Friday 1st December was the beginning of the countdown to the holiday season. It was also the day of the workshop to start the co-design of the service specification for the Time to Shine Learning Disability Community Development project.
Over 20 people, a good mix of older learning disabled people, carers and service providers, gathered at the Unity Business Centre to thrash out what was most important to them and other older learning disabled people in having opportunities to socialise at different times and places across Leeds.
A lively discussion was facilitated by Kath Lindley from Tenfold and Rachel Koivunen from the Time to Shine team. Margaret Bell, a trustee at Leeds Older Peoples’ Forum and retired teacher of SEN pupils attended and shared her knowledge and experience with the group too.
Some key themes have begun to emerge; older learning disabled people must take the lead and be supported to communicate their needs and wishes, as a city we have much to learn about where people are living, what they want and what the barriers might be to having choices in friends and relationships, partnership working would help the money stretch further, offer new opportunities and links to existing activities such as LEEP the Bridge, Luv2meetU, Good Life Leaders and Keeping in Touch. People left the workshop feeling positive and excited about the potential for the project and with some ideas as to how they might be involved. The funding for the project will be open to bids in February 2016.
Anybody wanting to talk about what should be included in the service specification or who would be interested on being on the panel to assess the bids can contact Rachel Koivunen by email at email@example.com by Friday 15th January. She would love to hear from you about your ideas and experiences.”