Learning Disability Work Week

It was Learning Disability Work Week from 6-12 November. People with learning disabilities have a lot to contribute to society, including being engaged in voluntary work and paid employment.

Approximately 8 out of 10 people with a learning disability who are of working age have a mild or moderate learning disability, but less than 2 in 10 are in paid employment.

With a few reasonable adjustments however, we know that this statistic can increase. With the help, support and understanding of employers and colleagues, people with learning disabilities can be real assets to a workplace.

Currently, several of our clients are doing some fantastic work placements across Nottinghamshire. We have clients in placements at Nottingham Community Transport, the Pelham Kitchen cafe, Green’s Windmill and Arnold Clothes Bank.

One client, Clare, is doing a work placement at Sherwood Playgroup. Her boss there, Louise, says “She is an asset to the Nursery”.

We also have our crafts and upcycling shop, Spacecraft, where clients serve customers and are learning about stock maintenance and handling money.

Our Support Worker, Stella, explains why work placements are so important:

“Working gives our clients responsibility and independence. It teaches soft work skills in a real life situation.  For many of our clients, self-confidence quickly grows through starting a work placement.”

Changing people’s perceptions of what people with learning disabilities can do isn’t a quick process, but it is rewarding. Not everybody with a learning disability will find work suits them, but the current national statistics don’t reflect what great employees our clients can be!

For more Information about Learning Disability Work Week, which has been organised by the charity Mencap, please click on this link.

Autism Hour!

At Space Inclusive we are pleased to be supporting The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

Over the next week starting from today, shops and services take 60 minutes to provide autistic people with a break from the overload of too much information.

Businesses, from major shop chains to small local cafes, are participating all over the UK and holding their own Autism Hour. They will take simple steps for 60 minutes, from dimming the lights to turning down music.

The National Autistic Society have provided a map of all participating locations taking part in Autism hour. Click on this link to find out more.

Spacecraft – It’s Landed!

Spacecraft is a new creative shop project by Space Inclusive based on Hucknall Road. We took the premises on earlier this year; it’s a five minute walk away from our Pelham Road site.

Stella Dowbenko, our Work Placement Coordinator, has overseen a huge amount of creative activity since then and we are at a point when we will be able to open the shop to the public.

Stella said “It’s been a really exciting project to work on – I’m massively proud of the results!”

The shop’s ethos is based on creativity and upcycling. Upcycling is all about transforming by-products, waste materials or unwanted items into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value, which is just as well because Space Inclusive has always been an environmentally friendly social enterprise!

Our clients from Pelham Road, Mansfield Street and Mansfield Woodhouse have all helped in creating products for the site, from cushions to plant pots.

Meanwhile, on the site of the shop, Stella has worked with clients doing different activities such as spray painting, sanding down furniture and decorating to make both the shop and its contents top notch.

We’re really proud of the clients who have worked so hard in making the dream of a shop, where they can create and sell products, into a reality. All the hard work is about to pay off as the shop opens its doors to the public from 9am on Monday 22 May.  We’d love you to pop in!

Be heard!

On Thursday 8th June there will be a general election. It’s a chance for everyone to have a say about the future of the country as well as electing a representative in their area.

Sometimes people with learning disabilities think that voting isn’t for them. However, everybody is entitled to a vote and we at Space Inclusive want to encourage all of our clients who care about issues affecting them to register.

It’s very simple to sign up to vote: simply go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

You can also have a look at the Every Vote Counts Website by going to http://www.everyvotecounts.org.uk/voting/registering-to-vote/

Flower Power

National Gardening Week (10-16 April 2017) was launched six years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society and aims to become the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.

At our Pelham Road site we’ve spent many happy hours in our wonderful garden.

Over the years, we’ve seen it transformed from an overgrown jungle to a fun, colourful garden that everyone enjoys spending time in.

But don’t take our word for it, take the word of our clients:

“The garden is great. I like going out and spending in time in it when it’s hot”

“The garden is very nice. I like the shed at the back of the garden and I like the flowers in the summer”

“It’s big and large and I love the plants. I like having a barbeque there in the summer with other clients”

We’ve got loads of interesting features in the garden. One of our favourites is a pizza oven that we built for outdoor cooking!

The garden can also be a nice place for clients who enjoy peace and quiet to spend time in. It’s nice and secluded so provides a safe space for them.

At our Mansfield Street site some new plants have been put into the front borders and have really cheered it up! Passers-by have even commented on how lovely it looks.

The gardens are very good for wildlife and for all of our wellbeing. It’s great to celebrate it!

Planning ahead

A draft five-year plan for the future of health and social care in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has been developed. It’s called the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ (STP) for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

The plan considers how we can best improve the quality of care, the health and wellbeing of local people, and the finances of local services. This plan is a live document and will continue to evolve.

Both Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils want to hear back from stakeholders, such as parents and carers. For further information about the consultation, including information on how you can respond to it, please click on this link.

Have I got views for you!

There is currently a brilliant chance to have your voice heard.

People with autism need the Government to help them to find and stay in work. Without this, autistic people will continue to be left behind, their abilities overlooked.

We know how much they can contribute to the workplace – some of our employees are former clients and others have found success in sustaining work placements, sometimes succeeding in gaining paid employment!

The Government has launched a consultation to inform their plans for changes to the law about disability and work. The more people who tell them what support is needed for autistic people to get into and stay in work, the better chance we have.

You only have until 17 February 2017 to respond but we advise that you get your comments in as soon as you can.

The National Autistic Society have designed an easy and accessible feedback form on their website. It’s designed for Parents, Carers and Autistic people themselves. If you have just a few minutes to spare please click on this link and make your voice heard!


All in the mind

Our Communications Worker James has written this article to mark World Mental Health Day 2016 – Monday 10 October.

It’s a fact that Mental Health issues and Autism are interlinked. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I can attest to this myself having suffered from Depression. However, it’s not just my personal experience that bears this out.

More than 40% of people with Autism have a least one anxiety disorder at any one time. This is compared to 15% in the general UK population. Depression is also very common. At least 20% of the general population have Depression at any one time, but in people with Autism it is significantly higher.

What are the causes? Well, firstly it’s the struggle to cope with everyday life. For people without Autism that can be difficult, but when you struggle to focus on things and get confused by the world around you it can be a lot worse. People with Autism and other learning difficulties can often find it hard to cope with people looking at them disapprovingly.

But there are ways that we can change this.

Firstly, an increased awareness of the link between Autism and Mental Health issues. If the general public can understand its prevalence then they will begin to be more accepting of it when they see it.

Secondly, openness about it. There’s nothing shameful about having Mental Health issues. In fact, it’s quite understandable if you look at it dispassionately.

Thirdly, making friends and having more social connections. Many people with Autism can end up isolating themselves from society, whether by circumstance or choice. By making friends, doing activities and generally getting out and about, positive change can happen. And that’s where Space Inclusive comes in handy too. We provide activities and social interaction for our clients, and because of that they are happier and feel they can achieve more. Their self-esteem is lifted!

So, on World Mental Health Day 2016 spare a thought for people with Autism and other Learning difficulties who have mental health problems.

They’re also a valuable part of our society!