On the 26th July, HRH The Duke of Gloucester was invited to visit the Aldingbourne Country Centre, to see first-hand how award winning charity Aldingbourne Trust supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live an independent life and learn skills within a variety of social enterprises to develop into paid or voluntary employment.
On arrival to the Country Centre, HRH The Duke of Gloucester was received by Mr John Shippam, Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex and a Trustee of the Aldingbourne Trust; Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark High Sheriff of West Sussex; Cllr. Janet Duncton, Chairman at West Sussex County Council and Miss Frances Russell, Chair of the Trustees of the Aldingbourne Trust.
Mr Peter Stanley, General Manager of the Aldingbourne Country Centre, welcomed HRH The Duke of Gloucester and presented a tour of the newly opened Quarry Building; highlighting the facilities and specially designed features of the new venue, HRH was shown how the new Quarry Building had been designed to promote sustainability and reduce its future environmental impact.
After meeting some of the Country Centre staff, HRH was then given an escorted tour of the outdoor facilities, including the sand and water play area, and the new indoor soft play area. Visiting the wood recycling enterprise and furniture restoration project, he was greeted by Brian Alden the Wood Recycling Enterprise Lead and took pleasure in meeting some of the people the Trust supports.
To commemorate his visit to the Country Centre, HRH The Duke of Gloucester planted an Alder tree near the Country Centre orchard. The tree was grown from a seedling by one of the people they support and has been planted to eventually grow and create a sheltered resting area for future visitors.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester completed his visit to the centre by meeting some of the Trustees, volunteers and people the Trust support over a light lunch in the Quarry conference room.
Peter Stanley said – “It was an honour to provide a guided tour of our facilities and introduce HRH The Duke of Gloucester to the people we support. He appeared very interested in our charity and took the time to engage in conversation with staff and the people we support.”
The Aldingbourne Trust is an award winning charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live independent lives. The Trust are creating a charity cookbook to raise funds for the people that they support, and to help promote their health and wellbeing.
Through creating a cookbook we hope to raise the additional funds needed to run our workshops at our social enterprise, Number 73 Aldwick Road in Bognor Regis. Our workshops encourage the people we support to develop their culinary skills and discover healthy ways of cooking.
We are looking for help from the local community on this project. Would you like to share your favourite recipes? We would like to include recipes from: soups, salads, snacks, main meals and puddings, or anything you love to cook. You could also tell us your favourite family meal, and what makes it so special to you. The recipe book will provide quick and easy meals for us to share with the people we support, and it will also be available to purchase later in the year – just in time for your Christmas shopping.
As a thank you for your support on this project, we are running a competition, for your chance to win your own copy of the recipe book and a family entry ticket (for up to four people) to the Aldingbourne Country Centre. All you need to do is send your recipes to email@example.com, and provide us with your first name and location to be printed with your recipe. We cannot guarantee all recipes will be included, but you can send as many recipes as you like to increase your chances of winning. All entries must be submitted by the 31st August 2019.
We would also like to hear your stories of the Aldingbourne Trust, and what it means to you. You may have a family connection to the Trust, or you might have visited our Aldingbourne Country Centre. We would love to share some memories in the cookbook, to help people understand more about the Aldingbourne Trust and what it means to our local community.
Visit our website www.aldingbournetrust.org for information on becoming a Friend of the Aldingbourne Trust, and more about our award winning charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live independent lives.
We are pleased to announce that we will be running Pre-School activities from September in our newly decorated soft play area. Our dedicated pre-school activities room will provide a range of sessions four days a week during the West Sussex school term time. Activities will include: Art and craft, messy play, music and movement, woodland explorers and story time activities.
These sessions will be around an hour long, running in both the morning and afternoon, and will be specially created for 0-5 years. They will be inspired by different themes, such as shapes, seasons, cultural festivals and favourite characters/books. Each session will aim to promote children’s physical, communication and social skills, and will be fun, educational, interactive and inclusive.
The focus of each session will be “together time” for parents/guardians and their child/children, with the opportunity to explore, learn and develop together. Children will take part in play experiences provided by a fully qualified childcare practitioner, who will be on hand to chat to parents and build children’s confidence, imagination and concentration skills.
More information on our new pre-school sessions is available on our website www.aldingbournetrust.org/pre-school-activities. Spaces are pre-book only, so please visit our website to secure your space today. Each pre-school session is priced at £6 per child, (£5.50 for members). If you wish to explore the rest of the Country Centre on your visit, you can purchase a wrist band to visit our onsite activities.
The Aldingbourne Country Centre is open everyday from 10am until 4.30pm. With a woodland walk and playground, open farm, ride-on tractors, maze, mini golf, soft play, sand and water play, wooden train and castle play area, and delicious locally sourced and home-cooked food in our own onsite café which features an indoor slide.
On Wednesday 17th July the long awaited library community garden began to take shape. A very willing group of volunteers from one of the project’s funders, Southern Water, volunteered their time to get the project under way. Other funders include National Lottery (Awards for All) and Fonthill Community Foundation.
The volunteer day is the first of many planned by the project lead Aldingbourne Trust who are spearheading the project. The project aims to provide the community with a safe space to relax and enjoy and also for people to garden for those without their own gardens. The library has been kind enough to grant the Trust a licence for use of the garden and it is hoped that more and more people will visit the library as a result
The volunteer day was the culmination of 2 years planning and signified a momentous day. The temporary Garden Coordinator Lisa Palmer said “It’s great to be finally making progress!” A team of eight staff from Southern Water completed lots of hard work despite the punishing temperature including digging beds, sanding picnic benches, lots of weeding and pruning and preparing the fence for painting.
The design has evolved from a community feedback exercise that was carried out in November 2018 and most of the suggestions such as raised beds and benches has been incorporated. It will be fully accessible with wheelchair accessible raised beds and the planting scheme will have a sensory element to it.
The project has thus far been received well by local businesses and the following local businesses have provided their welcome support including Covers, Chalcroft Nurseries, Outside Interests and B&Q Bognor.
We have further community volunteer days planned on 14th August and 17th August when planting will get under way – another significant milestone in the project’s timeline. It is hoped that the garden will be up and running by the end of August. Once the garden is up and running regular gardening sessions will be scheduled for members of the community to help maintain the garden. If you are interested in volunteering, at any stage of the project please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Aldingbourne Trust set up a Transition Service in 2018, working in partnership with Chichester College, to enables young people with learning disabilities and/ or autism to learn locally and to live away from home. Learners at the transition service are supported to develop their independent living skills, and develop social networks and friendships. The service is available to anyone attending local college, and is linked to their time there.
One of our transition students Joseph Harrington is studying with Theatre Inc and Performing Arts at Chichester College. Recently Joseph took part in ‘Think Again’ a variety show full of singing, dancing, drama and musical theatre at the Chichester University showroom. The people we support alongside other company members amazed and wowed the audience with their outstanding talent. Joseph said “I had a great time performing in front of the audience, and it was lovely to receive a standing ovation at the end.”
Joseph has a talent with voices and is very interested in presenting and performing. One of his ambitions has always been to find a position as a weather presenter on the radio. One morning in January this year Joseph and his support worker took a stroll along the beach at Bognor Regis and popped into Radio Respect.
Radio Respect is an online Radio Station dedicated to mental health well being. It is run solely by volunteers, and all of their volunteers and presenters suffer with some kind of mental health issue. To help reduce the isolation surrounding mental health, Local G.P's refer their patients to them, to offer peer support and signposting. Radio Respect run shows that include phone ins, interviews and chat based around mental health and of course great music from a variety of genres.
Joseph explained to them what he would like to do, and was very happy to hear that the owner of the radio station was on the look out for a good weather presenter, so they gave Joseph an audition. Joseph did so well, everybody commented on how professional he sounded and how talented he is. Joseph said “Weather reporting is my dream job”, so Joseph arranged with the owner to go along one Saturday morning to pre-record his first session for weather presenting. He was so good at it that he was also asked to pre-record some news items.
Joseph is taking the role very seriously and makes sure he is staying up to date with all the latest weather reports and current affairs. He loves his new role as a weather and news presenter for Radio Respect and has been told that when he’s ready, he may well be given his own live show.
Liz Latter from Radio Respect said “Joseph is fantastic! He has only been coming in for a couple of weeks but in that time Joseph has picked up using the recording software really quickly. The first week he was so nervous and you could see it in his body language. But now he has really gained confidence, he speaks clearly and is very professional. He is a true gentleman! With a little bit more confidence building and practice with the equipment I don't see any reason why Joseph can't go live and have his own show”.
The Duke of Richmond, Patron of the Aldingbourne Trust, declared the Trust’s Quarry Building officially open at a celebration and ceremony at the Aldingbourne Country Centre on Thursday. The Duke’s family have supported the Aldingbourne Trust for many years - the Duke’s father had opened the Centre’s wood recycling project in 2006 - some of this wood is now powering the Quarry Building.
The Duke said, “The Quarry Building is the culmination of 10 years of designing, securing support, funding and construction. It offers a new vision for social care – where local businesses, the community and people who have learning disabilities and/or autism can learn, work and prosper. It’s a model which is attracting international attention. The impressive building is a new West Sussex gem which I would encourage everyone to visit”.
The Aldingbourne Trust took the opportunity to thank everyone involved in supporting them to raise the funds to develop and improve the facilities at the Country Centre. This included people who had jumped out of planes, scaled the Spinnaker Tower, cycled across the UK and Europe, and run marathons. Special thanks were also due to the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership. Tony Middleton, Chief Operating Officer said “We are delighted to support the Aldingbourne Trust, the space here is truly inspiring”.
Two of the Centre’s members, Sean Simmonds & James Weller, spoke about how much they enjoy being involved with all of the opportunities on offer at the Centre and their pride in the new Quarry Building. James said “The new building means a lot to me, it is a place to chat to the public, a place to work, have fun and learn new skills”.
James and Sean look forward to welcoming more visitors, to the impressive building, (which has an indoor slide, café, meeting rooms, shop), & the other enterprises on the site - wood, furniture restoration, horticulture, horse rug washing/repair, open farm and new children’s play areas.
The Trust recently celebrated Learning Disability Pride Week, which took place across Britain from the 15th to 21st June to celebrate people’s differences. Throughout the week our social enterprises took part in different activities.
The Aldingbourne Country Centre and No 73 took part in a Learning Disability Pride walk on Thursday 20th June, by hosting a daytime and evening walk. Staff and the people we support from the Aldingbourne Country Centre, took a morning stroll from the drop in centre at Number 73, Aldwick Road. Some of the people we support also enjoyed an ice cream on route, and had fun making the most out of the community gym equipment along the promenade.
In the evening, 26 people including the people we support, staff and Cllr Kenton Batley from Bognor Regis Town Council, met at our drop in centre at Number 73, Aldwick Road. They had a great evening walk and everyone enjoyed themselves. Members of the public were very interested in our cause, and complimented on what a lovely idea the walk was. Sweet Flamingo’s were also excellent hosts, as the walkers all enjoyed an ice cream in the evening sun.
Cllr Kenton Batley said “I was very pleased to be invited and felt the evening walk went very well. I was welcomed into the group by the members of No73, who are a great group. With them all coming together to share and support each other, to show that there is nothing that can stop them living life to the full”.
Milton Lodge, one of the Trust’s residential houses also took part with garden party on the Friday evening. Their manager Claire Lambert proudly tweeted “Music, beer, good food and laughter, celebrating all the fantastic people we support at Milton Lodge with family and friends new and old”.
Work Aid, which is a free service to support adults with learning disabilities and / or autism to find employment, have supported the week by sharing success stories on some of the people we support. These stories are available to read on the Trust’s news blog on our website.
The Aldingbourne Trust supports over 500 people with learning disabilities and / or autism in West Sussex and Hampshire. With over 15 social enterprise schemes including the Aldingbourne Country Centre near Chichester, our Aldwick Road charity shop and Number 73 Aldwick Road Bognor Regis, and MAKE in Portsmouth. Our social enterprises provide new opportunities for learning, being part of and supporting local communities and reducing our reliance on funding from the state.
People with learning disabilities can and do make a big contribution towards society. The world is constantly changing, and we want to close the gaps in need and look for ways of doing what we do better.
Powerful Trainers are adults with learning disabilities who are trained, supported and paid by the Aldingbourne Trust. Our Power Trainer make a difference by delivering a workshop to a variety of audiences, on attitudes and approaches towards people with learning disabilities by promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. We are based near Chichester and train across Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey.
During the workshop the Powerful Trainers of the Aldingbourne Trust provide first hand experience of the complications they experience with everyday life and welcome questions from the audience who are interested to hear about their difficulties, their challenges, their support and their achievements. What our Powerful Trainers say about the service they offer:
“I like the challenge of educating people with no knowledge of learning disabilities. We increase awareness and understanding. If you were in our shoes, what would you do?”
“We go out and train people about learning disabilities and what our lives are like. I enjoy it; I get to meet people and go to different places. We are trained to help other people.”
The workshop is designed to provide insight and understanding on what it is to have a learning disability and to function in society today. The learning is useful to all organisations, schools and colleges with a view to helping students or staff members gain a greater understanding about learning disabilities and autism. Information and experience is shared so that learners can understand how to support customers, peers or colleagues to access a fully inclusive environment and equal opportunities. “Powerful Trainers had a huge impact on my team and managed to shatter a few preconceptions” Anonymous
As a team we are involved with the NHS Springwell project, where a group of people with a learning disability are consulted on their experiences of using NHS services. Recent work with Springwell included working on an interview panel, interviewing for two lead positions within West Sussex – a General Manager and a Lead Nurse. It was a marvellous opportunity for our Powerful Trainers to speak up and establish what they consider to be important for learning disability care.
A representative from Springwell Project NHS said “Thank you for coming to the meeting today. You made very interesting and useful points that helped Helen a lot with her Occupational Therapy project. Please feel very proud of yourselves for all that you have done so far to make things easier for people with a learning disability. I am very proud to work with all of you.”
Work is now under way to set up the Trust’s latest project – a community garden at the library in Bognor Regis. This project is unique for Aldingbourne, and it links back to the horticultural beginnings of our charity.
The development of the community garden will be funded by grants already secured, including from Southern Water and National Lottery Awards for All, as well as by other donations.
We will be looking for volunteers from the local community, including people connected to Aldingbourne, to help create the garden. In the coming months, we will be sharing more information on how the project is progressing and how people can get involved.
Helen and the CAS Team are continuously amazed at the quality and skill in Matthew’s drawings. As a creative project, Helen asked Matthew if he would be interested in illustrating a colouring book based on the farm animals at the Aldingbourne Country Centre, Matthew was thrilled with the idea.
Working from photographs of some of the farm animals at the Aldingbourne Country Centre, Matthew has created some wonderful illustrations that really capture the characters of our animals. With help from Creative Media and the marketing team, we have been able to produce Matthew’s first colouring book, which will be available to purchase in our Aldingbourne Country Centre gift shop. Matthew thoroughly enjoyed working on the project, and is already working on ideas for his next book.