Social enterprise, Community Catalysts CIC supports people to explore their passions and to think how they might put these to good use.
They know that people with a learning disability and those on the autistic spectrum have skills, interests and talents that are often unseen and untapped. People with passion and purpose can make great employees, be entrepreneurial and/or make a real difference in their community. All of which can help them to be active, contributing members of society which is good for their personal health and wellbeing and for the wellbeing of their community.
Community Catalysts recently designed and managed the Do Your Thing co-production project in Kirklees funded by the Council and Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Groups. Do Your Thing helped people with a learning disability or those on the autistic spectrum to set up and run social activity groups. Many groups had both a self-help and peer support focus. Everything was done in the spirit of positive partnership with people, families, providers and local people. People like Mike who has a learning disability and was helped by Community Catalysts to use his love of gardening to set up a gardening group, leading his peers whilst also making friends and busting social isolation. Or Sophie who is on the autistic spectrum, was struggling to see a positive future and was helped to use her passion for Lego to set up a social group, linking with a local speech and language therapist and gaining a position as a volunteer therapy assistant with the NHS Trust along the way.
Off the back of Do Your Thing Community Catalysts has just started work on a new project called So What, What Next, funded by the Local Government Association (LGA), based in the Black Country and running to June this year. So What, What Next is part of the national Transforming Care programme and is the idea of the National Empowerment Steering Group who are supported by the Local Government Association (LGA). Transforming Care has a focus on getting people with a learning disability and/or autism out of hospital and back into their communities. Everyone agrees that getting people out of hospital is important but making sure people have good lives out of hospital and don’t end up being readmitted is important too.
This project is working in partnership with people who have recently moved out of hospital, their families, care providers and supporting professionals. Together we are thinking about different ways of doing things and finding new ways to support people to have good lives, make connections and contribute to their community. All the work builds on positive activity already happening locally and is totally committed to valuing people and what people CAN do. Not the challenges they have and what they can’t do.
It is early days, but we have already been blown away by the positivity and creativity of professionals and specialist care providers working with people before and after discharge from hospital in the Black Country. They seem eager to grab any opportunity to learn and to shine a positive light on their practice and people’s achievements.
The Local Government Association, the empowerment group and Community Catalysts will share learning from the work in a project report, blogs and articles presentations at Transforming Care and other similar events. Anyone interested in learning more should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org