In this guest blog, Naomi Tomkys OBE, CEO for Sky Badger, tells us all about the charity, what they do and how they can assist you with your SEND support needs. We think that you’ll agree that they are a super organisation with plenty to offer! Over to you, Naomi…
Let Sky Badger come to the rescue!
First of all, thank you. My name is Naomi and I work for Sky Badger, a charity that finds help for families with disabled children. Parents tell us that having you (the teacher or member of school support staff reading this) at their child’s school can often feel like the 4th emergency service, that’s why you get a big thank you from us.
When a family has a disabled child, and they’re struggling, they rarely know where to turn. Their friends don’t know how to help and professional medical or social care support can often take months sitting on waiting lists. And that’s where you come in. Teachers, TA’s and other support staff at school can sometimes be the only friendly faces they see.
The problem is that no one tells you about all the help there is. After all, you can’t possibly know about every medical condition and learning difficulty. You can’t know all there is about EHCP’s, PIP’s, blue badges, disability grants or specialist babysitting. There’s no way you can know all there is about helping siblings or finding info for grandparents….and that’s where we come in. Our little treat to you is Sky Badger. At Sky Badger you can find everything you need to support struggling families with disabled children.
Feel free to take a bit of time checking us out on our website and social media platforms and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just email us and our wildly experienced team will sort you out. By the way, everything we do is completely free!
I’ll tell you a bit more about how Sky Badger was born in a mo. It’s kind of a cool story but first I thought you’d like a virtual Kitkat break – let us tell you about a few lesser known charities and organisations that families you work with might want to know about…
Looking for a free adventure holiday?
Over the Wall – Amazing transformational residential camps across the UK for children and young people facing serious health challenges. They also run camps for siblings and families too.
Need an IT grant for a disabled child?
The Children’s Hope Foundation – offers support to buy medical equipment, computers for educational purposes and days out.
Need a birthday cake?
Free Cakes for Kids – This charity came to the rescue when a mum we were helping was stuck in hospital and had to miss her youngest’s 6th birthday…a life saver! They bake for families who find it difficult to provide a birthday cake for their child. All cakes are baked 100% by volunteers, who operate locally and independently in their own private kitchens.
Do you have a student who has a condition you don’t know about?
Great Ormond Street – medical information – Fantastic crib notes to get you started.
Hope that was useful. Loads more on the Sky Badger website too. But for now, let’s get back to our origin story, it helps knowing where we come from.
How Sky Badger began…
Sky Badger was created by four mums in October 2011. Between our 11 children, three are disabled and two have life-limiting conditions. The idea was to build a website giving families information that could really help. The problem was that so many charities have the same homepage; a sick kid with a massive ‘donate now’ banner. As a parent, I always felt that page was soul destroying, isolating and didn’t really fill me with positivity for the future. Website’s were tricky to navigate, info too complicated or out of date. That’s why Sky Badger needed to be different. it needed to be positive, full of great stuff, extremely easy to use, fun and totally free.
But why the name ‘Sky Badger’ I hear you ask? That’s simple. A little 7-year-old boy with special needs called Max invented Sky Badger. While playing Superheroes with his little brother, Max used to tie a tea towel around his neck and magically gain superpowers to win any battle. He would descend from the stairs with the deafening cry “Sky Badger to the rescue!”
We’d all like to thank Max for inspiring us to create Sky Badger. Especially because he’s my Max. Max became ill with his first serious seizure when he was 6 and has complex medical and learning disabilities. 8 years on, Max is a strapping teenager, taller than me even in heals. Without Max there would be no Sky Badger.
Sky Badger now supports over 1,400 families and professionals every day. Since 2011, Sky Badger has helped countless families improve their disabled children lives by simply knowing where to turn for help. Whether that’s sky-diving in a wheelchair, getting a free laptop or knowing how to apply for a PIP… Sky Badger has it all.
This is the most important part though. Sky Badger is a virtual community that you need to be part of. About 20% of those we find help for are teachers, TA’s and social workers. We need you to make sure that families find out about us. Also, if you know about a charity or company that we should shout about, please let us know.
We also do lots of other stuff at Sky Badger including free downloadable disability awareness lesson plans and games for your classroom as well as lots of ways for you to get involved too…but for now, this is simply an introduction…Sky Badger is very pleased to meet you and we’re always here to help.
Thanks for reading.
Naomi Tomkys OBE, CEO, Sky Badger
Would you like to support this inspiring charity?
If you are keen to support a small, grassroots charity which works tirelessly to support the SEND community, you can donate to them here.
Seeking SEND work or staff in England or Wales?
If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?