Kayaks was formed in July 2010 by six families who recognised that a “joined up” information, guidance and advice service, was not available in the North East of England for families affected by Special Educational needs.
Because some of our children were pupils at Bamburgh Special School in South Tyneside, we were known as “The friends of Bamburgh School”. Our very first lottery grant was made for an information space at the school and with a grant of approximately six thousand pounds, and the help of the then Diane Tooley, we bought various books and equipment, still currently with the school.
Our current base “Mortimer Community network,” was established after the then Community Association was disbanded and we work with the C.I.C. to deliver our service.
We became a registered charity in September 2014. Essentially our formula is twofold. Children with disabilities / Special Educational needs have a place to play, exercise, make friends and socialise generally in a supported environment.
For parents/carers, we offer support, advice, friendship, information sign-posting to other services, help with benefits claims and representation at meetings and advocacy.
We are listed on the Local Authority’s “Special Educational Needs Local offer”, a registry of services available to families within the Borough of South Tyneside. We altered our constitution to ensure that our services are available to families throughout the North East of England affected by special educational needs.
We won the accolade of “Charity of the year 2014” in the “Pride of South Tyneside Awards”.
We are an independent charity, much of our funding coming from Philanthropists and various other “giving” organisations. We do fund raise ourselves also. The committee are all volunteers, receive no payment, and are elected at the Annual General meeting. Our numbers continue to grow and we look forward to the next year of challenges.
Our KOPE outreach service was launched 2018.