Children Learn Circus Skills At Parent Carers Event

Around twenty islands’ youngsters who have special medical or education needs spent yesterday lunchtime learning circus skills, including juggling and stilt walking.

The event was organised by the Parent Carers group, which was formed four years ago by Vicki Smith as a local response to a national initiative.

As well as putting on occasional events for the kids, the group brings parents of kids with special needs together to share knowledge, advice and for mutual support.

Mel Downie says the group makes a real difference to her and her family. She says her son has additional needs but her other children want to come along and participate as well.

She says the group has provided a huge amount of advice and support for her and the kids really enjoy the meetings, especially yesterday’s where they get to have a go at new activities.

From Radio Scilly

Hear our report on the session from Radio Scilly

You might assume that, with our closed-knit community, parents could easily talk with other mums and dads about their kids’ special needs without the need for a formal group.

But Mel says it can be quite difficult to talk openly about the problems she faces and says the group gives her a chance to talk privately with people who have experienced the same issues.

At yesterday’s session, circus skills trainer Ali Oops taught the children how to stilt walk and juggle and she was delighted that the youngsters said they’d continue with the skills they picked up.

Grant funding for the Parent Carers group comes directly from the Department for Education and the group is independent of the Council, but they work closely with the Children’s Services Department.

And Vicki says the group does well from its funding allocation with plenty of volunteers helping to keep the service going.