Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Enlightening is a small Community Interest Company based in Rochdale, an area of which 28% of the neighbourhoods are in the top 10% of the most deprived in England. For over 5 years we have pioneered a unique, creative approach to supporting children and young people with disabilities (mostly Autism) to overcome obstacles and to reach their potential. We don’t pigeon-hole our clients we treat every individual according to their particular needs. We receive referrals from Mind and Healthy Young Minds because we have an innovative and versatile approach which makes us extremely accessible.

We use an holistic and person-centred approach which enables children to access proven therapeutic interventions. Our members can access therapies including the Bowen Technique, Reflexology, Reiki, Counselling, Intensive Interaction and the Far Infrared Sauna alongside individual and group creative arts sessions. These have produced a variety of benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, reduced muscular tension, better social interaction, increased receptiveness, improved sleep patterns, enhanced motor control, better concentration and improved general health.

In 2012 utilising a bespoke combination of creative and therapeutic interventions we developed and successfully implemented our SuperKids project initially funded through Rochdale MBC Short Breaks for Children With Disabilities. Changes to commissioning in 2016 led to a temporary gap in provision but with funding from Trusthouse Charitable Foundation the group (now called Bright Young Things) attended performances and workshops by professional artists and are working towards a recognised accreditation (Arts Award). We offer after-school sessions (individual and group) 3 days per week. Some of the older children completed our Volunteer Training programme in August 2016 and now support the younger group sessions.

To date over 200 children and young people have benefited from SuperKids however, due to specific commissioning criteria there are many children and young people we have met who are not able to access the project, these include siblings of children with disabilities, children in care and those who do not have a formal diagnosis of disability but who are struggling to manage in mainstream settings. This group can often end up marginalised because they do not fit a particular category and therefore do not ‘qualify’ for support yet in our experience there is an obvious need.

We want to revive the SuperKids model for this target group (Viva SuperKids) and incorporate our Volunteer Training programme adding value and longevity to the project. Through taking part in Viva SuperKids our SuperKids turn in to SuperTeens and therefore are far more likely to become Super Adults.

Many of our young people who are siblings of children with disabilities have expressed an interest in Health and Social Care as a career because they have more of an understanding. Our Volunteer Training programme gives these young people valuable experience and a head start when applying for college courses or jobs. For children and young people in care taking part in Viva SuperKids can provide them with valuable social interaction with their peers that can be "normalising" as they relate to each other and discover and explore their common issues as opposed to their differences. We find the children and young people who do not have a diagnosis to have the most need when they first come to us. It can be devastating to feel you don’t ‘fit in’, Viva SuperKids will enable these young people to realise out how great they really are and also the value in helping others.

Backing from Aviva of £10,000 would enable Enlightening to expand this service to offer up to 30 places per week to siblings, children in care and those without formal diagnoses.We have a team of highly skilled, experienced and qualified staff, we have recognised a need and we are ready to deliver this project now.

Autism Empowerment UK CIC - Trading as Enlightening

Moment of Pride

The dedication of the staff & volunteers at Enlightening is amazing. The children & young people who come to the project and face their fears by challenging themselves are amazing. The dedicated parents who also face their fears and challenge themselves are amazing. There is so much to be proud of!

Location: Rochdale, United Kingdom