People with learning disabilities and their families want a menu of opportunities that they can choose from to ensure their days are busy, enjoyable and productive.
Rather than going to a traditional “day centre” some people with learning disabilities want access to a range of activities which can include education, training, volunteering or paid work in and with their local communities. We call these “day opportunities”.
In May 2014, the Health and Social Care Board approved a Regional Model for Day Opportunities for Adults with a Learning Disability and established a regional Day Opportunities Cross Departmental Group to oversee the implementation of the model.
Each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland currently provide access to different types of day opportunities.
The number and types of day opportunities available varies from Trust to Trust – and many of these are delivered by, or in partnership with, voluntary organisations as well as community groups, colleges, social enterprises and other statutory bodies.
Types of day opportunity activities can include (but are not limited to):
One such recent investment from the Health and Social Care Board , was with CAN (Compass Advocacy Network) who work with young people and adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues, have brought an exciting new venture to Ballymoney in the form of “The Hub” at CAN CAN Bazaar. CAN CAN Bazaar, in addition to being a retail space, also offer people with learning disabilities the opportunity to sample retail and gain key skills to move them into employment.
Delighted to fund this excellent initiative, Iolo Eilian from the Health and Social Care Board says: “This recent investment will further enable people with Learning Disability in the Northern locality to lead a full and meaningful community based service. The Hub will provide a focal point for the town, with a practical, affordable space for workshops, events, exhibitions, dance and exercise classes, exhibitions and conferences in the town centre”
Janet Schofield, Chief Executive Officer of CAN explained: “Having always had a presence on Main Street, we were offered the opportunity of taking on much bigger premises just across the road from our existing shop. In addition to relocating CAN CAN Bazaar, we are keen to make sure the community have lots of opportunities to get involved with CAN and we build upon the links we have made with local artists, crafters, and artisan food producers through our annual Causeway Bazaar. CAN runs numerous programmes including day opportunities, training and health awareness workshops for people with learning disabilities and are always looking for ways to connect into the local community.”
For further information on the day opportunities available in your local area, please contact your Key Worker or Learning Disability Office in your local Trust.