LEICESTER CHARITY REOPENS SUPPORT SERVICE TO COMBAT ISOLATION IN PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
A much-needed project that offers activities for people with learning disabilities to help them to make friends, learn new skills and have fun. The VALUES Project, run by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL), was forced to close to new clients due to the pandemic but the service is now one of the few services of its type accepting new referrals in Leicester and Leicestershire.
For over 20 years the VALUES Project has offered people with learning disabilities an opportunity to get out of the house, make friends and take part in fun activities. Through group activities ranging from ten pin bowling to music or maths and English lessons, VALUES has been a core part of daily life for many of its clients and helps them to avoid loneliness and isolation. Clients can pay for VALUES with their social care personal budgets, which means they get to choose which sessions they want to do.
In March, the service had to make the difficult decision to close to both new and existing clients during the lockdown. However, the resourceful VALUES staff team moved to delivering some of their sessions virtually, helping their existing clients to feel less isolated and giving them opportunities to see their friends and take part in group activities.
Now VALUES has reopened, with COVID-safe measures in place throughout their base on Newarke Street in Leicester to ensure the safety and health of all of their clients.
Mikaela Paterson, VALUES Team Manager, said:
“We’re really happy to be open again and doing some fun group sessions. We know from talking to our clients during the lockdown that lots of them have missed being a part of VALUES, doing their favourite activities and seeing their friends. It’s been especially hard for some who don’t fully understand why they can’t just come in and do all of the things they usually do with us.
VALUES is currently one of the few services in Leicester that’s open and offering group services. We’ve worked really hard and made lots of changes to how we run sessions, put in lots of COVID-safe processes and changed the types of sessions we run to make sure everybody is safe and happy.”