Cracking Ceramics

Thanks once again to our friends at West Notts College Adult Education Centre, we’ve been getting involved in some pottery sessions. People have been creating some totem pole style coil pots, decorated with relief patterns. It’s still work in progress, but the work created so far has been of such a high quality that we can’t wait to see the finished product! Check back soon for an update…

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.

A lot of fun at the allotment

Over the past few months our Mansfield Street based Support Worker, Lucy, has taken groups of clients to work on Space Inclusive’s very own allotment.

Lucy has had her own allotment on the site for six years. After looking for a site to use to launch her Grow, Cook and Eat scheme STAA (St Anns Allotment Association) very kindly offered us the shared use of the nursery. Additionally, they let Space Inclusive use the site rent free for twelve months.

Because of the previous user, the site was already set up with great facilities including a shared eating space and an incredible 50ft glass house!

The wonderful thing about allotments is the knowledge and understanding of self-sufficiency that a client can get out of working on it. To be able to grow your own fruit and vegetables helps teach clients about healthy eating and gives them an appreciation of nature and the world around them.

One client, Kate, has been helping out since May. “I’ve done planting, weeding, watering, chopping hedges, composting and growing tomatoes.” she says. “It’s nice and peaceful…it helps me relax”. So, has she got the gardening bug? Yes – “I’ll definitely carry on” she says.

Kate has already had a chance to try some of the produce from the garden, which is all organic. “I’ve had cucumbers, peppers and courgettes” she says.

Lucy is delighted with how the allotment has progressed, “It’s been a great opportunity to enable clients to experience nature through growing their own produce. We’ve gone from sowing to planting out and harvesting…”

“Having the opportunity to pick from fresh organic vegetables which are prepared and cooked on site for a shared meal has been fantastic” Lucy says.

The allotment is a relatively new innovation but it’s become an indispensable part of Space Inclusive.

Wear it well

A group of our Pelham Road clients have just finished a four month work placement at a local charity.

Sharewear is a charity providing free clothing, shoes and bedding to people in crisis in Nottinghamshire. They also have an outreach scheme to help as many people in need as possible, who for whatever reason are not able to make it to their referral sessions. It’s run completely by volunteers.

The role of our eager group of clients was to sort through the donations into different categories. For each item we had to do a quality check making sure the clothes didn’t have stains or rips and making sure it was suitable to wear.
The group learned a lot of new skills such as sorting, folding, and working with new people.

By the end of it all the group had developed good relationships with all the other workers there and were able to go work without the help of our support workers.

Over the time we helped out at Sharewear we formed a really great relationship with the charity. It’s certainly boosted the confidence of our clients, who received a certificate of achievement for their time volunteering there.

Now we have a new group of clients that have just started on a work placement there. Best of luck to them!

All sewn up

A group of our Pelham Road clients have been busy in the past few weeks at a textile workshop on a Thursday.
In the first week, clients started to make pillowcases and bags – something they chose to do themselves. This helped show Karen, the tutor, what level of skill clients had.

In week two, clients started to create some owl pillows. They pinned the pattern they created to fabric and cut out the shapes. Some also helped using the sewing machine.

In the third and fourth weeks, clients made candles. They also learnt how to make bunting.

Skills gained from the workshop include, working as a team, social interaction with others and learning new skills such as using the sewing machine in the correct way. What’s more, fun was had by all!

Bowled Over!

At Space Inclusive you’ll probably have gathered by now that we put a real emphasis on physical health as much as mental health.

There are so many sports that we have participated in over the years – tennis, cycling, swimming – however one sport a group of us are doing at the moment is a bit different to these; that’s because it’s a sport that isn’t just about physicality but tactics – it’s Bowls!

Organised in conjunction with two coaches from Disability Bowls England, we attended Rushcliffe Leisure Centre for several weeks. Our clients learnt how to throw a ball properly – which requires some technical skill I can tell you!

The two coaches set up a fun course in which clients (and support workers who also played) would score points by going through hoops and landing on different areas of the green.

Over the course of time our clients gained confidence and thoroughly enjoyed their weekly trip. It was especially beneficial to clients who may not have usually thought of doing sport.

We’d like to thank both of the superb coaches from Disability Bowls England for their work in making sure that everyone had a fun time and could genuinely claim by the end of it that, not only had they improved, but they were becoming pretty nifty at bowls!

On Target

We’ve got loads of new and fun activities which our clients are doing this year; one of the most fun is an Archery course that some of our Pelham Road clients have started at the Southglade Leisure Centre.

Archery is in Nottinghamshire’s DNA – you only have to think about Robin Hood to know that! In fact, there is still a law from Medieval times that states “All men under the age of sixty years shall have bows and arrows for shooting.” So technically, our clients are doing their civic duty by obeying this law!

More seriously though, archery is a fantastic way of improving hand-eye co-ordination and is also a new sport for many of our clients. Everyone who went thoroughly enjoyed it and they’re looking forward to going every Thursday for the next few weeks.