Challenging holiday experiences for young people in Moray

Youngster experiences horse-grooming thanks to NESS
Youngster experiences horse-grooming thanks to NESS

A MORAY GROUP have continuing to ensure that children and young people who are visually impaired enjoy the same outdoor fun and enjoyment as those with full sight.

Elgin-based North East Sensory Services (NESS) have been hosting a number of events in Moray and Aberdeenshire during the recent mid-term holiday – many of which would be challenging for those with full hearing and sight capabilities.

Children and young people up to 19-years-old have been taking part in activities that included a bug hunt, family trip to Blair Drummond, cooking and pottery sessions, outdoor rock climbing and a sponsored walk.

NESS Young Person’s Coordinator, Diana Daneels, said the children have been having a great deal of fun: “We aim to provide a wide range of activities for children and young people so that they can experience adventure and outdoor activities in the same way as sighted or hearing youngsters.

“This year our climbing day at Cummingston was really special. Of course safety is a priority, but we work hard to make sure there is lots of laughter and great stories to tell when we get home.

Graham Findlay, CEO of NESS, added: “Parents and young people come to NESS for support in learning to live with a sensory impairment, but they also find friendship and fun. The activities organised provided the young people with new skills and real challenges, which they thrive on. Horse riding is always a favourite activity and this year the climbing session went down really well.

“The children are involved in planning the activities and they can be very adventurous. We aim to provide new experiences to expand their horizons and encourage them to see what they are capable of, which will help them deal with the unique challenges they face in everyday life.”

The Young Person’s Sensory Services, which is funded by a Bank of Scotland grant as well as other donations, holds weekly youth groups at its base in Elgin. Rehab workers and NESS staff also help young people in their homes and with taking public transport within their community.

Due to its work helping sensory impaired youngsters gain independence, NESS has been nominated as a finalist for the UK-wide ‘Children & Young People Now’ awards, for which the winners will be announced in London later this month.