June 18, 2019
A survey completed by Mencap found that out that of the 300 18-35-year-olds with a learning disability they questioned, 49% of them wanted to spend more time outside their house, and 18% felt alone and cut off from people. At New Leaf, we help people from all backgrounds reach their potential. One of those was Stephen.
When he was referred to the New Leaf team at Warrington Disability Partnership by his JCP job coach back in 2017, Stephen struggled in social situations and had only worked for short periods of time as a cleaner. His learning disability meant Stephen wasn’t always comfortable around people which made it hard for him to find permanent employment.
New Leaf isn’t just about finding work for people. It’s about building up all areas of a person’s life so that when the right job comes along they are able to give it their full dedication. For Stephen, this included learning how to look after himself, and the Warrington Borough Council’s Eat Well, Spend Less course was perfect for that. Stephen was able to meet other people as well as learning how to make nutritious meals and help cut out convenience food.
To help improve his confidence and give him practice in social situations, he enrolled in the WEA Confidence and Communication course. He was successful in achieving his RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement where he learnt more about looking after himself and has even completed a course on Cleaning Principles, so he was able to back up his experience with knowledge.
The one thing which has really changed Stephen’s life is volunteering. After being introduced by New Leaf Energiser, Lynn, in September, Stephen has been volunteering at the Silver Service Lunch Club every Friday at Westy Community Centre in Warrington.
Helping to make a difference to the lives of older people has not only allowed Stephen to brush up his cleaning abilities, but it’s also been a great opportunity to build on his communication skills and has really given Stephen a sense of purpose. The older people at the lunch club all adore him and the team he volunteers with say they couldn’t do without him.
Stephen is now putting his new skills and experience to good use and recently worked as a steward at the Neighbourhood Weekend festival.
New Leaf is led by Torus Foundation and is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and The National Lottery Community Fund.