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Pat on the back for party planners


When it comes to throwing a party there’s one group at Sense Scotland we all turn to – the Family Advisory Service.

Our free advisory service, often the first point of contact for disabled people and their families, were certainly busy over the festive period. Santa was also really busy, travelling all over the country.

At Kilmallie Free Church in Fort William six people we support and their family members took part in making snowmen, reindeer food and Christmas decorations as well as joining in with some party games before a visit from Santa.

In Kilmarnock, at Bonnyton Community Centre, 23 children enjoyed party entertainment from ‘Kerry Berry Parties’ which included a puppet show, snow machine, giant snow balls and lots of singing and dancing as well as a visit to see Santa in his Grotto.

One parent said: “Thank you so much for all the effort that you put into the Christmas party, all my lot had a total ball.”

Another added: “I want to say thank you so much to you for absolutely everything – we were so proud to be able to have a photo with all the three of us and Santa – it’s been a first for us.”

More than 180 adults who use our service, family members and support workers attended a busy, noisy and fun-filled Christmas Party at TouchBase Glasgow. The entertainment was provided by resident DJ Matthew Ward.

April Walker of the Family Advisory Service said: “It was also great to see the members of Our Voice Dundee make it along on the evening, adding to our celebration. The party was a huge success, the biggest so far.”

TouchBase Glasgow was also the place to be for this year’s Children’s Christmas party. Children’s Entertainer Freddie Whizz provided entertainment and balloon shaping for all the excited children who were waiting with eager anticipation for Santa.

The main man’s arrival was heralded by a cacophony of bells and children singing ‘Jingle Bells’. Santa greeted all the children before heading into our bespoke Santa’s grotto, carefully put together by our Eager Elves from the Advisory team. The Elves also helped Santa create a selection of specially tailored toys and gifts for the children we support.

Said Elf Laura Houston: “The visit to Santa’s Grotto is a carefully planned precision exercise to ensure all the children receive a gift that will meet their specific needs, much to the delight of families.”

In Edinburgh some of the children that we support have sensory difficulties and can become overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties. We repeated 2016’s successful ‘Christmas Wonderland Stay & Play’, where we had Christmas themed arts and crafts activities as well as our usual monthly sensory free-play which the children seem to enjoy.

Children and families were invited to create a snowman using rice and socks and make up some magic reindeer food to take home.

Organiser Gillian Bell explained: “We had a special visit from Santa and the children all received a special gift. Every child had a choice of whether they wanted to see Santa and say hello to him or receive their gift in their own chosen space.”

One mum said: “We thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did the children. The presents were amazing, and the choices so thoughtful. One child is in full-on science mode with his white coat, dissecting everything in sight so that he can view it under the microscope. The other one loves balancing on his tummy on the giant ball – now called the moon, which has been over the fence several times. We are getting to know our neighbours very well!”

Sense Scotland’s family advisors cover the whole of Scotland and offer support from pre-birth. We can provide you and your family with benefits advice, representation and how to cope with the transitions of life. Or maybe you just need someone at the end of the phone? We are also happy to arrange a home visit at a time that suits you.

Contact Family Advisory Service


Phone: 0300 330 9292