In 2007, the Disabled Children’s Play Co-ordinator for Cardiff Council established a Saturday disability play scheme, which has now been developed into a new co-operative, ‘Cwtch Together’. In April 2018, through Care to Co-operate’s link with the All Wales Forum of parents and carers of people with learning disabilities, the service was asked to work with parents and volunteers who regularly used and supported the Saturday service. The parents and volunteers wanted to maintain the service in the light of looming budget cuts from the local authority.
“Their requirement and desire for a safe and inclusive environment for children with disabilities and learning difficulties, of all ages and their siblings, continues”
It is based in Grangetown, in the REACH Community Centre and provides a variety of soft play, arts and crafts, music and sensory engagement and fun, themed activities. Cwtch Together are aware that without this provision, parents often feel isolated from society, avoiding taking their children to public places since their behaviour may be seen as inappropriate or it might just be too difficult for them. Parents have expressed that they often stay at home because it’s easier.
“Cwtch Together is the result of the determination and drive of volunteers, parents and other family members, supported by the All Wales Forum and Cardiff Council, to find a co-operative solution to retain and further evolve the service”
Taking Care to Co-operate’s ‘Road to Co-operation’, Cwtch Together founder members, supported by Co-operative Adviser, Joanne Bartlett, have developed their understanding of co-operatives and the stages that they need to go through including identifying founder members, agreeing what they will do and where the funding will come from. In September 2018, the members agreed and submitted an application to the Charity Commission to register as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – Association model. This means that Cwtch Together is a co-operative charity able to grow its membership, apply for funding, consider how to generate income and look to reach new families to access its service.