The Isle of Wight is small but thriving and full of life. We have a vast community of people here, of all different cultures and abilities. I am writing this to raise awareness for those who are not so able.
Mary Bowdery writes:
With 7.34 %, the IOW has one of the highest percentages of adults with learning disabilities, its nearly double compared to UK average of 4.27%. These adults are all people who want to lead normal lives and contribute to society. Just like you or I they need/want a purpose and a reason to get out of bed.
I became aware of these figures and facts after starting work with Way Forward; this is a local Island charity, which has looked at individual needs and caters for them. They run group activities to work on skills such as Computer, Drama, Cooking, Craft, Equine and much more these groups work not just on practical skills but also on social and life skills which are fundamentally important to everyone. They also provide one to one support, for people like my own brother (who has Fragile x syndrome and attends the Way Forward programme). This is designed for people who need more individual attention, or for short breaks and respite. We know that adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues are not all of the same learning ability; they are all individuals and have different degrees of capability and ways of understanding. We work with a over 100 customers at Way Forward, but there are many more adults out there who may not be aware that these opportunities are available to them or don’t realise they can lead a more fulfilling life and are perhaps, sat at home with the TV just like my brother was before he realise he could get involved in the community.
I want to raise awareness that these people are out there, giving their time in the local community. We support people by helping them carry out work experience in charity shops, librarys, schools and also doing many conservation projects, like Green Gym, Ventnor Botanical Gardens and Quarr Abbey to name a few; My brother has gone from sitting at home 7 days a week with the occasional trip to the shops or cinema with my mum, to volunteering in the British Heart Foundation and working on a market stall each week, he also now has a group of friends that are his peers and is much happier, all because programmes like the ‘Way Forward’ have given him the opportunity to do so.
A programme like this needs a constant supply of funding and support, for example, Way Forward are currently trying to raise money to buy a mini-bus, so they can transport people who aren’t independent safely. They are appearing at many festivals, have organised a fun run, and are putting on a charity show at Medina theatre July 9th, a family fossil hunt July 28th and much more. So far this year they have raised around £1000 and hope to raise a lot more. They need and are looking for local business to support us and help us out.
Way Forward is here for people 7 days a week. Everyone faces challenges in their lives and some people have to face these challenges on a daily basis. The people I am writing about are Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, Cousins, Mums, Dad and Friends and It’s important for us all to work as a community and to respect each other; we all have to remember that we were all born into this world and are all human; we just have different talents and abilities. Everyone needs a purpose and I want to make sure everyone is given the opportunity to have one.
This article has been read 681 times!