FAMILIES of children with disabilities gathered in Kidderminster to celebrate the first birthday of a service that provides short breaks for them.

Barnardo’s Worcestershire Community Short Breaks Service gives children the chance to enjoy time away from home, try new activities and make new friendships.

The first birthday party, attended by families from across Worcestershire, support workers, volunteers and council staff, was staged at the service’s main base, Brookside Children’s Centre in Borrington Road.

Worcestershire Community Short Breaks children’s service manager Angela Ayliffe said: “Our first year has been a great success and we have worked with 24 new children and taken on 19 new support workers and volunteers.

“We want to build on this by recruiting further, which will enable us to work with even more children.

"Many of the children or young people are mobile and healthy but have a learning disability or are on the autistic spectrum, which means they may be excluded from many usual activities and need supervision and help.

“We see all the children as children first, who have the same dreams and need for fun and socialising as other children."