This week I attended an excellent event organised by Tenfold, a Leeds-based charity providing a forum for voluntary sector organisations supporting people with learning disabilities.
We’ve supported Tenfold for the last 3 years. It’s a rewarding and occasionally inspirational relationship.
Tenfold events are often chaired and led by service users – a broad spectrum of people with learning disabilities – with an able contribution from carers and support workers.
This event was about the “Being Connected” strand of the Leeds Learning Disability Strategy.
The themes included access to employment and volunteering opportunities; transport; and social and friendship activities “going out and having fun” – these are concerns common to all of us,of course; but the barriers for people with learning disabilities create challenges for them that few of the rest of us face.
We heard a great story from a volunteer at SLATE who now has a paid job at the White Rose Shopping centre here in Leeds. The opportunity of work experience led to permanent part-time paid job.
The centre manager explained how leadership in affording opportunities to a diverse group can be as simple as offering someone a period of work experience; they’ve ended up with a terrific employee who is as committed as any of his other colleagues, and earns his place on merit, without regard to his disability.
I was also impressed with a new Council initiative: Supported Internships – looking to place people with supportive employers who can expect help with funding, advice and practical support. A good way for businesses to give something back and to provide real opportunity for individuals to grow and develop their CVs. Find out more at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/leedspathways/Pages/Apprenticeships-in-Leeds.aspx.
It’s exciting to have the chance to see what else is going on in Leeds. Great to see representatives of police and transport companies present in addition to the expected support groups. Everyone pulling together with some real joined-up ideas to improve life in Leeds for people with learning disabilities.
Paul Scholey – Senior Partner