TWO north Lancashire mums have been recognised for giving disabled children the opportunity to play and socialise and their parents a chance to have a break.
Friends Jane Halpin, from Bolton le Sands, and Denise Armer, from Warton, who both have children with special needs, have been handed an Enterprise Vision Award (EVA) for their vital work with charity Unique Kidz, which the pair set up in 2009.
The Carnforth-based charity is the first in Lancashire to offer after school and holiday childcare specifically for disabled children.
It now helps 130 disabled children, young people and their families and co-founder Jane Halpin, said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have won this award for our charity. Both myself and Denise had experienced severe difficulties and barriers when trying to find suitable childcare to allow us to take up work opportunities and with a clear need from other parents with disabled children, we decided to make a difference and open a childcare facility for disabled children ourselves.”
Unique Kidz and Co operates its services from the Loyne School in Lancaster and is run by a team of dedicated and professional childcare workers who are trained in special needs childcare.
The charity was awarded an ‘Outstanding’ OFSTED inspection report in 2010 and was rewarded for its work with a grant from Children in Need in 2011.
She added: “Establishing Unique Kidz and Co has been a very steep learning curve for us, with many hurdles to jump and setbacks along the way. It has also been wonderful and rewarding to know that the services we offer are absolutely life changing for many families. We are so proud of what we have achieved and winning an EVA award is the absolute icing on the cake for all the hard work. We couldn’t be happier.”
Unique Kidz and Co are also finalists in Selnet’s Enterprise in Society Awards in the ‘Small Social Enterprise’ category. Winners of these awards will be announced on 5th October.