About Flag GrimsbyFLAG is a registered charity which has been in existence for more than fifteen years and the aim is to provide recreational activities for children from age four to twenty one plus who have a range of disabilities and special needs. We strive to do our very best to meet the needs of the individual. Our aim is to enrich their lives by providing recreational activities, developing social and independence skills and empowering them to play a rightful place in the community.
Children with disabilities have additional needs and the aim of FLAG is to provide them with a safe and supported environment where they can meet and play with their friends and develop recreational and independence skills. These activities take place at Strand Street School under the care and supervision of qualified and experienced staff. Many of the children attending FLAG have very complex medical, emotional and behavioural needs and the activities are aimed at meeting these needs. These children come from Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham; we accept referrals from the children themselves, parents/carers, the local authority or other outside agencies.
Some of our staff have professional qualifications but all are encouraged to continue to study and aim for the highest possible qualifications. These staff are managed by the Manager who has over 20 years experience working with special needs children.
To the best of our knowledge FLAG is unique, we are not aware of any other organisation in the area that provides a similar service therefore the demand for these specialist services is high.
As you would expect we are controlled and monitored by specialist agencies such as OFSTED which carries out regular inspections, all members of staff and the committee are subject CRB checks and of course we have to report regularly to the council.
So how do we do it.The club is open each Saturday during term time and up to four days a week in the holidays. Parents/carers bring the children to Strand Street School. Where the children are divided into age groups and then a club leader organises the staff and the activities. Out of term time we organise away days. These have included Flamingo Land, York Railway Museum, North York Moors railway Pickering to Whitby. Some children had never been on a train, some of them were twelve or thirteen years of age. The children have also been taken by bus to town and taken around the shops. During the days at the club we have various activities including art, sports, computers, board games and cookery. Some children have their birthday parties at flag as they have never had a party at home because of the difficulties of looking after the needs of other special needs children. Please look at the photographs and the video and I am sure you will see what FLAG means to these children.
If FLAG did not exist these children would face total social exclusion and be totally reliant on their parents/guardians, the local authority would be unable to meet the demands of the children and their parents/guardians. When you see the video you will see what FLAG means to the parents of these children and the value they put on it.
If I can give you one example of the value of the service we provide, a couple have a severely disabled child who they bring to FLAG each Saturday morning. This allows the husband and wife to have breakfast together. This may not sound much but can you imagine what it means if that is the only time they can have together.
Now we come to the bit that always crops up, Money.All our staff are paid due to the complex nature of the work. They administer medication, tube feed if necessary and look after all personal care. We have to pay for the use of the school. Other costs include insurance, hire of coaches, office rent, professional fees which includes accountants, registration fees and numerous other costs.
Where does the money come from?We get an annual grant from the local authority but this is not guaranteed and we have to apply for it.
Parents pay a sum for each Saturday but if they cannot afford it we would not refuse the child and they also pay towards the cost of away days. We rely on fund raising, donations and charity and we are very grateful to the various organisations who have supported the work FLAG does. But as with many other organisations money is always tight.