East Lothian Council

Become a Get Connected Champion!

Published Wednesday 31st May 17

Making it easier for young people with additional support needs to access mainstream clubs and activities.

East Lothian Council has funded a young people’s inclusion project called Get Connected that aims to make it easier for young people with additional support needs to access mainstream services, such as clubs or activities. 

The project hosted a launch event called the ‘Get Connected Breakfast’, a morning that featured guest speakers and hosted workshops that allowed parents, activity providers and council representatives the opportunity to discuss inclusion and share good practice on accessibility. 

The next venture for the project is to create a website. Get Connected carried out a survey to parents, and 70% of participants said they had experienced difficulties finding information on accessible activities in East Lothian.

When asked about the prospect of a website, one parent said:

'Great. This is really just what we as a family need. I genuinely struggle to find suitable activities for my daughter to attend. As she approaching her teens I am concerned about potentially how isolated she might become.'

Lauren Ritchie, the Get Connected Graduate Intern Information Officer, said:

'There is lots of good work going on in East Lothian around helping children with additional support needs to get involved in local activities and what Get Connected is going to do is celebrate and build on this. Every child, whatever their needs, has the right to take part fully in their community and +have the same opportunities and experiences as other children.

'I’m currently working on creating the website which will feature Get Connected Champions. This will be a directory of inclusive activity providers that can be contacted by families.

'So we’re on a mission! I’m looking for providers of play, sport, leisure or cultural activities which are accessible to children and young people with additional support needs to sign up to be champions and be part of making East Lothian even more inclusive. 'This project is very new and exciting and already activity providers are really engaging with it.'


Get Connected was inspired by FLIP (Family-led information point), a group for parents and carers of children with additional support needs that meets monthly and share experiences. The group was clear that feeling included in activities is important to their children. 

FLIP member Julie Morrison’s 10 year old son Coll has autism and has been attending a gymnastics class for six years:

'Coll has really benefited from going to gymnastics. When he was younger he tried certain activities and they didn’t work out at all because they didn’t have enough support to be able to include him in their mainstream classes. We hit a rough patch when he was in primary 1- 2; he really couldn’t be included in many classes.

'But he then started going to this gymnastics class and his teacher Pamela took it upon herself to make sure he was included. She asked me what would help him and what would make it easier for him to understand things in the class. I said that he was very good visually so she made him a little visual timetable to explain what he would have to do in each session. Being part of this class has made him a lot more confident; he’s been able to make friends and he feels included. He’s getting treated like everyone else and gets to feel normal.'

Find out more at the Get Connected website.

Or if you are interested in the Get Connected Champions, contact lritchie4@eastlothian.gov.uk

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