The Discovery Community Fund has awarded a grant to a charity to enable people with learning disabilities in Somerset to have a voice and be active in community life.
The charity, People First Dorset, run Our Voice groups in Minehead and Street. They empower people with learning disabilities to talk about subjects that are important to them and develop their ability to speak up and address concerns.
The Discovery Community Fund allocates grants of £500-50,000 to groups throughout Somerset for a range of activities to enable people with additional needs to live fulfilling lives.
The members of the groups choose a topic every month which interests them and the sessions aim to be inspiring, fun and sociable. Members discuss subjects such as access to health, employment opportunities, suitable housing and social inclusion.
People First project worker Glenn Northcott said: “I have always wanted to help people with learning disabilities and mental health issues, and Our Voice has given me the confidence to empower others; and I have enjoyed seeing other people grow.”
Freddie Wolfman, who is a member of the group, says: “I like seeing my friends at meetings, and meeting new people.”
As a result of the group sessions people have more confidence, are more independent, develop a peer support network and make positive changes to their lives.
People First Dorset also run Our Voice groups in Yeovil, Taunton and Bridgwater, which are funded by Somerset County Council.