Photograph by Brian Whitehead
On Wednesday 17th January, the GOLD Project welcomed over 80 guests to the opening of their new office. Getting On with Learning Disabilities (GOLD) is a lottery funded project which supports people with a learning disability living in Thanet to achieve their goals, so they can live the life they want. Thanks to funding from Big Lottery Fund, the project has been able to open a hub in Cliftonville which will serve not only as their administrative base but will support more people who need help by operating a weekly drop in session.
The grand opening highlighted what GOLD does as well as celebrating everything the project has achieved in its first two years. To kickstart the event, Big Lottery Funding Manager for Kent, East & West Sussex, Jane Haddock, cut the ribbon to officially open the doors and guests heard speeches from GOLD members on how the project has helped them. During his speech, Ben Constable, who regularly attends GOLD, said; ‘I have made a lot of friends at GOLD. There are activities to do, so I am not stuck at home doing nothing. I am less lonely now.’
Local artist, Stacey Chapman of Art Sea Craft Sea held an engaging workshop during the day with the aim of creating a dynamic window display for the new premises. On the day she asked the question; ‘What does a learning disability look like to you?’ Guests used colourful materials and made dynamic shapes to create a visual representation of themselves for the display.
Various members of GOLD volunteered their time to ensure the day was a success with Tanya Post and Rosie Veasey signing in guests on arrival, welcoming them with chocolate. Neil Kerbey and David Tate, informed guests on EasyRead information, along with regular social groups people could attend to meet new people and useful websites to know. Videos of activities and highlights of the project so far were shown on a projector along with photos of various outings and activities. GOLD volunteer, Brian Searle was on hand for the duration of the event to ensure people were enjoying themselves and to give out refreshments. Brian is retired and has been volunteering for the weekly social club for the past 18 months.
The new office is located at 215 Northdown Road and is open for visitors on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm, if you think the GOLD project can help you feel free to pop in during this time or phone 0845-004-1876 to book a private appointment.
Big Lottery Funding Manager for Kent, East & West Sussex, Jane Haddock, said; ‘One of things I love about working for Big Lottery Fund is that we get to see amazing projects like this come to fruition, after much hard work and dedication from staff, volunteers and the community itself. While Big Lottery provides funding, it’s the people here that helped to turn a great idea into reality and bring people together to help others fulfill their potential.’