“It is embarrassing taking my child swimming”
It was this quote, back in 1997 whilst our children were attending the local Opportunity Playgroup that started a few parents thinking that we want to do more with our children. As a result of this STARS (Special Tots Are Real Stars) was established: a group of 4 parents who organised regular swimming sessions, music and movement activities, Tumble Tots and trips during school holidays, to which all children at the Opportunity Playgroup were invited.
As our children left playgroup and started the next chapter of their lives either in mainstream or special schools we were aware that the needs of STARS families had changed. At the same time a parent support group in Taunton (POSY- Parents of Special Youngsters) were also looking for a new direction. STARS and POSY amalgamated and ESCAPE Support Group (Encouraging Special Children and Parents Everywhere) was born. A committee was formed and charitable status was obtained.
The rest as they say is history.
What started as a charity made up of around 50 family members, now has over 150 family members along with many professionals. With a slight adjustment to the acronym, ESCAPE became Every Somerset Child’s Ability Positively Encouraged to extend the scope of children and families we now support across Somerset. We still go swimming regularly, hold many day trips and offer specific activities for our parent carers.