Learning Disability Work Week

We are currently in 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.

Bike Club

At Space Inclusive we have loads of great ways to engage our clients, and one at our Workspace site in Sherwood is the bike club.

The premise is really simple, it aims to help our clients learn more about bikes, whether it’s maintaining and repairing them, or riding them. The skills clients gain are numerous, from problem solving and team-work skills to some practical and vocational experience that can be used if clients are taking the next step to paid employment.

Our support worker, Dave Bevan, says “All the clients in the bike club get a huge amount out of it. They are learning new skills and are developing a real interest in bikes”.

Sew far sew good

A group of our clients have been busy working on some fabulous handmade items at the Textile Workshop on Mansfield Road.

Over a six-week course they will learn skills such as sewing, knitting, pattern cutting, dress making, printing, art, felting and embroidery. Many of the items created during the course will, in time, go on sale at our shop, Spacecraft. An example of the work being done is a lovely bouquet of flowers made from pipe cleaners and buttons!

One of our support workers, Kelly, says “The course is a great way for clients to get creative and focus on creating some fabulous items. It’s also a perfect way to help the mindfulness of clients.”

We would especially like to thank Karen Taylor, the tutor taking the group every Thursday morning, for her time and obvious enthusiasm.

Shan

Shan came to Space Inclusive two years ago. She has CHARGE Syndrome, which affects her ears and eyes. As a result of this Shan has unfortunately lost her sight. However, Shan was driven to succeed despite everything and this has been helped by a great sense of humour. “Since school,” Shan says, “my dream was to work in an office”.

With the help of Staff Inclusive staff, Shan has found a Work Placement – Volunteering at Nottingham Community Transport’s Sherwood depot one morning a week. Shan’s placement includes answering the telephone, contacting clients to let them know when their transport will be arriving, booking transport, typing up documents and photocopying.

Shan needs some support for these tasks but, with the reasonable adjustments in place, she is very independent. Nottingham Community Transport have been very supportive and will soon be introducing Dolphin Guide Software to help Shan even more.

Aside from her Voluntary Work Placement, some of Shan’s other achievements include using public transport with minimal support from staff and helping to create fabric products to be sold at our shop, “Spacecraft”.Shan is keen to make her own hot drinks using a liquid level indicator which gives her more independence and confidence.

“Space has allowed me to be myself, my own person and given me the confidence to express myself” Shan says. “With the help of the staff, I have been able to achieve my dreams”.

Mount Cook Adventure!

Our clients have just had a fabulous few days of activity at the Mount Cook Adventure Centre in Derbyshire.

Mount Cook is located in the Derbyshire Dales, not too far away from Matlock and a stone’s throw away from the Peak District.

It’s very new – having only opened in July 2016 – but already has a great reputation for providing access to the outdoors and outdoor activities for all!

Clients from all three of our sites, Pelham Road, Mansfield Woodhouse and Sherwood enjoyed their visit.

Activities included archery, bushcraft, caving, guided walking, team challenges and watersports.

Our Senior Support Worker, Brie, said “Everybody had a really enjoyable time. It was good in building independence and building friendships as well.”

In the evening there were more fun activities, from a campfire to a film night and a disco.

The trips were a fantastic opportunity for clients from different sites to meet and make friends with each other. It was also a chance for staff from different sites to meet and work together.

Our thanks go to all the staff at Mount Cook. If you would like to know more about them, here is a link to their website.

Lee

Before he started attending Space Inclusive in March 2015, Lee had been to a youth club a few times but he wasn’t otherwise particularly active.  However, from the very moment Lee came through the door of our Mansfield Street site, Workspace, we knew that he had lots of potential. Some of the early activities he remembers doing include map reading, cooking, working out at the gym and gardening.

Lee hadn’t really been to the gym much before he came to Space Inclusive but his self-motivation and commitment paid off, as he managed to lose 9 stone. Lee is very modest about this brilliant achievement but it’s clear through this that he has considerable willpower; in fact, because of his success, he had thought about helping to induct others.

One of our Support Workers, Stella, told Lee about a new Space Inclusive shop venture called ‘Spacecraft’. His willingness to help out and his commitment made him a perfect fit for the shop and he’s done several activities there including woodwork, sanding, manning the phone and working on the till.  This experience is providing him with fantastic transferable skills for the future. Lee’s ethos of customer service is very simple, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the customer.” he says.

Lee enjoys being at Spacecraft, however, with an A Level in Information Technology, he is also looking out for any opportunities to do computer-related work.

There are plenty of other achievements Lee can be proud of – he’s been on a framework bike maintenance course, completed a Ridewise Level 1 course in cycling proficiency and has put a bike back together by himself.

Stella is delighted with the progress Lee has made:

“Lee is an essential part of the Spacecraft team – he’s brilliant with customers and has a good sales pitch He gets on with morning tasks and needs no prompts. He keeps the staff smiling with his Austin Powers quotes!”

He was an ideal client to do a case study of in Stella’s point of view. “It is wonderful to reward Lee for his hard work”.

Poetry In Motion

We’d like to thank our client, Stuart, who wrote this fabulous poem about why he likes attending our service.

Entitled simply ‘Space Inclusive’, it encompasses a lot of reasons why many of our clients enjoy attending Space Inclusive. Stuart is a client at our Mansfield Street site. Thanks also to our Support Worker, Kelly, who let us know about the poem in the first place!

A towering success of a day out

A group of clients have spent the day at the Carillon Tower Museum in Loughborough.

The museum is run on a day-to-day basis by a team of volunteers. It’s a great place to find out about the past, whether that means simple curiosity about the wars fought in the 20th century, seeking information about an ancestor or more serious research about events and those who took part in them. All the exhibits are donated by members of the local community.

Our Support Worker, Scott, went with clients from Pelham Road. They went as Ashley especially has an interest in the history of the Second World War. They got to wear some of the exhibits at the museum too!

They all really enjoyed the day. Ashley was especially happy to see objects at first hand rather than just watching documentaries on television. History is always more interesting if you can touch it – it makes things come to life more and everyone understood a bit more about the history of the Second and First World Wars after their visit.

Thank you to the volunteers at the Carillon Tower museum for making us feel so welcome!