Reach - Association for Children with Upper Limb Deficiency
One of our aims at DysNet is to highlight the work of great charities and support groups for people with limb differences. Our very first guest is Gary Phillips, the Director of the UK upper limb deficiency charity, Reach. Gary has been a strong and early supporter of DysNet and we're really pleased that he's written an article exclusively for us:
"It allows us to be with people from our own world"
Reach is a UK based charity and family support group for children with upper limb differences. We mainly operate within the UK and Republic of Ireland but also have a small number of oversea's members. We are known by many in the upper limb field for our support and positive attitude living by our motto "It's Ability not Disability that Matters".
One of our best successes has to be our annual Reach Activity Week (RAW). Since 2000 we have each year taken a group of our members aged between 10 - 18 years old to an adventure activity centre somewhere in the UK for a week of adventure activities such as canoeing, climbing, abseiling, raft building, gorge walking, wind surfing etc. We select mainstream centres in a different part of the country each year to ensure it is local to everyone over a period of time.
The basic principles which we maintain make the week the success it has become with between 40 - 50 children attending each year. these principles are:
· All children have upper limb differences, we don't allow siblings.
· All of our own adult mentors who attend have upper limb differences, with the exception of our Chief Operations Officer who acts a group Mother and Banker.
· It's aim is to give the children a reason to belong to Reach, as the local branch meetings that are held around the country are generally more suited to younger children.
· To encourage sharing of ideas, issues, experiences, as well as learning new skills such as tying a shoe lace one handed, putting your hair in a pony tail one handed etc.
· Increasing their confidence by showing them they are not alone and what each other can achieve.
· All child members should be able to attend regardless of ability to pay.
RAW has been an incredible success with a full trip every year it has helped a lot of children realise that 'It's Ability not Disability that Matters'. And the title of this article, well this was a quote from one of our young members when she was asked why RAW is so important to her. It says it all.
Gary Phillips, Director
Chair of Campaigns & International Relations Committee
Reach Charity Ltd - A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England Reg No 07054164. Registered Charity Number 1134544
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