Home » News

Category: News

‘Our new strategy’ – Jane Jones, Allsorts’ Charity Chief Executive writes on our blog

I love it when one strategic plan concludes, and another begins! It provides a unique opportunity to reflect on our past achievements, celebrate our successes, and motivate ourselves for the future. Our busy schedules mean there is not often the chance to celebrate much before starting the enormous task of setting the next strategy. But the team are feeling excited for what our next chapter will bring.

We started strategic planning in the summer last year, finishing in the dark of winter, whilst also setting the budget needed to meet our plan. Finally, we launched in April this year. We were lucky to have free external facilitation by Granger Forson, from BizSmart, who worked with our team and trustees to help us identify our priorities.

As always, at the heart of our strategic planning were member families and what they’d like us to do, and what we can do for them. We know that members wish us to be ambitious and we know many share our vision of what the future might hold.

Our priorities for the next five years are to:

  1. Find a new home in Stroud. Our current premises are now too small and can’t offer enough flexibility for a wide range of needs. We are growing too, with attendance at our activities increasing by 895% in just six years!
  2. Increase opportunities for families to connect. We aim to reduce isolation and build resilience by providing more fun activities and family support in various locations beyond Stroud.
  3. Break down barriers to accessing activities. With expert knowledge and specialist resources, we will streamline our sports activities to focus on disability expertise in football, dance, trampolining, boccia, and swimming. We will also be imbedding better communication practices via our digital platforms and in activities.
  4. Remain agile. Having survived and thrived through the challenges of COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis, we understand the importance of flexibility and sustainability. We plan to generate income through new posts, focus on our wonderful trading arm, YuGo, and establish a larger volunteer network.

The next five years promise to be challenging, yet exciting! If you feel you can help us achieve our strategy, please join us on this journey.

Jane Jones, CEO


Allsorts link up with Pro Global as Charity Partner

Allsorts are delighted to announce a new, exciting partnership with Pro Global – a team of specialist insurance experts with a large influence on a national and international scale.

Pro Global has chosen Allsorts as a charity partner, a collaboration which will see the Gloucester Pro Global branch support a variety of our activities, projects and fundraising events.

“It was great to pop along to Pro Global offices in Gloucester recently to meet Patrick Francis-Lang and Maea Browning. The Pro Global team were headline sponsors at the recent So Glos Lifestyle awards and voted Allsorts their Lifestyle Business of the Year for 2024.

“At the meeting Rosa Barratt, Allsorts Deputy CEO and I were thrilled to hear that Pro Global would like to support us as a Charity Partner in 2024. Thank you Pro Global for your support, we look forward to working with you!”

Rachael Fletcher, Head of Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships at Allsorts

Several members of the Gloucester Pro Global team are also going above and beyond to support Allsorts, by taking on an Inflatable 5k Obstacle Course challenge to raise funds in aid of Allsorts.

We’re encouraging Allsorts supporters to join the Pro Global team and bounce their way through the ultimate inflatable adventure, while fundraising for Allsorts. Taking place on Saturday, 19th October at Cheltenham Racecourse, click here to get involved.

Partner with us!

Become an Allsorts Charity Partner to help make a difference in the local community and join a network of businesses.

Click here for more information or contact Rachael Fletcher ([email protected]), Head of Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships, to get involved.


Harry makes a splash with great swimming achievement

At Allsorts we believe that learning to swim is an essential life skill. Since June 2023, we’ve engaged with over 70 family members through over 580 swimming sessions at National Star College.

One participant who has benefitted from one-on-one lessons is 14-year-old Allsorts member and Belmont School pupil, Harry Chilman.

Since joining Allsorts, Harry’s confidence and ability in the swimming pool have really developed.

“When he first started swimming, he hated it,” explained Harry’s Mum, Sadie. “Harry would be kicking and screaming, he would not put a foot in the water. He loves being in the water now. On holidays he’s in the sea, it’s nice to see Harry enjoy water, instead of being frightened.”

The individualised Allsorts lessons have helped Harry thrive in the water. “We hadn’t tried mainstream lessons; I was wary of how many children participate. It wasn’t the environment for him. He needed one-on-one support with the teachers, because he was afraid of the water.”

Through perseverance and hard work, Harry’s swimming has improved greatly, with the 14-year-old forming “amazing relationships with Allsorts’ staff”.

“Harry and swimming coach Dan always talk about football; he lets Dan know how bad Chelsea are! It’s taken Swimming coach Lily just six months for Harry to swim unaided. He would never put his face in the pool before, and she’s helped him overcome that.”

Harry has Kabuki syndrome – a condition that affects one in 32,000. “We were told when he was born, that he possibly wouldn’t see, talk or walk, but he’s defying it all. Rugby, football, swimming – anything sporty, he loves it. It’s important Harry has that life skill. If he’s anywhere and there’s water around, if he was to fall in, he’s got the skill that he can swim.”

Alongside lessons, Allsorts offer Family Swim Sessions where the whole family can enjoy the water. Sessions are held in the fully accessible swimming pool at National Star College, with hoisting available for those who need it.

While our swimming lessons are very popular and have great impact on our participants, the sessions are currently underfunded and we still need £9,594 to keep them running. We’ve had some incredible support so far, with £15,220 already donated, but our target is £24,814.

With your help, these lessons will continue for many more young people, enabling them to have fun whilst learning a vital life skill. Please donate if you can.


Allsorts members have boatloads of fun on Cotswold Boatmobility Trip

During the May half-term, 30 people had an amazing experience at Cotswold Boatmobility on an Allsorts family trip.

Eight families travelled along the Stroudwater Canal in Katakanus, a Wheelyboat and a pontoon boat, enjoying everything the water has to offer, before having a floating picnic and paddling their way back.

We loved our boat trip, thank you all so much!

Eloise – Allsorts Member

Cotswold Boatmobility are a group of volunteers aiming to make boating accessible to all on the Cotswold Canals. They offer an opportunity for the elderly, the disadvantaged and those who may have mobility issues or learning difficulties to experience the water.

Based on the Stroudwater Canal at Harper’s Field, they have different types of boats available to suit different users and their needs, with a choice of paddling or cruising. There’s five Katakanus, a Wheelyboat which accomodates most types of wheelchair and a new pontoon boat which is also wheelchair accessible.

This really was a lovely trip, allowing everybody to enjoy the beautiful local scenery and wildlife from the water.

The Boatmobility volunteers were brilliant and even supplied half-time refreshments. I can’t wait for the next trip.

Sasha Waring, Short Breaks and Family Trips Manager

Cotswold Mobility aim to be free for guests and therefore rely on grants and donations to exist. Their motto is ‘Fun and Freedom on Water’, allowing guests to enjoy the water, get up close with wildlife and to learn about Stroud’s industrial heritage, with families, children and young people all welcome.

Join us this summer for more boating fun!

We are delighted to join with Cotswold Boatmobility again in August, to offer a multi-boat trip along the canal with a stop for a floating picnic, before turning and making our way back.

  • Thursday 1st August
  • Stroudwater Canal at Harper’s Field near the new auction rooms, Ryeford
  • 10:45am – 1pm

Email [email protected] to express interest in this trip. There is no charge but donations to Cotswold Mobility are encouraged.

What a lovely day we had! Being on the boat was lots of fun for our family. We arrived at the pontoon where we were warmly welcomed and helped into our life jackets. We felt like we were off on a real adventure!

The boat was fully accessible, so it made our son, who needs a bit of extra help, enjoy it without any issues. We sailed down the water, passing interesting landmarks, searching for nature and talking to the wonderful volunteers at Allsorts and other families.

We stopped for a picnic lunch on the grass where we chatted about all the things we had seen and sailed back to the start, looking out for lots of things on the way. Everyone of us had a lovely time and we were all supported and included.

Holly – Allsorts Member

‘He’s blossomed’ – Lowell’s journey at Cheltenham Stay & Play Sessions

Our Stay & Play sessions are for children with additional needs or disabilities aged between 0-11 years. The sessions are an opportunity for children to play with a range of toys and engage with others in a safe environment, with Allsorts staff on hand to deliver games and support parents.

Since November, Allsorts have run a session at Belmont School in Cheltenham. Six-year-old Lowell’s story is particularly positive.

After attending his first session in the autumn of 2023 and intially being quiet and reserved, Lowell has now “blossomed” according to his mother Anne-Marie, and is starting to interact and play with other children.

The session’s design, location and timing were major elements in attracting Anne-Marie and Lowell to the Cheltenham Stay & Play.

“The sessions appealed to us because it’s geared up for children with special needs,” explained Anne-Marie.

“It’s after school and just round the corner from us so we can walk there, the timing of it is great.

“We’d been going to soft play sessions for the general public and it’s not ideal for Lowell at all, due to his behaviour and the reaction of the other people around him.”

Lowell has formed positive relationships with Allsorts staff at the Stay & Play sessions, with our team’s experience with children with additional needs a key factor in supporting Lowell’s play experience.

“The Allsorts staff really understand him. In other things we’ve been to, the people there don’t necessarily understand why he might be behaving in the way he is.

“He loves it. It’s a fantastic session and facility to have available in Cheltenham. It would be a bitter loss if it weren’t available.”

What’s on offer at Cheltenham Stay & Play:

  • Sensory toys to play with and borrow
  • Soft play area, a sandpit and outdoor adventure playground
  • Our amazing interactive Magic Carpet
  • Sports and games with one of our coaches
  • A chance to meet other local parents
  • Fully accessible with a spacious toilet

“Lowell loves the soft play, he loves the variety of toys they have available. He likes the magic carpet and he loves being able to access the sand pit!”

Siblings and family members are welcome to the Stay & Play sessions, with the time also a good opportunity for parents to connect with others and share experiences.

Thank you to Cheltenham District Council for funding these sessions.

Come along and join the fun!

Our Cheltenham Stay & Play sessions recommence on Thursday 20th June, at Belmont School, Warden Hill Road, Cheltenham.

Starting at 3.30pm – finishing at 5.15pm, drop in anytime during these sessions. Booking is necessary, head to our activity bookings page to secure your spot.

If you’d like to speak to a member of the Allsorts team about our Stay & Play sessions, don’t hesitate to get in touch and contact us on 01453 750474.


‘Awards Galore’ – Jane Jones, Allsorts’ Charity Chief Executive writes on our blog

On the evening of 16th of May 2024, I rather reluctantly left the house to head to the SoGlos Lifestyle awards, at the Sub-Rooms in Stroud. The reason for my reluctance was a poorly dog who looked at me woefully, with big brown eyes, as I left. But I had a promise from my son, Jacob, that she would be well looked after.

As I drove in, I reflected on the different feelings I might have, if Allsorts won, or not, and the difference that this would make to our team, the families we work with and our supporters. I dared to hope that it might be possible to win the ‘Charity of the Year’ category, but I knew that we were up against some wonderful Gloucestershire charities, so anything could happen!

I met Rosa, Allsorts Deputy CEO and we walked in together to a tremendous welcome from the SoGlos team. This was all new to me; I have never been to an awards ceremony before. I quickly picked up on and joined the nervous anticipation and excitement of all the charities and businesses there. Rosa and I enjoyed chatting to a couple of local business owners and employees, The Canteen in Nailsworth and Woodchester Valley Vineyard.

Then the awards started, with 19 categories of business and ‘Charity of the Year’ the 18th to be announced. Each category had a sponsor who came up onto the stage for two announcements, one for highly commended, the other for the winner. Watching the celebrations of the winners was brilliant, with the audience cheering them on – especially the local Stroud winners!

By the time our category was announced, I was beginning to get hopeful that maybe we could achieve ‘Highly Commended’ and that would be a fantastic recognition of the work Allsorts does. But no, one of the other charities were highly commended. Then before I had any time to process this, Allsorts was announced as the winners. WOW!

Rosa and I received our award and were ushered into an area for photos and to join the queue of winners to be interviewed by CEO of SoGlos, Michelle Fyrne. All of a sudden, we were called back into the entrance of the awards hall to hear who the overall winner was, and to our absolute amazement, it was Allsorts.

Rosa and I made it back onto the stage somehow, both of us can’t really recall how we did, but the photos show it all, we were ecstatically happy to have this recognition of Allsorts team’s hard work.

Thank you to Pro Global who were Headline Partner of the event and chose us as ‘winners of the winners’.

As always, life is a rollercoaster and by 9am the next morning, I was learning that my beautiful basset hound needed emergency surgery! She has made a great recovery and has forgiven me for leaving her. So, a really happy ending – in all ways.

Jane Jones has been the Chief Executive at Allsorts since 2020

Trained and qualified as an Occupational therapist. Jane soon developed an interest in working with families who had children with additional needs, providing equipment and adaptations.

Jane is the proud mother of four sons, one of whom has many challenges in life. It was he who first brought her into contact with Allsorts. When her family moved up from Cornwall to be closer to both family and the Bristol hospitals.

She has two basset hounds and her son, Jacob, has a shitzu cross. They enjoy walking them and generally spending time with them. Jane has been involved with Allsorts since 2018.


Allsorts and Home-Start Gala Dinner

Date: Saturday 5th October 2024

Time: Arrival 6.30pm until 12 midnight

Venue: Stonehouse Court Hotel

Allsorts and Home-Start Gala Dinner!

Help Allsorts celebrate its 15th birthday with Home-Start who is celebrating its 25th birthday this year!

Our Gala Dinner with our local charity colleagues is a great way to kick off Autumn 2024!

  • The evening starts at 6.30pm with welcome drinks
  • Enjoy a three-course meal
  • Music from local band ‘Too Old for Toys’
  • Auction and raffle
  • Tickets are £70 per person
  • Discounts available for a table of ten (please contact us)

Help us fundraise for these two great charities by taking part in our auction and raffle on the night!

Support the event with our corporate packages

We’ve lots of Corporate sponsorship packages available:

  • Table Sponsor – for one of our ten tables
  • Entertainment Sponsor – for our evening entertainment
  • We also have floral sponsors for table displays and half and full page adverts

If you would like to discuss these packages, please email:
[email protected] (Head of Corporate Partnerships).

Event sponsor: Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell logo

Allsorts scoops two wins at SoGlos Lifestyle Awards

We are pleased to announce that we have won two awards at the SoGlos Lifestyle Awards 2024. We scooped up ‘Charity of the Year’ initially and then overall winner of the evening ‘Business of the Year’.

The event, which took place on Thursday 16th May at The Sub Rooms, aims to celebrate businesses and organisations doing great things in Gloucestershire. The competition was fierce, with a record 250 businesses shortlisted and over 22,000 votes cast – thank you to those of you who nominated us

The next stage involved those with the most nominations in each category being recognised as finalists. The winners were then chosen by a panel of judges, made up of representatives from each of the category partners.

Rosa Barratt, Allsorts Deputy CEO says: “I’m just so pleased that the hard work and dedication of our team has been recognised. Receiving these awards in our 15th Anniversary year is particularly poignant!

“We’re lucky to have such a variety of businesses and charities in Gloucestershire, all working to make our county a great place. The awards really highlighted this and we felt proud to live and work alongside some of the best!”

To see all the winners and photos from the event, please head to the SoGlos website.


Sizzle for Allsorts this Summer!

Host your own fundraising BBQ or enter our Summer Raffle.

Nothing brings people together like a BBQ!

This summer we are asking you to turn your next BBQ into a fundraiser for Allsorts.

It is easy; just bring your friends, family and colleagues together for a BBQ and ask them to make a donation or if you organise your event before 1st July 2024, buy a raffle ticket and be in with a chance of winning a new BBQ. Why not have a burger flipping or stacking competition or offer entertainment to make it a real summer party!

Big or small, whatever the occasion, your BBQ for Allsorts will help us fund all-important social activities for families with children with additional needs.

Make sure to share your Sizzle on social media, and tag Allsorts in your BBQ pictures for us to share with our followers!

Click here for your BBQ fundraiser invitation and bunting templates.

How your donation could help;

  • £15 could provide a support worker for an hour at one of our activities or support sessions.
  • £50 could pay for a toy library session for an hour for up to 20 families.
  • £70 could pay for an information and advice session for parents and carers.
  • £100 could pay for a dance club for 12 young people with additional needs.

Go to our JustGiving page where you can donate your fundraising – THANK YOU

A FREE ‘Sizzle for Allsorts’ apron for our top fundraisers

Sizzle for Allsorts

Our top ten fundraisers will receive a FREE Sizzle for Allsorts apron.

Our limited edition aprons have been kindly donated by Black Mountain workwear and are a great one-off memento or gift.

Everyone is encouraged to join in the fundraising – families, businesses or pubs.

Please read the full terms and conditions at the bottom of this page *

WIN a BBQ in our summer raffle

The summer fun continues with our fantastic raffle! From a BBQ worth £250 kindly donated by WSP Solicitors, to a family Chalfest ticket or a Cream Tea for two, we’ve got lots of fantastic prizes for your perfect summer!

Tickets cost £2 each and the draw will be made on 1st July 2024.

1st PRIZE

A family barbeque

2nd PRIZE

Family ticket for Chalfest July 2024

3rd PRIZE

Four tickets to Wookey Hole

£30 Highfield Garden voucher

Cream tea for two

Solar garden lights

Tubby Toms BBQ sauce set

YETI children’s drinks bottle

£20 Love to Shop voucher

Thank you

A very special Allsorts thank you to our raffle prize donors.

Chalfest logo
Highfield Garden World logo
The National Trust logo
The Original Factory Shop logo
Tubby Toms logo
Wookey Hole logo
YETI logo
John Stayte Services
* Apron competition terms and conditions:

At the end of July contact us with your fundraising total.
Confirm how you have banked funds: Paypal, JustGiving, BACS transfer (using Sizzle, surname).
We will collate figures and announce our top ten fundraisers at the start of August through email and our social media channels.


YuGo engage with 70 participants at Gloucestershire SEND Tag Rugby Festival

In the penultimate week of April, Allsorts’ delivery arm YuGo engaged with 70 participants through the YuGo SEND Tag Rugby Festival.

Held at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, the festival was attended by six Gloucestershire specialist schools:

  • The Milestone School
  • The Shrubberies School
  • Belmont School
  • Heart of the Forest Community Special School
  • Bettridge School
  • Alderman Knight School

A mixture of students from across key stage two, three and four made up nine teams for the festival, with participants enjoying fun games and drills, alongside matches and tournaments.

Jordan, a teacher at Heart of the Forest School, said: “It’s been really good, very enjoyable. Great coaches from the Hartpury perspective, really well ran and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“I think it’s great from a social element, having the opportunity to mix with other pupils is fantastic.”

In collaboration with YuGo staff, the festival was ran by Hartpury College students, with pupils studying an Extended Diploma in Sport acting as coaches, officials, marshals and supporters for the day.

Tom, Hartpury College student, commented: “It’s been really good, it’s nice to see the children coming together from lots of different schools and playing each other, with plenty of sportsmanship being shown.

“The participants have really engaged with our coaching and officiating which is really helpful and it’s been great.”

Ollie, Hartpury College student, added: “I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been good seeing the children get involved and seeing them improve over the day. Everyone’s learning and enjoying themselves and if they’re not we’re trying to help them.

“I’ve enjoyed watching Belmont, I think they’ve been the most exciting to watch and there’s a few characters in their team.”

Alderman Knight School and Belmont School lifted the trophies, finishing the festival as tournament winners, while various schools received unique awards from Hartpury students for showing specific values or sportsmanship in their play.

Edd, a teacher at Belmont School, remarked: “We’ve been doing really well, some of the matches have been quite interesting. We’ve had some really good play, some nice camaraderie from the children, adults, staff members and the Hartpury coaches.

“I’d definitely recommend these events to other schools for the future. Everybody has got together and we’ve all had a nice time.”

YuGo are exercise engagement pioneers and are dedicated to raising funds for Allsorts via surplus profit. They support education providers to develop programmes which engage and inspire children of all abilities into a life long love of exercise.