need it most. We anticipate being able to enable over 300 young people in Manchester to experience social action through this programme, which it hopes will go some way in tackling the discrimination and mistreatment that over half of disabled people in the UK report experiencing.

The other new programme is the MCR Buddies, an innovative partnership programme supporting disabled young people aged 16-25 to access all that Manchester has to offer. With one in three disabled people in the UK describing themselves as often having difficulty in accessing public spaces, this will provide a fantastic means by which young people can be supported to engage with their community in a positive and meaningful way.

Working across Manchester’s vibrant arts, culture, sports and voluntary sectors, the partnership will develop a Manchester-focussed programme where peer-aged volunteers will support and empower disabled young people to access and meaningfully participate in diverse activities in the city. This programme is aiming to support 200 young people with SEND who will have access to regular activities.

Alongside these new programmes, we are growing our Travel Training support programme, enabling more young people to access public transport to get to their desired location and access social provision.

Only one in four respondents to the Greater Manchester Big Disability Survey 2022 said that they were able to travel to everywhere they wanted to go, so for young disabled people in Manchester who rely on public transport, this programme could be life-changing.

We will also provide more youth voice opportunities. Through our SEND Changemakers programme we will support more young people to have an active voice in their community and make positive change for themselves and other young people. The group won ‘Most Effective Youth Voice Group’ at the Manchester Youth Buzz Awards this year, and are excited to continue to develop and expand the work that they are doing across the city.

If you’d like more information about the programmes we offer for disabled and neurodiverse young people, please see more information here.

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