The Wokingham Paper

How Building For The Future is planning to build for the future

Jane Holmes

Jane Holmes, CEO and Founder of Building for the Future, explains about its work

Building for the Future was set up in 2007 by a group of parents of disabled children with the aim of launching a community centre for disabled children and their families in Wokingham and surrounding areas.

After seven years of fundraising, alongside caring for their children, the parents achieved their dream and Our House was opened in 2014 by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Five years on and Our House welcomes more than 500 children and young people with disabilities thought its doors over the course of a year.

Activities such as Saturday clubs, after school clubs, holiday activities, physiotherapy, a youth group and much more.  The fully-accessible centre is also much in demand by organisations running events or services for disabled children as well as for private parties, which brings in around a third of the £70,000 needed each year to run it.

Volunteers make up the majority of the workforce, with just two part-time staff on the books.

In 2017, Building for the Future won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, a testament to the successful and efficient running of the charity.

Jane Holmes who was one of the founder members and currently CEO of the charity, said: “Despite the hard work, running Our House is hugely rewarding.

“We have lots of children visiting us and as parents ourselves, we well understand what families need and what will make a difference.

“We are neither affiliated to the Council nor the Health Authority and we receive no grants from them or any other statutory body but have been amazed at the generosity and the support of our local community.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped us to achieve this lifeline for families with disabled children.”

The charity has plans to expand its premises within the next five years, in order to incorporate a learning provision for young adults in our area, such as does not currently exist.

Jane said: “Put simply, the aim is that local colleges will be able to use the premises to run their specialist learning provision for young people with more profound disabilities.

“This will provide the charity with some of the necessary income to operate, but we also want to provide work for disabled people – and not just in a perfunctory sense – but a real career, recognising and building of those skills that everyone has, enabling them to contribute to society in a meaningful and fulfilling way.”

The charity is constantly thinking of original and exciting ways in which to raise funds and ideally to raise the profile of disabled children in our community at the same time.  One such way is through their ‘Giant Awards’.  Launched in 2017 and attended by Prime Minister Theresa May, the Giant Awards recognise those heroes working with disabled children in our local schools, health service and communities in general.

The next Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, March 22 at Sonning Golf Club.

For more information about the awards, email jane@bftf.org.uk.

Read more about Building for the Future – www.bftf.org.uk

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