What does PACSO do?

PACSO (Parents and Carers Support Organisation) is a unique local charity, serving West Sussex.  We offer recreational opportunities to children with disabilities and their siblings, thereby providing much needed short term break provision to them and their families.

We currently work with children and young people who are aged between 0 and 25 years who have a disability or additional need. We do not require a formal diagnosis, but, if necessary, we will support families who are working through that process.

The PACSO ethos is one of inclusion.  To this end, all of our staff are experienced and receive regular training to ensure that they are fully equipped to work with children who have special or additional needs. All of our staff are required to undertake an Enhanced DBS check, and we have robust Safeguarding and Child Protection policies in place to ensure the safety of every child in our care.

We currently provide a wide range of clubs and activities including:

  • After School Clubs
  • Youth Club
  • Saturday Clubs
  • Easter Play Days
  • Christmas Play Days
  • Summer Playscheme
  • Half-Term Stay ‘n’ Play
  • Little PACSO
  • Holiday Trips
  • Family Fun Days

Our aim is for each of these clubs and activities to result in skills that bestow self-esteem, confidence and happiness.

Where is PACSO located and what areas does it cover?

PACSO is based in Chichester, and most of our clubs now take place at Fordwater School and Chichester Nursery School Children & Family Centre. A variety of clubs are available to children and young people aged 0-25 who live in West Sussex.

Who does PACSO provide for?

PACSO works with boys and girls of all ages (between 0 and 25 years) and all disabilities. We also work with children who present with complex health needs, and those whose additional needs are caused by behavioural difficulties.

Some of our funding is restricted to helping children who are in receipt of DLA at Middle or Higher Rate. Where families are not accessing DLA, we can offer support in making an application, and can complete self-assessment forms to enable us to access restricted funding. If, however, a child’s disability means that they cannot access DLA they will not be declined a place at PACSO – we will look to fund their place elsewhere.

How can I start using the service?

PACSO welcomes self-referrals from parents/carers as well as referrals from schools, health professionals and Social Services.

Only members can access PACSO clubs and activities. Membership is FREE but a small charge is made for each club/activity. Members can use Direct Payments to pay for PACSO, and a receipt will be provided upon request. This usually forms part of your child’s personal budget.

New members are required to complete a Child Profile form for each child attending PACSO. This forms the basis of our care for your child/ren, so we urge you to be honest and accurate in completing this. Only once these forms are received will a child be allowed access to PACSO clubs and activities.

Clubs should be booked in advance using the booking forms sent out to members at the beginning of each term. Places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Children who are aged 11+ can apply for a place on our trips during school holidays. An application form is available from the PACSO Administrator.

How are decisions made about who can use PACSO?

PACSO is a parent-led service, and all decisions regarding the overall service are made by our Trustees. Board meetings are also attended by the PACSO Management Team, who are responsible for the day to day delivery of our service, two Parent Representatives and a Community Representative.

PACSO members are urged to contact the PACSO Chair, Management Team or a Parent Representative if they wish any matter to be brought to the attention of the Board. That person will then be responsible for reporting the decision (and the reasons for that decision) back to them.

We will endeavour to use plain English in all our communications.

In the event of a member needing additional support to understand a decision that has been made, or a communication that has been made by PACSO, we will provide that support.

How does PACSO communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning?

Members are invited to provide their full address, email address and mobile phone number when joining PACSO. They are also invited to indicate their preferred method of communication. PACSO will then use that preferred method to make contact with the family and to provide information about forthcoming clubs and activities, etc.

PACSO Play Specialists are all proficient in the use of Makaton©, and will use this signing system to support their communication with the children they are working with.

PACSO provides a range of leaflets outlining our various activities and our yearly calendar.

Parents/Carers whose first language is not English can request written literature in their mother tongue.

At the end of every Club or activity, each child will have the opportunity to say what they liked or disliked about the session, and may also give pointers for how the activity could be improved.

At the end of every Club, activity or Buddy Session, parents/carers have the opportunity to speak with the Play Manager or her team, to gain feedback about the session, and to find out how their child is doing.

PACSO regularly invites the views of service users via Facebook spot polls. We also send out regular ‘Feedback Forms’ to parents/carers. We also conduct evaluations following one-off events such as Family Fun Days and theatre trips.

Parents/carers are given the opportunity to attend training events as they arise. A group of PACSO parents recently took part in a Makaton© training course run in conjunction with Chichester Down Syndrome Support Group.

Are PACSO clubs fully accessible?

We currently run most of our clubs from Fordwater School, which is fully wheelchair accessible. It has disabled changing and toilet facilities and hoist facilities in the swimming pool. Furthermore, it is a fully equipped sensory environment.

The Child Profile Form completed by a parent/carer to obtain membership of PACSO will help us to assess the individual needs of the child/young person coming to PACSO. We will always provide 1:1 care at all of our clubs for every child that needs it. In exceptional circumstances we will also provide 2:1 care for any child who needs that extra level of support.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

  • All staff undergo induction training which includes disability awareness.
  • Annually, staff undergo Safeguarding Training, Child Protection Training, Health & Safety Training, Equality and Diversity Training.
  • Every three years, key staff attend First Aid Training.
  • Key staff have recently attended Makaton© training.
  • The Play Manager is a Level 4 Play Worker.
  • We are planning to train all PACSO Play Specialists to Level 3 Play Worker.

Who can I contact for further information?

  • If you would like to join PACSO, speak to Hannah Buckwell, on 01243 533353 or email her at admin@pacso.org.uk
  • If you would like to speak to someone about your child or young person, contact Emma Kennedy, Play Manager on 07876 601157 or email her at play@pacso.org.uk
  • If you would like to speak to someone about any other aspect of PACSO, please contact Val Evans, Chief Executive, on 07841 017642 or email her at val.evans@pacso.org.uk
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