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“What an amazing night, it was so wonderful to see the community come together and support our Prom, it made such a difference to the people we support to have their own special night,” said Sarah Mitas, Team Leader at Make.
On Wednesday 11th December the Aldingbourne Trust hosted a Winter Wonderland Prom night at the at the Royal British Legion club in Lucknow Street Portsmouth. The Winter Wonderland theme was chosen to make it a socially inclusive event, so that people of all backgrounds and beliefs would feel welcome to come and have fun together. The night was attended by over 130 people, which included the people the Trust support, adults with learning disabilities and/or autism throughout the South coast and their families and friends.
Sarah and her team were overwhelmed by the support they have received from local businesses and the local community in putting together this event. The Royal British Legion Club supplied the venue for the evening, and local businesses including: Tepee Emporium who donated a flower wall, Victory Events for the balloon arches, Holly Walker and Luarla events donated chair covers and bows. Along with the decorations made by the team at MAKE the venue looked like a winter wonderland.
The evening started with a ‘prom ready event’ at their Make@Aldingbourne enterprise. Where local hairdressers and makeup artists turned the centre into a salon for the day, offering free hair styling and makeup for attendees to get ready for their evening. The Trust would like to thank Jade Paddell, Liz Dayment, Karina Castle and Heather Kaberry, gave up their time to help the prom guests get ready for their special night.
The community spirit did not stop there, as local families continued to support by helping to transport the guests to and from the event. Jo Suter and Nikki Mell spent the evening making sure the guests arrived and got home safely.
“It has been wonderful to see the community and services to come together and support what was a great evening,” said Sarah.
The evening was full of fun, friends and dancing with music from DJ Steve Kingsley from Kingsley Nightclub. With support from the Portsmouth Lottery Fund gifts were presented by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress enjoyed the evening, dancing along with the other guests. Steve Kingsley was given the honour of crowning the Prom King , Cameron Locke and Prom Queen, Tracy Holdcroft.
“I had the best time ever at the Make Prom, with the best mates I could have. I am made up I was made prom King.” Said Cameron.
“We want to create opportunities for the people we support to have fun and live the lives they choose. The evening saw a lot of old friends reunited, as they have grown up and not seen each other since school.” Said Sarah.
“Fantastic, what a wonderful evening. A huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers who made this wonderful evening happen.” Said Janet Hanby, from Havant.
“Thanks to the organisers of this prom. My daughter has been so excited waiting for the day to come and has loved getting ready, having her nails and hair done. I asked her this morning, did you enjoy yourself? She told me it was fantastic and fabulous. Definitely a success, I would say a massive thank you for making it so special,” said Jan Ann Huge, from Gosport.
The idea for the prom came from the people supported by the Make at Aldingbourne Trust, they wanted an opportunity to get dressed to the nines and enjoy with their friends, and to include as many adults with learning disabilities and/or autism along the south coast as possible. The event was such a success; the Trust and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth are already starting to plan another event for the Spring.
Visit our website www.aldingbournetrust.org for information about MAKE@Aldingbourne Enterprises, and more about our award winning charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live independent lives.
“Benjamin’s face lit up when he first saw the doll’s house, the project has meant so much to him,” said Gill Hunter Nudds, Earthworks Creative Instructor.
Earthworks, the creative arts team at the Aldingbourne Country Centre, enjoy making and creating arts projects with the people they support at the Trust. One particular project caught Benjamin Austin’s eye, when the Trusts former Furniture Restoration Lead Jim Thompson brought in a dolls house that he had made many years before for his own daughter.
The doll’s house had never quite been finished, so he thought it would make a great project for the team at Earthworks. On bringing the doll’s house to the Country Centre back in April, Benjamin’s face lit up and very quickly he said, “Can I do it?”
Benjamin has an interest in houses and interior design, so he was very excited to be able to take on the project by himself, choosing the colours to paint and the furnishings to decorate it. “He has a great attention to detail, so this was the perfect project for him,” said Gill.
As Benjamin is not at the Country Centre every day, it took him just over 4 months to complete. He wanted to give the house a modern feel, creating as much detail as possible, including handmade mosaic splashbacks for the bathroom and even making miniature picture frames for the walls.
The house had been on display in the Earthworks department, where it caught the eye of Mrs Huckle, who has been a customer at the Country Centre for many years. She bought the doll’s house with the proceeds to go towards the Earthworks department to continue their great work. Benjamin was delighted that she liked it and he is looking forward to doing another one as he enjoyed it so much.
"Aldingbourne really did come to town! It was a fantastic way of celebrating many amazing artists and getting into the Christmas spirit. Was great fun for all the family and my little one loved it.” said Jessica Head, Creative Arts Volunteer
On Saturday 7th December, Aldingbourne Trust hosted a Christmas Market at No73 Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis. Local crafters and the people they support had their own stalls selling Christmas crafts and gifts, along with a Christmas tombola, games, refreshments, and a visit from Father Christmas. Peter Spencer who is one of the creative arts students, had his own stall selling Christmas items and even hosted a book signing for his book the Bluegaloo.
“The Christmas Market on Saturday went very well - it was lovely to see so many visitors at No73 - thank you to everyone who came! We all had a great time and raised over £800 for our Creative Arts Studio” said Casper Rioseco, Community Solutions & Co-production Manager at the Aldingbourne Trust.
If you would like more information about Creative Arts and the support and services they offer, and to find out more about their award winning charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to live independent lives, please visit their website www.aldingbournetrust.org/creative-arts.
Santa Claus will be coming to town on Saturday 7th December. Join in the festive fun with the Aldingbourne Trust from 11am to 2pm at their Creative Arts Studio, No73 Aldwick Road Bognor Regis. Where they will be getting in the festive spirit with a charity fundraising Christmas Market in aid of the My Network project.
My Network Co-ordinator, Debbie Allsopp said, “The Christmas Market is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate their talents. Members have been making items to sell and will be around on the day serving teas, coffees, cake, mulled wine and mince pies.”
Students from their Creative Arts Studio have also been making goods for sale, so there will be a selection of Christmas gifts available to purchase, and a Christmas tombola offering the chance to win some wonderful Christmas prizes. There are also tables available for rent at £10, so if you crafty and would like to sell some items please contact Debbie on 01243 838539.
My network is located at No73 Aldwick Road, which is a welcoming place where people with learning disabilities can come to seek advice, find out information or simply meet friends and socialise. My Network aims to support social inclusion, and hosts social evenings every Thursday from 6-9pm, activities can include bingo, karaoke and quiz nights. They also provide a Saturday lunch club on alternative weekends, where members are encouraged to plan a meal, shop for the ingredients, then prepare, and cook the meal.
The Christmas Market will raise additional funds needed to continue the support they offer to adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. It will also support My Network to provide more events to the local community, continuing their support in providing social inclusion.
“The LOL launch party was an amazing experience. I am so proud to be a part of LOL, and to be able to deliver events that are so important and very much needed.” Says Emily Jazz Behan – Living Out Loud Volunteer
Local community groups, including the Aldingbourne Trust, Apulstock, Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies, launched their new Learning Disability and Autism friendly Clubs night at TAO in Bognor Regis on Wednesday 6th November.
Community Solutions Manager, Casper Rioseco said “The launch of Living Out Loud last night was a huge success with a resounding turnout. To see so many people enjoying themselves and feeling that they can be themselves and not have to worry about being judged in a safe and welcoming environment was a beauty to see.”
It was a huge turnout in numbers with nearly 250 attendees, with a variety of people of different ages coming together, from different walks of life, showing that having a disability and/or autism is not even a consideration to being able to socialise and most of all have fun.
They are already in planning for the next night, which will be taking place on Wednesday 4th December and hope to prove once again there is a demand for a full on clubbing experience within the local area for people with a learning disability and/or autism.
“The night was filled with good music, a great atmosphere and many happy faces. I can’t wait for the next one, and to see in the future the impact these events will have on the community.” Said Emily.
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.