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Active Nation SEND Activities (Buzz Network)

Active Nation Inclusive sessions are aimed at children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families.  Enabling them to access a variety of different sport and leisure activities. 

Experienced instructors lead sessions and aim to develop skills and confidence.

Siblings are welcome.

Please click here for the SEN Session timetable and booking information.


Who to contact

Contact Name
Active Nation
Active Nation Southampton SEND Activities

Other Details


From £3 per session


Referral required
Referral Details

Must be part of The Buzz Network and hold a MAX Card Plus

Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Secondary (11-16 years)
Primary (4-10 years)
Early Years (0-4 years)
Transitions to Adulthood (16+)
Needs Level
SEN Provision Type

Service Provider Extended Local Offer Response

What does your service do?

Active Nation (AN) is a charity on a ‘Mission to persuade the nation to be Active’, ultimately increasing participation in sport and exercise across the whole community. The Active Communities Team (ACT) is the outreach arm of the charity that targets hard to reach communities who struggle to access mainstream activity programmes, including disabled children and adults, the elderly and those with mental health issues. This is achieved by working in partnership to establish sustainable and inclusive programmes, in this instance, Southampton City Council (SCC). When it comes to ensuring activities are inclusive trained coaches/instructors, specialist equipment and accessible venues are resourced. Activities include skiing at the Alpine Centre, swimming at The Quays, Swimming and Diving Centre, kayaking at the Woodmill Outdoor Activity Centre and sailing at the Southampton Water Activities Centre (SWAC).

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

The offer is available for children and young people, and their families, with physical, sensory, learning and behavioural difficulties, living in the SO postcode.  MAX Card holders are eligible from the programme. Eligibility is determined by being, 1) between the ages of 4-17, 2) living within the Southampton City boundaries and 3) regular receipt of DLA/PIP payments. Following consultation with attendees and various stakeholder groups, specific activities are put on at appropriately accessible sites in Southampton, primarily those run by Active Nation.  For example, the Alpine Centre, The Quays, Swimming and Diving Centre, the Woodmill Outdoor Activity Centre and Southampton Water Activities Centre.

Who does your service provide for?

Active Nation/Active Communities Team offer is for all children and young people with disabilities, or additional needs, who may require support.  They must also be eligible for, and hold a MAX Card, and be within the ages of 4-19 yrs old, although this can vary with different activities.  For example, in Sailing, Skiing and Paddle Sport they must be between 4-17 yrs.  Regards disabilities/impairments everyone is welcome.  However, to be aware that if the young person requires personal support (e.g. changing, going to the loo) they need to be accompanied by an appropriate person.  The instructor is there to ensure the young person has a safe and enjoyable experience.  Where appropriate specific training is provided for instructors.  For example, training will have been to operate the hoists at Woodmill and Southampton Water Activities Centre. 

How can I start using the service?

Families can access the service via Active Nation/Active Communities Team and their webpage, which contains all the information needed to make a booking.  There is no waiting list but there is only a set amount of places per activity so book early to avoid disappointment.  No referral is required, but the young person must be eligible for, and have a MAX card.  The cost ranges from £3-£6 per session.  Personal Budgets can be utilised to pay for this service.

How are decisions made about who can use your service?

With Southampton City Council providing the funding, guidelines on who can use the offer comes from there.  Further decision making on how to develop and improve the offer is achieved at meetings between Active Nation and key stakeholders.  Active Nation regularly consults with Southampton Parent Carers Forum (SPCF), the families and Southampton City Council to gather feedback and constructive criticism from the people who access the offer.  It’s only when all the information is collated will decisions are made.

How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning?

With the offer being put on by Active Nation, it is done in full consultation with Southampton City Council and other relevant stakeholders.  There is regular communication (e.g. meetings, calls, emails) between parties to ensure the offer is appropriate and safe, and what families want.  In addition Active Nation’s Engagement Lead will visit the sessions to speak to families to gain feedback on how they feel things are going.  To reach a wider group of families a questionnaire is sent out.  This is then fed back to the parties to support any decision making to develop and improve the offer.

Is your service fully accessible?

Whereas the simple answer to this should be an immediate ‘yes’, we are aware that every child is different and has unique needs which could result in there being issues which may arise, that have not been raised before.  Bearing this in mind every effort is made to ensure the activities are accessible, taking into account venue, equipment and workforce.  If an access issue is brought to our attention at one of our sessions, then it will be addressed as soon as possible.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

Regular conversations take place with Active Nation’s activity delivery workforce and training is always on the Agenda.  If they identify they need awareness training on disability, or specific disability/special need/impairment, then a course is sourced and support is provided for them to attend.  Where appropriate all staff (management and coaches) will be encouraged to attend. Approximately once a year an Autism Awareness course is put on for the whole team.  Finally, the Active Communities Team stage an annual Conference where training is part of the programme.

How will I know my child will be safe using this service?

Active Nation is a charity that has been running activities and venues for many years, so has a very comprehensive Health and Safety Policy in place. To add, Active Nation/Active Communities Team are very aware of how vulnerable a group that they are providing a service for so have staff that have received official Health and Safety training.  Therefore, all venues and activities are rigorously checked with detailed risk assessment conducted ensuring a safe and enjoyable environment.  As part of the policy there is a clear process identified on reporting abuse.  The Active Communities Team are happy to take questions at should these arise.

How do I give feedback, make comments or raise concerns?

Formally there are questionnaires that are circulated periodically encouraging parents and families to provide feedback.  Also, Active Nation’s Engagement Lead will regularly come to sessions to see how everybody is and talk through any thoughts and ideas from people.  This is, of course, an ideal opportunity for families to provide constructive criticism or praise.  Any issues will then be brought up and discussed at meetings between partners, or more immediately if required.

Who can I contact for further information?

Active Communities Team

Pete Hull MBE – Active Communities Team – Engagement Lead

Alex Griffiths – General Manager (Outdoor Sport & Community Programmes)

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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this directory, we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors that have occurred. It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. We offer an impartial service and we cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

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