Me2 is a unique organisation based in Woodley which specialises in supporting children and young people with additional needs from the age of 5 to 19 to enable them to attend local mainstream activity clubs. Reading East MP Matt Rodda was delighted to be invited to visit them to learn more about the work they do.
Assistance is provided by a network of specially-trained volunteers, and Me2 supporters encourage children and young people to develop new skills help build their confidence through encouraging participation in activities alongside their volunteer. The children and young people needing the services of a Me2 supporter have a wide range of additional and sometimes complex needs, including Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and Downs Syndrome, as well as those young people with mental health, behavioural, emotional and anxiety difficulties. Additionally, parents do not need to have a formal diagnosis of their child or young person's situation in order to access Me2 services and support.
Me2 recruits volunteers through a series of events and visits to local colleges and businesses, and also seeks corporate support in the form of donations and sponsorship to enable their work to continue. The organisation also provides inclusion training for activity leaders such as Guiders, Sports Coaches and Youth Workers which helps increase their own skills, knowledge and confidence around disability, additional needs and inclusion.
Matt was interested to hear about their work and discussed with them some of the challenges that Me2 faces in times of increasing demand on the voluntary sector. He said:
“Organisations such as Me2 provide a fantastic opportunity for those children and young people with additional needs to be able to attend everyday mainstream activities in a supportive and encouraging environment.”
“Quite often, young people with additional need feel socially isolated and withdrawn from mainstream society. Me2 volunteers provide an invaluable service to help encourage young people and help to build their confidence skills through joint participation in a wide range of activities. I find the work of Me2 inspiring, and look forward to doing more work with them.”