Children's charity submits plans to increase capacity

By Tim Aldred

25 Jan 2024

Unique Kidz Expansion Plans

A charity launched by two mums to provide care for their disabled children has grown so popular that it has now submitted plans to further expand its facilities.

Unique Kidz and Co was launched in 2009 with its first after school club, where 65 young people attended – now the charity has 187 disabled young people on their system and an ever-growing waiting list.

Now it has submitted a planning application for a two-stage project that will transform its current outside space and building.

Following months of design, pre-planning, community consultations, and gathering support from the local community, organisations, and MPs, the charity hopes to have a decision on the proposed development - designed by Lancashire based HPA Architects and Landscape Architect Laurel Truscott – by Spring 2024.

Based on Woodhill Lane, Morecambe, the first stage of the project is to be the landscaping of its field, adjacent to Acre Moss Lane, with improvements including two specialist lodges, accessible play area, cycle track, sensory gardens, and growing garden.

Works to Unique Kidz’s centre would take place during the second phase of the project and would include an extension and reformation of the internal layout to allow increased capacity and new spaces, such as sensory rooms, therapy suites and an accessible kitchen.

Jane Halpin, co-founder and trustee of Unique Kidz, said: "This project will be lifechanging; not only for the disabled young people and families that currently use our centre, but for those that currently cannot access our services to lack of space and our ever-growing waiting list of people who need our support.”

“We had some incredible feedback from the community, organisations, and MPs during our consultation process, so we’re now hoping for a positive decision on the planning application so that we can move forward with our exciting developments and crucially, Unique Kidz can support more disabled young people and their families.”

Zoe Hooton, HPA Architects director, said: "This is exactly the type of project I became an architect for. Our plans have been informed by a collaboration of extensive research in designing for differing disabilities, site visits to view best practice, but most importantly, by a series of workshops to learn from carers, teachers, parents, trustees, ecologists, and many of the young people at Unique Kidz, to understand what they would like and need for the future. We are incredibly proud to be supporting such an incredible charity.”

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