Community Interest Company
For Unique Children
The journey from Portage to PlayWise
PlayWise learning services has been a long time in the making. I have worked with Portage families for nearly 15 years in Sutton. Portage is an incredible service delivered by an amazing team and I have loved every minute of it. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that having a child in the family with additional needs and / or disability in the family has a major impact, so whilst Portage goes some way to meet the needs of the child’s learning and development and supporting parents emotionally and practically, it is clear to see it’s not enough.
The idea of PlayWise was created in one of those conversations: ‘If you win the lottery, what would you do?’ My dream (after the car, house, home in Spain, family and friends sorted for life obvs) has always been that there has been a community building or centre that provided everything a parent needs: information, support, guidance, opportunities to meet other parents / carers on a similar journey through disability and SEN, access to a choice and range of interventions and whatever else they need in order to give their child the best of the best.
Having a disabled child throws things at a family that most other families won’t ever have to consider. Parenting a disabled child is not like parenting a child without a disability. Going back to work after maternity leave is not a straightforward decision, nor is managing tricky behaviours of a child who has chronic health needs or learning difficulties. Preparing for your child to live with you until they are older adults or preparing for their funeral is certainly not something you plan with your partner when you find out you’re having a baby.
The PlayWise dream is that life is made easier for families who have it the hardest. A world where parents are supported to build resilience, develop inner strength, are given the space and support to develop good mental health and wellbeing so their parenting job is easier. A world where there is one source of information and guidance that is relevant and real for professionals and families. A world where parents and carers are given the skills to teach their child and a place where we celebrate not fitting into a neat little box (a metaphoric box of course). The dream is a centre where parents, carers and professionals know where to get support, what support is available and how to access it and to have choices, as we know that one box does not fit all. A place where families feel a sense of belonging – with a support network, friends who know exactly the journey you are on and opportunities for fun, new relationships and celebrating this life together.
And so ……. PlayWise Learning CIC was born in January 2019
Pam Fry (Chief Executive)
The Portage & PlayWise Partnership
If it ain't broke - don't fix it
Our vision is a world where the child is seen before their disability and they and their community are enabled and inspired
What is Portage?
The name Portage comes from a town in Wisconsin, USA where the first home visiting service began. Portage has been in the London Borough of Sutton since 1986.
Sutton Portage service continues to provide educational home visiting for pre-school children (0-3 years) who have significant special educational needs and disabilities. This is funded by Sutton Council and remains a free service for families. The Portage home visitor works in partnership with parents and carers in their own home. The aim of the service is to empower parents and carers and enable them to enhance their child’s learning and development, by creating meaningful opportunities for learning through play and increasing positive outcomes for the child and family.
What is PlayWise?
PlayWise Learning Community Interest Company has been established to offer parents & carers of young disabled children & the professionals that support those children with a wider range of support services that aim to reduce the impact of disability and SEN (Special Educational Needs) and support families on their journey.
PlayWise offers new interventions and services that provide a continuation from Portage, work with children and families in the same nurturing and educational format but offers a more flexible range of services that puts families in control of their child's learning and offers choice.
We have a strong ethos to give back to the local community and work in partnership with families to re-invest any profit back into the local areas and to develop further support services.
Some of the services are free at the point of contact for families as a result of corporate sponsorship and fundraising and other services have a charge.