OaKley joins the Chapelton community!

It’s been an exciting start to the year here at Chapelton as ambitious new plans to build the North-east’s first play and life skills facility for those with additional support needs (ASN), are well underway! 

OaKley Play and Life Skills Centre is a not-for-profit social enterprise and the vision of Laurencekirk mum, Amanda Greig. Carefully thought out to specifically help children and young people, it aims to provide invaluable individualised support and guidance for families across the region.

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Amanda Greig

The new space is going to be built on a plot directly across from the new town’s primary school in the heart of Chapelton and will be led and run by a team of expert staff.

Also a drop-in centre, the facility will offer sessions for children and young people where they are encouraged to play, learn, cook, bake, relax, burn off energy, make friends and develop life skills in a safe environment.

Amanda, who has a child with ASN, said the idea for OaKley was borne from the ‘very real sense of isolation’ she and her family experienced due to a lack of support, resources, and understanding.

“Our son’s diagnosis changed our whole world, and the last few years have been difficult and demanding,” said Amanda.

“We very quickly became aware that there is a huge gap in services in Aberdeenshire – there is currently no central hub of information, support, and guidance for families that can advise and help parents and carers on how best to make informed choices about their young person’s life, education, and care needs. 

“I have spent the past 16 months visiting various facilities across Scotland and, while there are lots of excellent charities and parent-led groups, most are specialised. There is nothing that encompasses everything. 

“The aim of OaKley is to provide an inviting and inclusive environment for children and young people with ASN, where they can grow and play, build confidence, develop life-skills, and make friends. It will be a place where families can be themselves and enjoy a real sense of belonging.”

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A dedicated outdoor area is also being incorporated into the design and OaKley will also have opportunities for day respite at weekends. Additionally, it’s also going to be a space for parents, siblings, grandparents, and carers, where they can join in the activities or meet other families for support.

The Duchess of Fife, Director of Elsick Development Company which owns Chapelton, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome OaKley to the town. The growth of Chapelton has always been so much more than simply offering houses, it is about growing a community. 

“We are fortunate to have a design team and the development space to be able to accommodate every type of facility and this ties in very well with our aspirations.  I know that the Chapelton residents have embraced the idea and we really look forward to the reality of OaKley at the heart of Chapelton’s first neighbourhood.”

Amanda added: “The Duke and Duchess of Fife have been very supportive of OaKley and we are extremely grateful for their involvement and the opportunity to establish the centre in the lovely surroundings of Chapelton. It’s the perfect place to grow our service as the town grows around us.

“The journey we have navigated as a family over the last few years has made me determined to never let anyone experience the loneliness, isolation, and exclusion we have been through, and to make every child and young person with ASN feel like they belong, are valued and are respected.”

To find out more about OaKley Play and Life Skills Centre, visit https://oakleyasn.org/ 

We can’t wait to see the facility progress!