All together now: Bringing families with disabilities together with WeToo!
This week at Sustainably we want to highlight the charities that are particularly centred around family support. We Too! is one of the latest charities to join the Sustainably community and we are really excited to show you what they do.
Hi Phionna, it’s great to have you here and we’re excited to have you join our amazing community of charities. Can you tell us a little more about what you do for We Too! ?
My name is Phionna McInnes and I am the Chief Ninja at We Too! My role is to ensure We Too! continues to serve customers (both internal and external) to the highest standard possible whilst achieving our charity mission of empowering families of children with disabilities.
How did the charity start and why was there the need for it?
The charity started with my little boy asking about where I could take him that “people won’t stare at me, and you won’t cry”. Every charity I contacted didn’t meet the criteria for “support” and their website information was out of date. I was already exhausted trying to find out all the information I needed so once I did, we created a Summer What’s on Guide for families with disabled children so they wouldn’t have to do the same as me. This was Summer 2015 and was only meant to be one edition. As I am writing this, we are putting together Issue 26 and we have a readership of 31,000 in NE Scotland!
What kind of programs and activities do you currently offer?
The wonderful part of gathering all the information from other organisations for the magazine is that we can quickly see where there are gaps and look at how to address this best.
As well as the magazine, we also are the leading provider of “Relaxed Sessions” in the area, working with companies, delivering training to make sure they are offer these sessions to EVERYONE with confidence that they are knowledgeable on simple sensory adjustments and that families never have to worry about “meeting criteria”. We also offer 6-week courses for both young siblings and for parents to help them understand their children and gain peer support from one another.
What are the benefits for families and their children?
WeToo! states that we empower families and not support, and this is very purposeful. We also never use the term “our families” in line with being available to anyone who wants to access our sessions, regardless.
Our sessions work on a Reverse-Inclusion Model which allows anyone to access a Relaxed Session. This means the whole family and extended family can all attend together, should they wish to. Too many sessions are exclusively for disabled children, but many families wish to be able to attend all together and WeToo! seeks to achieve this. By creating an adapted, understanding, and compassionate session, wonderful and positive memories can be made!
How will the Sustainably donations support your charity and the great work you are doing?
We are so excited and grateful to be part of Sustainably, we have been deeply impacted by our ability to fundraise and now our energy must really go into our customers and empowering them back to sessions to play, socialise and reconnect. I’m hopeful that by people donating through Sustainably it can allow our focus to stay on our customers and keeping families empowered (and keep our sensory equipment basket topped up!)
What are your hopes for the next few years at We Too! ? Any exciting projects you are working on?
I still pinch myself that we are nearly 5 years old! We are customer-driven (again, we don’t have service users!) and listen and react to their needs. We do have a young carer redeveloping our 6-week sibling course where he is using gaming references which I can see as being well received. It will also be delivered by young carers so it’s particularly unique and special.
I would love to see the magazine grow into other parts of Scotland so more families in various Local Authorities can also be empowered and knowledgeable.
Visit their website for more wetoo.org.uk