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Special day of entertainment for hundreds of children with special educational needs and disabilities

Norfolk County Council, 19 June 2023 00:00

Hundreds of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were treated to a spectacular day of music and entertainment this weekend.

SENDFest was organised by Norfolk Music Hub, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, City College Norwich, Orchestras Live and parent carer forum Family Voice Norfolk. It was held at Easton College near Norwich, on Saturday, 17 June.

The event, which was free for families with a child with SEND, aimed to bring parents and carers together and offer children who may find it difficult to access activities the chance to enjoy a range of interactive workshops and entertainment specially designed for them.

It also provided parents and carers with the chance to find out more about the local support available for children with SEND and their families.

Highlights of the day were appearances by CBeebies' Mr Bloom who led horticulture sessions and well-known singer and television personality Peter Andre who performed some of his hit songs.

Cllr Karen Vincent, deputy cabinet member for Children's Services, who attendedthe event said: "It was wonderful to see the children and young people trying out new activities especially designed for them and enjoying a lovely day out with their families.

"We have a clear commitment in Norfolk to do all we can to support every child to flourish and SENDfest was a great way to enable children and young people with additional needs, their parents and carers to enjoy themselves in a supportive environment with specialist facilities on hand and at the same access information and advice from a range of services."

Tracey Sismey, Chair of Family Voice Norfolk, said: "We have been involved in the design and planning of SENDfest right from the start and were so excited to see it finally come alive this weekend.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with all those involved in this wonderful event.  

"It was a brilliant day for families, jam packed with activities, workshop opportunities, information stands, music and much, much more. It was a wonderful opportunity to all come together and celebrate the uniqueness of our children and young people with special needs and disabilities."

The range of bookable free workshops included: football fun factory, tennis, horticulture, art, djembe drumming, beatboxing, equine exploration, sound and senses, silent discos, street music, singing, dj-ing and floristry.

There was also a proms in the park event where families could relax in the park arena and enjoy films and performances including a singing spectacular with special guest Peter Andre.

Families said:

'My son had a wonderful time and having a place where we could let him be himself without having to worry was such a refreshing change'.

'The set up was professional, well-considered and beautiful. I was a bit emotional at one point watching all these children having such a great time!' 

'Superb event highlighting all that is positive and amazing about those with special educational needs' 

'A festival full of accessibility and inclusion, we met so many wonderful people and there was lots to do. The whole event was incredibly well planned and thought through. We hope it's back next year as we will definitely go again!' 

'It was lovely to be at an event where we all felt so relaxed and weren't worried about being judged'

'It was absolutely brilliant! So well planned and organised by the team who had thought about all age groups and needs. Great workshops, loads of information in the marketplace, perfect venue and as for Peter are you going to top that next year?!' 

'Thank you for all your hard work, friendly staff, cleanliness, accessibility - nailed it!'

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:45

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