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The Kirklees Do Your Thing project

Author(s)

ALLEN Helen

Publisher(s):

Community Catalysts

Publication year:

2017

An evaluation of the Kirklees Do Your Thing project, delivered by Community Catalysts, to develop new innovative community-based activities for individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism. The two-year project, which employed a local catalyst, undertook a thorough community scoping exercise to identify organisations and people in Kirklees who might add value to the project; met people with a learning disability and/or autism interested in running an activity (called group leaders) and their supporters; supported group leaders to identify and connect with potential group members; identified community venues which could be used at no or little cost by group leaders to run their activities and formed strong working links with their managers; captured the journeys of the group leaders and showcased the outcomes of their work throughout the life of the project; established and strengthened a circle of formal and informal supports around each group leader to ensure the sustainability of their activity as the project came to end; and developed a set of ‘top tips’ for commissioners and other organisations keen to help other people with disabilities use their talents and interests to set up groups and make a contribution. The evaluation finds that with the right kind of help and support people with learning disabilities and/or autism will readily use their often-unappreciated gifts and talents to set up groups and activities that benefit other people. The project has also successfully challenged negative perceptions of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, helping professionals and families to recognise their strengths and gifts and the contribution they can make with the right kind of support. Key learning points include: it takes time to embed a project like this which brings radically new thinking into an area; some people prefer to work alone, and peer support groups may not work for everybody; establish the boundaries and be clear about the types of support that potential group leaders could or could not expect from the project; focus on the people who are really motivated; and work at people’s own pace. (Edited publisher abstract)


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