A RYEDALE-based charity which has helped hundreds of children and their families is launching an appeal to find a special home.

Ryedale Special Families (RSF) was set up in the early 1990s by a group of parents struggling to find the support they needed.

Each family had a child with a disability or special need, but felt the advice and services for their child was lacking in the Ryedale area.

The group continued to meet providing peer support until 1997 when they decided to become a more formal organisation with trustees and charitable status and RSF was formed. That same group has now grown to include more than 400 families, with children ranging from babies to young adults.

After celebrating its 20th anniversary, the charity is launching Get a Move On!, to find a place RSF can call its own.

Chief officer Lisa Keenan said: “We are now looking towards the next 20 years and our own building would be an amazing resource to enhance our support to local families.

“RSF wants to buy a building in Ryedale which will provide even better services. To do this we are launching a major appeal to raise £100,000 for a deposit on a building.

“We already have a substantial legacy bequest and two planned major fundraising events which will make a great start to the appeal. We now need the Ryedale community to help us reach this target.”

Parents are still at the core of RSF with a group of trustees who each have a child with a disability, which gives the charity a very family-centred approach to its work.

RSF provides advice and guidance, family activities, social groups for children and young people and a flexible care service for families.

From its base in Old Malton, staff travel across Ryedale to work with families in their own homes and take children to community activities like swimming, trampolining, play parks and sensory rooms.

RSF also has four established social groups for ages eight to 25 to help disabled young people have fun, build confidence and independence.

Djamilla Hitchins, chairman of the trustees, said: “We are a small charity which packs a big punch. Any Ryedale family who has a child aged up to 25 with a disability, illness or additional need can join.”

If you have a child with additional needs and would like to join RSF, or can support the Get a Move On! appeal, go to ryedalespecialfamilies.org.uk or phone 01653 699000.