A New Safe Social Platform for People with Learning Disabilities & Autism

Guideposts Trust has launched a new programme, Better Connected, to help adults with learning disabilities and autism stay social and active over the lockdown period. This includes a brand new “virtual hub” providing a safe and private space for the more vulnerable members of our community to connect with one another and take part in online events.

Accessibility and variety are at the heart of the programme, with current activities including art therapy, all-inclusive dance provided by Paradance UK, men’s yoga, Mingle LGBT+ social group, and football chat. Most events can be joined using just a mobile or landline, providing access to those
who don’t have digital skills or equipment.

What is included in Better Connected?

The full Better Connected service includes:

  • 1:1 wellbeing calls by phone calls
  • Socially distanced outdoor 1:1 meet-ups
  • Regular, personalised activity packs delivered by post
  • Online group activities including dance, photography, yoga, arts and crafts, discussion groups, and a dedicated all-request radio show

The programme will develop based on feedback and suggestions from the participants.

Below: Some of the activities on offer via the Better Connected service, from Yoga and inclusive dance to personalised activity packs and a Guideposts radio station

How did Better Connected come about?

During the pandemic Guideposts have been supporting their members whenever face-to-face services haven’t been able to run, by making individual calls, sending tailored activity packs and arranging online meet-ups. While valuable, the organisation had an ambition to do more.

In October The National Lottery Community Fund awarded Guideposts a grant to develop Better Connected, enabling Guideposts to move forwards with providing a wider variety of activities and a secure environment for them to take place, as well as offering the service to new members across the UK.

Matt Jones, CEO of Guideposts Trust said “Guideposts has been working hard to keep as much contact and support going as possible for those who are so severely impacted by the public health crisis. Better Connected enables us to continue this journey in a sustainable way, make more services available to more people, and most importantly help people with learning disabilities and autistic people to enjoy lives that are rich, fulfilling and with the same opportunities as others in society.”

Service user Julian said “I don’t know how you do it but thank you for the calls and all the virtual activities that have been organised during lockdown. It is amazing and I love everything that Guideposts are doing for us.”

To apply to join Better Connected, or refer someone to the service, visit: www.guideposts.org.uk/better-connected

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