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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.
At the Aldingbourne Trust, we run our free award winning Work Aid service funded by West Sussex County Council. Work Aid aims to match adults with learning disabilities and / or autism with suitable work placements, to support employment opportunities, challenge long-standing stereotypes about disability, and refocus attention on the abilities of the individual.
The people we support work through a tailored programme to prepare them for the world of work including skills training, assistance with job applications and supported inductions with employers.
The Work Aid programme empowers individuals by raising their self-confidence, independence and self-esteem while challenging perceptions of disability in the workplace.
Learning Disability Week takes place in May each year. As part of this awareness week, we would like to tell you about Luke, who is one of the Trust’s Work Aid clients.
Luke was referred to the Work Aid for support, as he has autism and has also suffered from anxiety and depression. He was living alone, unemployed, and had little contact with his family.
We provided an employment consultant to support Luke, to get to know him and build his trust, to enable us to understand his needs and what would make him happy. As a result we found out about his great love of aircraft.
The Work Aid team successfully made contact with a company based at Gatwick Airport who are responsible for aircraft cleaning. By helping Luke throughout the application process, and supporting him during his interview, Luke was offered a job and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Luke now describes his autism as his ‘Super power’, as he was able to achieve his lifetime ambition when the ground crew servicing a Boeing 777 jet offered him the chance to get a close up view of the engine.
As a result of his employment, Luke has increased his social circle through becoming a well respected member of staff at work. He has also grown in confidence and now has more contact with his family.
Here at the Trust we are very fortunate to have over 201 volunteers throughout all our enterprises. From volunteers at Number 73 Aldwick Road, in our charity shop, as part of the Adopt a Station project and at the Aldingbourne Country Centre. Every single volunteer makes a real difference to the people we support.
So as part of Volunteer Week we have been taking the opportunity to thank all our volunteers here at the Trust.
Nigel volunteers in our Earthworks department on a Thursday each week, and has been doing so for just under a year now. He brings support, creativity and a smile each day he volunteers. Not only does Nigel volunteer in Earthworks, he also gives up his time to help transport the people we support from our supported living services to Chichester each week.
Colin has been volunteering with us since 2012, he volunteers in our Adopt a Station Project, which goes out to local railway stations making sure that the planters are watered, topped up and looking beautiful. Colin also organises Adopt a Station social events, such as bowling nights, to keep the team happy and connected.
Jean has been one of our core horticulture volunteers for almost three years now. She regularly helps to ensure the grounds of the Trust look tidy and welcoming. She also delivers weaving workshops in Earthworks.
Volunteering for the Trust is a truly rewarding experience as well as a fantastic way to learn new skills, meet new people and get involved in your local community. We have a variety of volunteering opportunities across all of our projects, so we are sure to have something to suit everyone. We couldn’t do it without you.
We also have regular support from many corporate volunteers from organisations including: Southern Water, Body Shop, Mercers, and The Kitchen Store. They have helped us by clearing our greenhouses, painting and decorating our new children’s tractor play area, and general maintenance tasks around the country centre, which has helped us save over 1352 hours per week.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or have an organisation that would like to “give a day to charity” please contact Tracy Milward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website www.aldingbournetrust.org for information on our event days, becoming a member, and more about our award winning charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and / or autism to live independent lives.
Throughout the year, the Trust takes the people we support out and about on day trips around the local area. Most of these days are organised by the Aldingbourne Country Centre and funded by the Friends of Aldingbourne Trust, which is an independent charity committed to supporting the work of the Trust. Everything they do is dedicated to facilitating the Trust’s activities and promoting independence and inclusion for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
With the help of the Friends of Aldingbourne Trust, the Aldingbourne Country Centre have had a busy spring calendar of events, including:
In April they had two trips to High Beeches at Handcross. Their Gardens consist of 27 acres of woodland and water, so there were a lot of rare, exotic and award-winning plants to learn about. They enjoyed a lovely lunch in the tearooms, and everyone was quite tired at the end of the day from all the walking, but it was a great day out.
On 29th April they enjoyed a trip to a football tournament. The Aldingbourne Country Centre is affiliated to the Sussex County Football Association, and we have our own official registered team ‘Aldingbourne Country Centre FC’. Everyone had a great day out, and they all received a certificate for taking part.
On Friday 24th May the farm group enjoyed a wonderful day out to the New Forest Wildlife Park. They saw lots of exotic animals, including deer, wolves, otters, owls, wild boars, ferrets and a lynx. They had a guided tour from the lovely guides Laura and Vicky, and were told all about the habitats and behaviour of the different animals in the park. It was fun and interesting and everyone had a great time.
Also in May, the Aldingbourne Country Centre organised to take two groups swimming at the Arundel Lido. Before they enjoyed a swim, they helped out by doing a little bit of gardening to tidy up the flower beds. Everyone worked really hard at getting things tidied up before enjoying a well deserved dip in the pool, followed by refreshments in their café.
Visit www.aldingbournetrust.org/friends for information on how you can support our charity by becoming a member of the Friends of Aldingbourne Trust.
On Saturday 18th May, Make opened their doors to celebrate their Spring Fling. The team and the people we support made us proud, as they started the day with a performance of ‘This is me’. This was greeted with cheers from the local community who had come along to support us on our special event day.
Throughout the day there was live music and performances by Puffin Boy, Hannah Clarke, Amba Tremain and The Mary Rose and Royal George Street Dancers. Along with games, face painting and crafts, they were also joined by local providers including Boogie mites, Southdowns and Havant College and The Learning Place.
At 3pm they hosted a bake off competition, where the judging took place by Stephen Morgan MP, Amba Tremain and Julie Lawn. They enjoyed trying all the wonderful cakes, before announcing a winner. The cakes were then packaged up to be donated to the charity for the homeless HUSH, and Southsea Fire Station. Stephen then proceeded to present our hard working team with their well earned City and Guilds certificates.
The whole day was wrapped up with a fantastic raffle, very happy faces and a feeling of community. One lady told us “I’ve never seen so many happy faces. We visit Make all the time, and it was lovely to be part of this day. I’ve laughed, cried happy tears and laughed!”
Keith, Father of Sophie one of the people we support at the Aldingbourne Trust said - " The run went very well, It was a pleasure to raise money for such a good cause and it made all the training worthwhile."
Keith achieved his personal best 3:39:14 which is absolutely fantastic!
Thank you Keith for supporting the Aldingbourne Trust and raising an amazing £1000. This will truly make a huge difference!
Recently the farm group from the Aldingbourne Country Centre enjoyed a wonderful day out at the New Forest Wildlife Park. They saw lots of exotic animals, including deer, wolves, otters, owls, wild boars, ferrets and a lynx.
They had a guided tour from the lovely guides Laura and Vicky and were told all about the habits and behaviour of the different animals in the park. It was fun and interesting and everyone had a great time!