Unique Kidz and Co is an award winning disabled charity based in Lancaster, Lancashire UK. The charity was formed in 2009 by Denise Armer and Jane Haplin, two mothers of special needs children. Denise Armer has a son, 12 who is autistic and has severe learning disabilities. Denise told Autism Daily Newscast that, “he is what set me off on this journey”.
The services provided by the charity include an after school and holiday club which are for disabled children and their siblings Talking exclusively to Autism Daily Newscast, co-founder Denise Armer told us,
“We have 130 children on our register at the moment and I would say that at least 70% if not more are on the autistic spectrum or have ASD traits. “
The charity has now out-grown the facilities on offer at the Loyne School where it is currently based and the charity has now been given the go-ahead for a new centre of excellence at Lancaster Leisure Park. The new building was approved by Lancaster Council’s Planning officers on 4th July 2013.
Denise Armer explains:
“We are absolutely delighted that we have been given the go-ahead. We know from experience that there is a lack of facilities and opportunities in Lancashire for disabled children and their families and that demand is very high and we hope that with the new centre we will be able to meet this demand.”
The new purpose built building will allow the charity to expand their holiday and after school provisions as well as offering new services such as an inclusive nursery, sensory room, outdoor specialist play and meeting rooms to provide training and support groups for families.The quality of its services has been recognised nationally, with its childcare provisions rated as outstanding by OFSTED in 2010.
The charity has won many awards, including an Enterprise Vision Award (EVA) for New Business (2012), Selnet (the Lancashire Social Enterprise body) Small Social Enterprise Award (2012), and the North West Social Enterprise (SENW) Small Social Enterprise Award (2013).
Jane Halpin, Co-Founder says:
“The new centre has been designed to meet the charity’s requirements exactly and we are very excited about the opportunities this will enable us to provide. Ultimately our aim to become a national charity offering the highest quality childcare and social opportunities to disabled children and their families across the UK and this is our first step to achieving this.”
Parent testimonials include,
“What would we do without you all? Everyone is so lovely, friendly and dedicated to the children.”
“Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful service; I don’t honestly know what we would do without you.”