Aiming High for Disabled Children Capital Proposal â€“ Netherton Inclusive Activity Centre
Transforming Short Breaks Services In Sefton A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO NEEDS AND PROVISION 1.0
Background and Rationale
The purpose of this report is to provide background information on the development of Short Break opportunities for disabled children and young people in Sefton. More specifically the report identifies how the council intends utilise the £558,700 Aiming High for Disabled Children Capital Allocation in order to redress gaps in provision identified by stakeholders.
Needs assessment / consultation
Sefton’s Transforming Short Break Programme commenced with a lengthy, and ongoing, consultation process, involving partners, carers, children, young people and service provides. The purpose of this process was to identify the needs of the target group and to identify gaps in provision. As a result of this process, a number of priorities were identified, which are detailed within the “Consultation Summary Document” and Service Delivery Plan. Extracts of these documents are contained within this report and full copies are attached as Appendices A&B.
To ensure the ongoing involvement of parents, carers and children and young people, a Parent and Carers Forum and a Young People’s Forum have been established and will be actively involved in shaping short breaks services.
Priorities / Gaps in provision.
A significant theme highlighted in the Consultation Summary Document is inclusion. The majority of stakeholders expressed a desire for their needs to be catered for by universal settings, provided that they are adequately equipped to cater for their needs.
Whilst a significant amount of progress has been made in Sefton, in terms of making universal community facilities more accessible, both prior to and following the introduction of AHDC, there remains a considerable amount of work to be done.
The following quotes have been extracted from the Consultation Summary Document: -
The majority of respondents would like to do more sport and leisure, arts and culture activities.
The majority parents would access universal services if the appropriate equipment and specialist-trained staff were available.
Opportunities available for disabled children to interact with non-disabled children of their own age or to have sibling involvement.
Support workers and or family/carer involvement in activities to enable bonding and mutual support.
Flexible services in terms of where and when they are provided, i.e. in appropriate play settings, at the weekend and in the evening etc.
More co-located services in the community to improve access.
Children with challenging behaviour are often excluded from accessing mainstream services.
Specialist equipment, such as hoists and wheelchairs, available at mainstream activities with suitably trained staff to offer assistance.
The Proposal - Netherton Inclusive Community Activity Centre
In order to redress some of the gaps identified by stakeholders, Sefton Council has committed 5.2 M to enable the construction of inclusive community leisure and short breaks facility. The Netherton Inclusive Community Activity Centre will provide a fully inclusive centre where families with disabled children can visit and participate in a host of activities individually or as a family. Contained within the facility will be a Sensory Play Centre including a light room , dark room and soft play facility along side a Library, CafĂŠ, CrĂ¨che, Youth Centre, Fitness Studio, Arts Centre, Outdoor Inclusive Play Area, Sport Hall and Grass Pitches.
The addition of a Sensory Play Centre will not only offer a stimulating, interactive, varied and safe environment where disabled children and adults can participate in creative learning and play, but will enable families to have a short break from their caring responsibilities whilst accessing a host of leisure activities or support services independently.
The concept of such a development is designed to enable the whole family to enjoy leisure and recreation without the need for specialist provision or childcare services.
Also located within the facility will be a team of 10 Positive Futures Development Officers, responsible for the provision of both specialist and inclusive short breaks opportunities for children with disabilities, ranging from those with mild to moderate disabilities to those with complex needs and challenging behaviour. This team will be responsible for the operation of the sensory play centre, together with the programming of the facility to ensure that disabled children make full use off all facilities, primarily during the evenings, weekends and school holidays.
Physical Access All facilities and services within the new building will be DDA compliant. In addition, the Disabled Childrenâ€™s Team Occupational Therapist will liase
with the design team to ensure that the facility is compatible with the needs of the AHDC Target Group. 5.2
Public Transport and Local Road Networks The centre is easily accessible by public transport and is located close to all major local and regional road networks including the M58 and M57. It is also close to a wide range of shops and community facilities including Iceland and Somerfield within walking distance and Asda and Aldi in less than five minutes drive for those who wish utilise such amenities whilst there child is at the facility.
Feasibility / Demand / CBA
Within Merseyside there are limited number sensory play environments, most of which are located in special needs schools. The nearest community facilities offering day, evening and weekend and holiday use by families in Merseyside are situated in Preston, Lancashire and Macclesfield, Cheshire. At present, service providers, schools and parents use these facilities extensively, however due to the distance, cost and limited facility availability, accessing these facilities is a major undertaking.
The lack of local facilities prompted a group of parents to produce a detailed feasibility study and business plan for such a facility. Analysis of the research identified significant need and demand for a sensory play centre which will cater for children and young people, offering specialist play for those with disabilities.
Having established both the need and the demand, the parents submitted project proposals to the Cabinet Member and Strategic Director for Children Services for consideration. The outcome of these discussions, together with the findings detailed within the AHDC Consultation Summary document, prompted the proposal to build a sensory play centre at Netherton.
Linkages with neighbouring authorities
Sefton MBC is one of six Local Authorities within Merseyside. It is also bordered by West Lancs, with easy access to Wigan and St Helens M.B.Câ€™s via the M58 motorway. It is intended that the Netherton Inclusive Community Activity Centre would be utilised by residents and service providers from neighbouring Authorities. Moreover the Positive Futures Short Breaks Development Team would proactively promote the facility to colleague across the LA boundaries via the AHDC Network.
Plans / Designs
Plans and designs for the building are included in Appendix 3
Links to Delivery Plan and Sefton Vision
Seftonâ€™s Delivery Plan contains four strategic Programme Objectives. These objectives are based upon the priorities identified by stakeholders and are in keeping with the guidance set by TDC. These objectives are to : -
Base Service provision on the needs of all eligible disabled children & young people and their families
Significantly increasing the volume and range of Short Breaks.
Improve access to Short Breaks.
Improve the quality of Short Breaks.
Each of the these objectives are supported by a number of actions which are contained within the Service Delivery plan referred to within section 2.1
9.3 The Netherton Inclusive Community Activity Centre is designed to address theses objectives and in doing so address the priorities identified by stakeholders in section 3.0
TDC Capital Guidance
The proposals detailed within this report are in keeping with the Short Breaks Capital Programme Guidance issued by Together for Disabled Children, which encourages local authorities to:-
Explore the development of partnerships with other departments in the local authority such as education, housing play and leisure to maximise impact..
Pool resources with other departments in the local authority such as housing, play and leisure to maximise impact of capital spend.
Wherever appropriate, link short break capital programme planning in to local area capital programme funding.
Tendering, Procurement and Contracting
The facility will be procured in accordance with the Councils tendering, procurement and Contracting procedures
In addition to funding the construction of the facility, Sefton Council has committed to providing the ongoing revenue budget required to pay for the operation and maintenance of all areas of the facility, including the sensory play centre and the Positive Futures Short Breaks Development Team.
Once complete, the facility and its contents will be removed from the Councils Capital Programme and placed upon its Asset Register. This register is managed by the Strategic Asset Management Group whose role is to oversee the operation, maintenance and replacement of Capital Assets.
The total cost of the facility is ÂŁ5.2 m, ÂŁ400,00 of which will cover the costs of accommodating and equipping the Sensory Play Centre.
Whilst the figure £558,700 is in keeping with Sefton’s total AHDC Capital Allocation, the council has elected not to use its entire allocation for this purpose, in keeping with TDC Guidance.
13.3 Sefton proposes to utilise £ 400,000 capital for the purposes of the Sensory play centre leaving approx £158,700 to enable further capital projects to be implemented, for which similar proposals will be prepared. 13.4 The impact of this investment on range of short breaks available can be seen in the projected figures for 2011/12: School Holidays: 800 visits, 4800 hours over an 8 week period. After school: 3500 visits, 7000 hours over a 35 week period. Weekends: 1920 visits, 15360 hours over a 48 week period. Under 5’s: 700 visits, 1400 hours over a 35 week period. Evening Youth Clubs: 2160 visits, 4320 hours over a 48 week period. 14.0
Risk / Deliverability
The proposed development forms part of Sefton Council’s Capital Programme. It has been identified by the Strategic Asset Management Group, Chaired by the Assistant Chief Executive Officer, as a key strategic priority.
All resources required to enable the construction of the facility are secured - subject to TDC sign off .
Planning permission has been granted.
The Leisure Director will oversee the client project management function.
The Technical Services Director will oversee the procurement and construction function.
The Cabinet Members for Leisure Services and Children’s Services ratified the proposal on the 15th September 2009.
Architects have been appointed and tenders are due to be sought in October 2009.
The facility will commence construction in May 10 and be fully operation in January 2011.
With the exception of the Council withdrawing its support for the proposal, there is no risk of the development not taking place.
Jakeâ€™s Sensory World Business Plan
"Jakes Business Plan 16.7.09.doc"
Please note the attached business plan was written as a separate proposal to the Local Authority and their concept has now been incorporated to form an integral part of the Netherton Activity Centre development. Therefore the final sections on Business Operations and Financial Operations are no longer relevant. Please refer to this document for those details. Jakeâ€™s Sensory World board are now part of the management committee for the Netherton Activity Centre and will help shape the development of the project.