Local support Hub future is secured
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Four drop-in centres around Warwickshire which provide support and advice for the learning disabled community have had their contracts extended until June 2015.
The Bromford Hubs, located in Stratford, Studley, Atherstone and Leamington Spa, will see their work providing drop-in support and activities continue after the council noted their excellent achievements.
Launched at the end of 2012, the Hubs aim to create a unique environment for adults with learning disabilities to explore courses such as music, jobs skills, staying healthy and computing. The hubs also offer local community groups a great place to host their own activities.
The Hubs were originally setup in the wake of Warwickshire County Council‘s restructure of adult support, which aimed to give greater choice over what activities customers want to take part in, rather than simply attending a day centre.
But for each Hub, working directly with the local community has been a strong part of the success. From charity events and local parades, the four support projects have ensured they stand out in their area.
We caught up with each Hub Advisor to ask them what went well in their area.-->
Senior support worker Hen Reynolds, who manages the Warwickshire Hubs, thinks the four venues will have a big part in the County Council’s future plans.
“We have been awarded the contract extension until 30 June 2015 and obviously we are really pleased! The council are about to launch a consultation for the learning disability from 14 March to 12 May which we will be supporting people to complete at all of the Hubs. The consultation will have a big impact on our customers; so we want to make sure they all have a say.
“We have built some fantastic relationships with local community groups and we’re going to continue to make these stronger. We’re always on the hunt for new projects and courses we can run, and ensure we really are at the heart of our local community.
“Hopefully, we’ll be helping people be their very best for many years to come!”
Each Hub offers a range of activities throughout the week.
To find out more about Hubs, view activity timetables and get in touch, visit www.bromford.co.uk/hubs.
Jess Tunley, Hub Advisor
We’ve had a fantastic year and a half in Stratford and so much fun in the process.
We raised over £400 for YouCan in a sponsored cycle on the Stratford Greenway.
The Stratford Hub is also part of the ‘Safe Place’ scheme, so victims of a learning disability related hate crime can come to us for advice and support.
We’ve been working with local health partnerships and the NHS to produce a health and wellbeing DVD using some of our customers For me it’s about combating loneliness for many isolated individuals and the Hub is a great place to do that. Customers with anxiety and other mental health issues can meet new people and feel comfortable within a group.
We’ve also done lots to ensure our customers can get into work, whether that’s through volunteering or thanks to one of our three educational courses.
There’s so many people we have worked with; Stratford College, Mencap Pathway, Tigerfeet, Adult and Community Learning, Stratford Job Centre, Find Your Voice and so many more.
Right now our big project is with the Royal Shakespeare Company, getting local people from Stratford with learning disabilities involved in the Shakespeare Birthday Parade. We’re building an art structure to represent the learning disability (LD) community and what Shakespeare means to them. Look out for us on the big day!
We’re also hoping to work more closely with local GPs. This will link in with our growing focus on health and wellbeing. I hope that the Hubs can become a well-known contact point for information and signposting for health and wellbeing. We also want to raise awareness of the issue of hate crime and help our neighbours understand LD community.
Trevor Underwood, Hub Advisor
We’ve had some great success over the past year with our numeracy courses. This is the second year that customers with mixed abilities have been entered for exams and we have a 100% pass rate with Adult and Community Learning. We’ve also been holding lots of computing courses, so our customers can get IT qualifications.
We’ve worked with lots of local agencies, but I’ll be focusing on projects with Mencap and the local Adult and Community Learning team. One of these projects includes pre-entry English which is a very diverse course including use of English in everyday situations, from reading train timetables to telling the time and even around topics like flu.
In the future I want to organise some performing arts classes, with the possibility of putting on a community pantomime.
Dan Jhuti, Hub Advisor
The team at the Leamington Hub have made some really strong community links with a focus on promoting healthy eating. We recently worked with ‘Incredible Edible’ to create a community garden, which helped us teach gardening skills but also produced fresh fruit and vegetables for the community.
We’ve also been working with Brunswick HLC to encourage walking and staying healthy and the local food Co-Ops for cheap and fresh fruit and veg. That’s not including the work with the Jobcentre and our (extremely helpful) PCSO team.
Coming up soon we’ve got some CV building workshops to tie in with our ‘preparing for work’ sessions, which will hopefully mean more of our customers can fight the ‘stigma’ of LD and get into full-time employment. We’re also launching ‘safety in the community’ sessions with modules like stranger danger, racism and e-safety.
A most recent success is partnership work to launch a new LD dating service in Warwickshire. That’s a unique project and will be fantastic for many of the community that use our service.
Maxine Bennett, Hub Advisor
Like many of the Hubs, we’ve been working with Adult and Community Learning to run lots of course. We’ve completed workshops like English and personal safety as well as our celebrations for the International Day of Disability.
We’re kicking off ‘top-to-toe’ courses from 6 June for 12 weeks (10am-12pm) looking at running as a way of staying healthy.