£10,000 for Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres

Dingley Family & Specialist Early Years Centres logoDingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres has a vision that children with additional needs and disabilities have the right to take a full and active part in everyday life from birth, allowing them to maximise their potential for inclusion when they start school at five.  Dingley provides a unique playing and learning environment with individual education plans tailored to meet the specific needs of individual children and their families.


Abi, Dingley's new Early Years PractitionerLouise Farmer, Manager of the West Berkshire Centre expressed her gratitude to Greenham Trust for the recent award of a £10,000 Reactive Grant.  Louise explained ‘ The award of £10,000 has enabled us to employ a new Early Years Practitioner, Abi, to support our core activities of home visits to families, assessments of needs and structured one-to-one and group play sessions.’  Liz McDaniel, who raises funds for all 3 Dingley Centres across Berkshire, commented that it is becoming increasingly difficult for charities to attract funding for vital core activities.   "We find many funders believe that West Berkshire is an affluent area and can be reluctant to support local charities who deal with the real and, sometimes, hidden problems in the area.  Each 3 hour session at Dingley costs on average £35 per child and this award will help to fund each of our children to attend once a week during the school year.  Core funding also covers training and development for new staff."


Having fun at DingleyLouise explained ‘The children who attend our setting all have complex needs and disabilities which require individual help and encouragement from our staff. Dingley have a long and successful track record of working with young disabled children and we know that the method we use is the best way to nurture the development of a child who has additional needs. This is because we keep a high ratio of adults to children, in some cases it will be 1:1, and therefore all the families benefit from extensive individual attention. We have the backing and support of the Health and Educational Professionals who refer 95% of our children to us and who come in to work with individual children’.


In 2011 Dingley were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for groups of volunteers who work in their local community for the benefit of others and in 2012 all 3 Dingley Centres were rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted.

The Sensory Room at Dingley

By attending sessions at Dingley children will be given the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their disability and have a more structured routine before they move to a mainstream nursery or a special needs school. Many of the children, particularly those on the Autistic Spectrum, struggle to deal with change and staff build on relationships with other schools to aid their transition.

"Dingley has transformed my little boy. His behaviour was very challenging and I could not see him settling into school. Thanks to the work Dingley staff have done, his tantrums are minimal and his overall behaviour is much easier to manage."



New experiences at Dingley

The service that Dingley provides not only benefits the children who attend but crucially the entire family as a whole.  Siblings under 5 are welcome to come along and play and parents relish the opportunity to meet other families in similar circumstances and develop a support network.  Many have taken part in fundraising activities and are encouraged to suggest ideas for new equipment, activities and fun days out for the children. The recent visit to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park supported by The Lions Club of Newbury proved a great hit!

Having been forced to move from Newbury Racecourse due to redevelopment, Dingley need a new home and are hoping to refurbish a vacant nursery premises in Newbury with the aim of opening in the Autumn of 2014.  Facilities will include a dedicated family room, increased outdoor space and their own sensory room – something everyone at Dingley is very excited about, having had to share a sensory room for the past couple of years. 

To find out more about the inspirational work being done at Dingley, or to give your support visit their website on www.dingley.org.uk