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Learning to lead independent lives

31 January 2013


BIG’s Pat Cook recently went back to the classroom, but this was a class with a difference. It was great fun!

Recently I visited the Learning at the Centre Project in Basingstoke, Hampshire, which received over £241,000 from BIG’s Reaching Communities programme. The project supports adults with learning disabilities and helps them to lead independent lives.

It has already helped over 140 people with both learning and physical disabilities – running courses on independent living skills while producing a training film called ‘How to Talk with Me’. This was made by people with learning and physical disabilities. You can watch it in this blog, above. How does it make you feel?

I joined week one of the group’s independent skill course on money management which in many ways teaches much more than that. It encourages learners to feel confident about meeting up with friends, shopping independently, and being comfortable with sorting out the correct change for the bus or paying bills. The class was lively with lots of fun activities, piles of money to sort, and happy conversations about how good it is to feel independence.

One particular leaflet drew my attention. It featured the poems of people living with Aphasia, often caused by stroke damage to the language centres of the brain. This can result in difficulties in communication that impact on every aspect of life.

One memorable line from a poem captures so well the sense of challenges in re-learning language: ‘Seeking, struggling to find the golden key, releasing, finally the imprisoned words sending them on their long forgotten journey.’

Pat Cook is Policy and Learning Officer in BIG South East region

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 January 2013 10:54 am

    Always good to hear about BIG people getting out and engaging with your grant holders and customers.

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      31 January 2013 10:58 am

      Thanks for your comment, Doug. Yes, staff certainly have much to gain from visiting our fantastic funded projects. This is just one of many doing great work with BIG funding. Scroll back through the BIG Blog for other inspiring stories from across the UK.

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