Since its launch at the end of last year, our Getting On With Learning Disabilities (GOLD) project has supported a number of people in Thanet, who either do not receive statutory funding or are moving out of the welfare system. Working in partnership with local organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Kent County Council Adult Education and Ageless Thanet, the GOLD team has signposted people to information and services relating to benefits, housing, debt and budgeting, volunteering, training and employment.
The project offers two drop-in sessions a week: Thanet Thinkers in Margate and Getting On Group in Ramsgate. These provide opportunities for people with a learning disability to share information with their peers.
The topics that were of particular interest to those that attended the sessions, ranged from volunteering and health to safety and advocacy. In response to this, the GOLD team organised a number of workshops provided by Thanet Volunteer Bureau, Kent Community Health NHS Trust, Kent Police, Jigsaw, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Learning Disability England.
Delivery Manager, Suzanne Derham, said: “I feel GOLD has started to make a real difference to people who don’t qualify for statutory services. By simply providing people with information and supporting them to access services helps them to maintain their independence, build confidence and feel less isolated. This wouldn’t have been possible without the members themselves, who helped us structure the project to meet their needs.”[Siobhan Rose O’Gorman]