Back in February we awarded a funding contribution to Brighton & Hove Speak Out. This funding has been used to support fortnightly drop-in sessions. During the pandemic sessions were held online with participants attending via zoom. Sessions cautiously returned to face-to-face meetings at their central Brighton premises in November 2021.
Speak Out have reported that their drop-in sessions have provided an important safe space for local people with learning disabilities during a very challenging time. People have accessed vital peer support and accessible information relating to health, wellbeing, and many other issues. Our grant was used to purchase art materials for creative activities at the drop-in and refreshments to offer a welcoming, comfortable experience to attendees.
28 people attended sessions held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Some people attended occasionally for support with a specific problem such as housing, benefits or social care and were signposted to external agencies or Speak Out’s 1-1 advocacy service. Others attended regularly and have built important peer relationships and friendships.
Since Jan 2022 participants have worked creatively to explore what friendship meant to them and explored their feelings about going to the drop-in, including making self-portraits, picture frames and posters about friendship. People talked about the drop-in as a safe place where they felt accepted and free from judgment.
It was our pleasure to have been able to offer a funding contribution to this charity that has helped to make a difference to so many people's lives.