Whilst working as Work Experience Coordinator at Blackpool Carers, Helen Hay soon realised there were very few opportunities for young people with other abilities, in the school holidays and when they left education.
She felt passionately that all the skills and friendships they had built were unfulfilled during these times. This could lead to social isolation and poor mental health. Enterprise education is a massive part of Highfurlong school’s curriculum and Helen wanted to build on this.
In August 2018, Helen was given the opportunity by Blackpool Carers, to run a pilot of RISE. Helen enlisted the help of volunteer, Stephanie Woodhead, who also worked closely with Highfurlong School, to run sessions for two weeks during this time.
Feedback from both the young people and their families clearly proved there was a need for a group like RISE. Alongside this, Ann Hardisty was running a weekly social group on a Monday evening, for parents and children with other abilities. Ann was also aware that there was a gap in this area from her experience working with many families on the Parent Carers’ Project at Blackpool Carers.
RISE is now an established group run by Helen, Ann and Stephanie and gives young people with other abilities, aged 15+ an opportunity to develop essential life skills, give them independence and help them to integrate into the community.
They create good quality products for sale to the general public, such as, cards, chocolate and sweet bouquets, decorated glasses, doggy hampers and other seasonal gifts. It gives them the opportunity to develop new work-related skills whilst building on their individual skill set, to promote inclusion and value. The young people learn essential life skills develop in confidence and build new friendships which will help to reduce social isolation. This has a positive impact on the young people and gives much needed respite for their families.
We run sessions from 10.00 am until 3.00 pm, throughout the school holidays and during term time and on a Monday evening from 5.00 pm until 7.00 pm. We also want to develop our social group and meet up more regularly for trips and meals out.
If you would like more information on how you can be part of RISE please contact Helen or Ann on 07538 011154