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Blog / News

Getting back to things

Welcome to the first of our Assist Trust blog posts, where we give you the news about what’s been going on at Assist Trust, the different plans we have for the future and about other things happening, which you might be interested to hear about!

Following the relaxing of COVID restrictions, we’ve been delighted to be able to see more of our members, who have been able to attend Assist for their usual days since July 26th. Members have spoken fondly of feeling like it’s more ‘back to normal’ again, with the different group sessions available on the timetable, accessing the community as part of groups, work placements slowly starting again and members undertaking travel training to get to their work placements or access local shops.

The timetable

The members at Assist have seemed to really enjoy getting back to a ‘normal timetable’ again, with the current timetable providing the opportunity for 68 groups to take place over the course of the week in our buildings (Colegate and Lazar House), in the community and of course in our café at the Norman Centre! Speaking of which…The Meeting Place café is back and running again and providing valuable work experience to 13 members each week where members have, once again, been able to work on their skills making and serving hot drinks, as well as their customer service and money skills.

The community based groups (which have been thoroughly missed) we’ve been running this timetable include such groups as Fun for Free; Out & About; Dog Walking; Football and Visiting Historical Places.

In our buildings we’ve seen the welcome return of such groups as Healthy cooking, Fake-away (healthy takes on the take-away favourites!), I challenge You, sweet making, animation, build and design, money & budgeting, Assist Trust Newsletter group, Fine Motor Skills, Employment skills and Stress busting movements (to name but a few from that list 68 groups!).

Travel training and work placements

The travel training and employment team have been busy, carefully finding opportunities for work experience placements and travel training to resume again. At the time of writing we have 16 members who are either currently undertaking (or have completed travel training) and 13 members who are currently in work experience placements and being supported through relevant job-coaching. With time we hope that this number will continue to increase to enable more of our members to gain valuable work experience to build their employment skills, confidence and wellbeing.

 Real life events

Since ‘getting back to things’ we’ve also seen the return of real life events (which aren’t just on Zoom!). This started off with a small event at the Heath gardens as part of Learning Disability week, with members enjoying some group dancercise, tree planting and cakes! Then in September we held an open day at the Heath gardens, which was enjoyed by many members, parents, carers and the local community. We went for a vintage fair theme for the occasion, with old games to play (and prizes to be won!); as well as having a cake sale, a barbeque and a raffle. It was an amazing feeling to get back to having an open day again at the gardens. The whole area looked amazing thanks to the hard work of the members and staff in the gardening groups and fortunately the weather kept on our side all day!

A week after the open day we saw the return of National Heritage Day, where Lazar House (our historic building that’s over 900 years old) was open to the general public. It was wonderful to be able to host such a real life event again, and be able to open the doors to the local community to show off and talk about the building’s history.

The future

So, that’s a whistle stop round-up of what’s been happening since restrictions have been lifted, but what about our plans for the near future?

Well, we’ll see the return of the members Christmas party in December. This time around we’ll be holding two identical Christmas parties at Lazar House (On the evenings of 10th December and 17th December) for members. As we didn’t get have a Christmas party last year we’ll be making these extra special. This will include fine festive food and plenty of opportunity to have fun and enjoy the Christmas spirit. As you may already be aware, over the last few months we’ve been fundraising especially for this Christmas party; with staff along with some of the members who’ve wished to get involved taking part in a steps/miles challenge to cover the distance from Norwich to Christmas Island (which is just above Australia). We began this fundraiser at the end of Learning Disability week (on Saturday 26th June) and ended it on Thursday 30th September. Although this was a rather optimistic challenge with us together needing to cover 7,389 miles to get there, we ended up covering a whopping 10,028 miles instead! This is just under the distance from Norwich to Sydney (which lies in South East Australia), so we well and truly smashed the target distance…and then some!

We’re still counting up all the money raised from this fundraiser, but we will be letting you all know through social media and our website when we’ve counted it all up! However, so far it’s over £1,000! This will go a long way to making this year’s party (or parties) one to remember!