Children, young people and their families will benefit from continued support from a local voluntary sector organisation after they were awarded a new three-year contract by Solihull Council to provide short breaks for children with disabilities.
After a competitive tendering process Social Life Opportunities (SoLO) will commence their new contract in September 2022. Their service will provide group activities for children and young people who can’t access mainstream activities due to the nature of their disabilities and support needs, after school, in the evening, on weekends and during the school holidays.
Solihull Council has a statutory duty to provide short breaks for children and young people with disabilities, the main aims are to provide them with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents/carers, relax and have fun with their friends, and develop their independence.
It also gives families the chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities, rest and unwind, and spend time with other family members.
The Council currently commissions SoLO to provide this service so people won’t see major changes once the new contract comes into effect. However, SoLO do plan to work with children, young people and families to design the new service which will be in place by October half term.
Councillor Michael Gough, Cabinet Member for Children & Education, said: “We are delighted to award this contract to SoLO who we know already provide a brilliant service to children, young people and their families. Giving children and young people the opportunity to get involved in activities is so important and we know how valued it is by them and their parents/carers. We look forward to continuing to work with SoLO and seeing the benefits their service brings.”
Solihull Parent Carer Voice have worked closely with the Council throughout the tender process, seeking views from children, young people and families and helping to shape the service specification.
They said: “We are delighted to have been a part of the tender process and are pleased that this process has been undertaken listening to the feedback and views of parent carers and children and young people. We look forward to a new and exciting offer from Social Life Opportunities.”
Lesley Beer, CEO of Social Life Opportunities added: “We are excited to continue working with Solihull Council and families/carers to deliver a vital service to the children and young people of the borough. The importance of continuing service under this contract has significant impact on the provisions for children and young people with learning and other disabilities to ensure varied opportunities and inclusivity for all, and we look forward to working with partners to shape this future.”