1,000 signatures reached
To: Tom Pursglove
Inclusion for all children at holiday camps
I am a mum of a six-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Every time the school holidays approach, I find myself desperately trying to get her into a holiday camp because my husband and I both work. Exclusion from holiday camps is a scandal that is happening right under our noses and yet we allow it.
Some camps are fantastic. But there are more who simply say no she can't attend. It's too expensive, they don't have the resources, they will do it in the future. And of course, they never do. Some of these camps are even run by schools.
How many children are stuck at home away from the world, because clubs aren't making adaptations? Please make it law that as part of a holiday camp’s licence to operate, they must include a SEN member of staff onsite so that every child can attend. No excuses, no refusals on the basis of disability.
Why is this important?
Holiday clubs carry a huge responsibility when it comes to disability. They represent the first few experiences my daughter (and other children with disabilities) have of society outside the protection of a loving family and hopefully a supportive school.
They can either reinforce a sense of “I am different, but I am equal to everyone else”, or they expose disabled children to a negative sense of “I am different, I am a burden, I am excluded”.
Each time a club says no, and a child is excluded, it's a little chip at their self-esteem and a lowering of expectations for their future self.
According to a survey by Scope, the disability charity, nearly half of disabled adults surveyed feel excluded by society and day to day life. Two thirds have stopped doing something because of other people’s attitudes.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all these little negative experiences that chip away at them over time. It's totally unacceptable in today's society.