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Leonard Cheshire Disability - Bells Piece
Start date: 15 Aug 2016, End date: 14 Dec 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s leading charity supporting people with disability. Every year, we support thousands of people in the UK and around the world with physical and learning disabilities to fulfill their potential and live the lives they choose. We work for a society in which every person is equally valued. We believe that people with disabilities should have the freedom to live their lives the way they choose - with the opportunity and support to live independently, to contribute economically and to participate fully in society. In order to achieve this, we rely on well-trained, committed volunteers to provide high quality support to the people we work with.The EVS project will take place in Bells Piece, a Leonard Cheshire service located in Farnham, Surrey. Bells Piece run from one site operating 4 services for over 100 placements for adults with learning disabilities. The services include Residential services, Supported Living, Activities Service and "Our Kitchen" project. The services are a friendly and sociable to work and be involved with. The people they support have a range of learning disabilities including people with Downs Syndrome, Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. This project involve 4 volunteers and will last 12 months with start date in October 2016. The volunteers come from Greece and Spain and will spend their time in each of the 4 mentioned services, rotating every 3 months. Selected volunteers have background in special education, social work, psychology and physical education and they all expressed an interest in developing their competences in working with disabled people. They are a great match for Bells Piece as they have variety of skills and interests that will be most beneficial for the service users and at the same time will give the volunteers interesting learning opportunities. The overall aim of the project is to ensure that Bells Piece service users are provided with the opportunity to live their lives the way they choose - with the support to live independently in line with our organisational goal. The project will in turn raise awareness of disability issues as it is expected that the volunteers will gain more knowledge of disability, and that the residents will become more visible and active in the local community.Other activities may be included in the project on the request of the residents, staff and the volunteers as long as the activities will contribute towards achieving the objectives and overall aim of the project. Our volunteers will be actively involved in shaping their EVS experiences by developing the activities plan with residents and staff. We encourage volunteers to bring their own ideas, skills and passions to share with residents. As a result, the role is varied depending on their own skills and interests, and the needs of residents and the activities they like to engage in. Typical tasks within Bells Piece will vary on a one to one basis and include befriending, supporting people with social activities such as arts and crafts, creating art related products to be sold in Bells Piece charity shop, garden projects, sports, supporting with events and fundraising activities, getting the people involved, running IT classes.Volunteers also support on social outings, day trips and educational events such as attending college classes. Hence the delivery of activities is heavily influenced by the skills and motivation of our volunteers to design a creative and fun activity programme.The expected impact of project on the residents is that the diversity of activities and enhanced individual support will encourage residents to set new goals and be more open to try new things and in particular to contribute more to the local community. This will improve residents' confidence which we envisage will lead to long term benefits of getting residents to do things like volunteering, organising events, talking about disability issues in the local community and be more involved in decisions made locally and nationally in regards to the care sector and disability issues.The expected impact of the project for the volunteers is to become ambassadors for disability issues. It is expected that the participants will continue to promote disability rights and work towards a society that values disabled and non-disabled people equally. In addition, participants will improve their social skills through working and communicating with diverse people and gaining a better understanding and solidarity with people who face barriers to participate in society. The placement will provide the volunteers with the opportunity to gain insight into the social services sector, which may help them decide on a career path.
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