From education to employment

Bexley charity will help people with learning disabilities thrive

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Hundreds of adults with learning disabilities in Bexley will be helped to boost their confidence and develop life skills thanks to a scheme running in the borough.

Living Well will offer courses, workshops and groups covering topics such as keeping fit, cooking, using the internet, building relationships, staying safe and managing money.

The programme is being run by Re-Instate, an Erith-based charity which works to improve employment opportunities, quality of life and wellbeing for disadvantaged people.

It is being funded through a £170,000 grant over five years from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, which gives out £25 million a year to good causes across the capital.

City of London Corporation City Bridge Trust Committee Chairman Dhruv Patel said:

“Re-Instate is a well-established charity that does fantastic work helping people in Bexley to overcome the challenges they face, improve their lives and reach their potential.

“The real benefit of the Living Well scheme is that it will take a holistic approach in helping people to improve their wellbeing in all kinds of ways, from maintaining a healthy balanced diet on a budget to feeling more confident with money.”

The Living Well programme will base its activities on The New Economics Foundation’s ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ – in which people are encouraged to connect with others, be active, take notice of the world around them, keep learning and help others.

The sessions will be run at Re-Instate’s community hub, in West Street, Erith – when Covid restrictions allow – and at other venues in the borough or online.

Re-Instate CEO Simon Hart said:

“Often the problem people with learning disabilities face is overcoming low expectations and gaining the confidence to fully engage with their local community.

“We hope this programme will enable a substantial number of people to come out of it feeling more confident and more able to live independently and to deal with whatever is thrown at them – we’ll consider that a great success.”


Case study: ‘I get angry when people don’t think I can do things’

Tanya Hobson, 32, from Thamesmead first came to Re-Instate four years ago. She previously attended Bexley College, which suggested Re-Instate would help her to build on the skills that she had and help with her confidence.

Tanya quickly showed her determination to prove to people that she could turn her hand to many different things, including learning cooking and catering skills in Re-Instate’s five-star rated Basil’s kitchen and working with other Living Well members if they struggled with numeracy and literacy problems.

She particularly enjoyed working with students from the local SEN school, Woodside Academy, and made them feel at ease in the community hub when they were nervous. Most recently, Tanya has led a project to make and sell tea cup candles and as a result of her efforts has become a paid staff member at the charity.

She said: “I get angry when people don’t think I can do things, especially working with other people with learning disabilities. I’d like to show them that I’m better than they think I am.”


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