Learning Disability Week: The Hub in Stroud

18 June 2020

This week is Learning Disability Week. On Monday we spoke to James, who leads the work at our Community Hub in Stroud, about friendship and why it is so important especially during lockdown. Today we hear from James again to find out just what the Community Hub does.

You’ve been with Guideposts for six months now, what is your role?

“My role is Stroud Community Hub Coordinator – I essentially oversee the Hub where we have all our session, manage the community activities and staff and ensure activities are relevant to service users who attend.”

So what does the Community Hub do and who do you support?

“At the Hub we run activity group sessions and arts and crafts group sessions for adults with learning disabilities.

“The activity group is focused on getting out and about into local villages and towns. As part of that we tach valuable life skills, like catching buses, paying for things in shops and ordering food in restaurants.

“The art group gives people chance to explore their creativity – and the focus is arts and crafts but the chance to socialise and grow friendships is the real reason why people go.

“We also do seasonal events like BBQs and taking part in the Stroud Christmas Tree Competition – which isn’t happening this year but fingers crossed next year it will be back on. We also like to plan nice day trips to places like Weston-super-Mare.”

Obviously the Hub can’t be open right now, what are you doing instead?

“We’ve postponed face to face services which has been a bit of a shame. But instead we have been putting together art packs. They look amazing! Maggie send them out every two weeks to Hub users who want them. We’ve had really good feedback that people are enjoying them.

Last week we sent out the latest art packs!Included were make your own spring wreaths, make your own photo frames as well as colouring packs.We can't wait to see the finished products!

Posted by Guideposts in Gloucestershire on Thursday, May 28, 2020

“We are also phoning people and checking in on them to see how they are doing. And we are running virtual art sessions – where everyone can have a chat and do some art.”

Have you any big plans for when you reopen?

“Something that we were pushing for and working towards before the pandemic, was finding opportunities for the activity group to volunteer in the local community because it’s a natural first step toward employment. Volunteering helps people build independence, confidence, gain new skills and develop existing skills and it give a sense of purpose. Unfortunately lots of people with learning disabilities struggle to find something important to them which gives their life a bit more sense of purpose.

“We are also in the process of setting up a pre-loved sale. The idea is one day a week we will set up a small charity shop in the Hub, giving our members the opportunity to learn valuable work experience skills and play a meaningful part of the shop – whether collecting donations to sell, or setting up the merchandise or handling money.

“But also it means that members of community can come and have a chance to see what Guideposts do and see what we get up to.”

You’ve worked in the care sector for ten years, what’s your favourite part of your job?

“What I love about my job at the Hub is that the people who come, you couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of people. Everyone from the staff team to all the people who attend, is brilliant, lovely guys – all of them.

“I think the people I work with are some of the most genuine people you can meet – they have no agenda, they are who they are – they are so helpful – they care more about how others are feeling than themselves.

“Obviously we have a lot of fun too – we get to do nice things, it’s a very rewarding job. And it’s nice to see others having fun – especially people who don’t always get the same opportunities as the rest of us. They miss out on a lot of opportunities that would otherwise be given so it’s great to help them fulfil the opportunities that we take for granted. It mean so much to them.”