SEN-den is a not-for-profit community organisation, which became formally incorporated as a community interest company (CIC) in August 2019. We came into existence having closely followed the experiences of friends living in Enfield, whose young children were newly diagnosed as autistic. We became aware of gaps in play opportunities and support services for families with younger, autistic children (including during the complex autism assessment process) and decided to do something about it!
SPECIFICALLY WE NOTED THE FOLLOWING GAPS:
PLAY: There are few, inclusive play opportunities for younger, autistic children and their families, which run regularly during term-time and at weekends.
INFORMATION: It is difficult to access the specialist information parents need to support their children because autism-related resources online can be confusing, NHS waiting lists are long, school SENCOs are overwhelmed and private therapists are expensive.
SUPPORT: There are limited opportunities to meet, and build relationships with, other local families on the same lifelong journey. Both parents and children are missing out on opportunities to meet, interact, and establish a vital source of ongoing, community-based peer support.
SEN-den provides a welcoming space in the community for families affected by autism to meet, to play, to learn and to share information and experiences . We offer a range of play and support sessions at the Lancaster Centre and we organise workshops on specialist topics for parents, which are delivered by qualified therapists or other local professionals. Like any other business, we charge for our play, information and support services so that we can pay for our venue, cover our running costs and remain viable. However, two notable differences are that we operate purely to serve the community – and we make no profit.
As a community business, we do our best to provide a range of services that are relevant and responsive to the needs of the community and we are open to your ideas and suggestions about products and services SEN-den could offer to support families on the autism journey. Feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing from you!