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Creating a smile for families and young people with disabilities: Createasmile, North Wales

Creating a smile for families and young people with disabilities:  Createasmile, North Wales
Creatasmile is a voluntarily run registered charity for children and young people with autism, ADHD, Global Development Delay and other disabilities and their families. They operate across the breadth of North Wales, and host community sessions in locations such as Kinmel Bay, Towyn, Llanrwst, Llandudno and Wrexham. From April 2014 onwards, the group has been awarded £6,250 in grants from funds such as the Wrexham and Denbighshire Community Endowment Funds, the ASDA Carrier Bag Community Awards, Red Nose Day Community Cash and the Fund for Wales.
The charity provides a monthly support group for parents and carers, help with advocacy with children, organise day trips for children and families, and host community sessions. Their primary focus is to create an environment where people can meet others in similar situations, acquire advice and training, and be introduced to other services where more help can be offered.
Aimed at building networks amongst carers and parents alike, the project has successfully brought many to the realisation that they need not be isolated; support and guidance is provided both by the Createasmile volunteers and other service users, who use their experiences and knowledge positively to support the community. In fact, the achievement of the monthly sessions in project such as Wrexham required that a further group be formed, bringing together more people otherwise unable to attend. Furthermore, the charity has provided a one-to-one befriending service to build relationships and beneficial connections within the community.
Dorothy (name changed for anonymity), first encountered the charity’s work through a leaflet advertising the sessions. Her son had recently been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and felt she had not received adequate support or information to adapt to this sudden change in her families’ situation. Upon attending Createasmile sessions, she was surprised and pleased that they also provided fun activities and days out, including trips to Thomas Land, and a Christmas party hosted for the children. Dorothy’s passion and appreciation of the charity led to her becoming a volunteer, in order to help sustain the momentum and presence of the project within Wrexham through running sessions and fundraising events, which has reached an estimated one hundred and twenty five people.