Parkdean Resorts UK Holiday Parks

Parkdean Resorts upscales Makaton integration to help non-verbal children enjoy entertainment offering

Parkdean Resorts by Parkdean Resorts on 17/04/2024
Entertainment at a holiday park

To mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week (18 – 24 March), Parkdean Resorts, the UK’s leading holiday park operator, has announced that Makaton has now been incorporated into elements of its Entertainment Programme delivery, allowing teams to communicate with non-verbal children.

A communication tool using signs and symbols, Makaton can either be used to support speech or as a main form of communication and is used by both children and adults with disabilities or learning difficulties. In 2023, Parkdean Resorts introduced basic Makaton training at its Trouper Academy for team members to cater for the increasing number of non-verbal children holidaying at its 66 parks across the UK.

The company has now incorporated Makaton into elements of its daytime programme across its parks on a weekly basis, with 284 Entertainment staff now trained in total.

Training sessions were led by qualified Makaton teacher Steve Moloney, known as ‘Sign With Steve’ through his popular social media channels. Following fantastic feedback from parents, guardians, and team members, Steve was brought back for more detailed training. The follow-up sessions introduced ‘signed song’ to the workshops, with Steve teaching signs to several pop songs and nursery rhymes.

Parkdean Resorts has also now filmed all of its weekly Tots Activity videos, which open up sessions aimed at children aged 5 and under at 60 of their parks. These now include Steve teaching a Makaton sign of the day.

Liam Beck, National Entertainment Lead at Parkdean Resorts, said: “Ensuring all our guests have their needs met is essential to us, and we want to make sure all children feel included when they’re enjoying our Entertainment programme. This Neurodiversity Celebration Week we’re delighted to share the strides we’ve made in implementing Makaton across our parks.

“Recent highlights have included Troupers signing our Starland Krazy gameshows – part of our evening entertainment for children – and Elves using Makaton within several of our festive activities for neurodiverse children during our Winter Wonderland breaks. We even have some team members who are so confident with the new skill that they are signing whilst performing within our production shows. We’re delighted with the feedback we’ve received so far and are excited to continue working with Steve to make our entertainment even more inclusive.”

Steve Moloney, Makaton teacher, said:“I’m passionate about spreading the message of what a powerful communication tool Makaton is, so it’s been fantastic to work with Parkdean Resorts’ Entertainment Troupers to upscale their training. Makaton is a really effective way to communicate for both children and adults, and it’s brilliant to see Parkdean Resorts embracing this to ensure everyone is included.”

Parkdean Resorts owns 66 award-winning holiday parks in some of the UK’s finest beauty spots and sell over 600,000 holidays a year, mainly to families. The company is committed to caring its Parks, People and Planet to create a positive environmental impact on nature and resources, and to acting responsibly for the long-term sustainability of the business.