THE DETERMINATION of one woman is helping adults with disabilities make friends and learn new skills.
Connect and Create was set up by Patricia Brennan at the Sydni Centre in Leamington last October for adults who have learning and physical disabilities, or mental health issues. A similar group previously ran for 18 months but was forced to close owing to a lack of cash.
But 67 year-old Patricia, who had been working at the original sessions, refused to abandon those who attended so she took voluntary redundancy and has kept Connect and Create running on her own.
She is even using her redundancy money and savings to buy arts and craft resources, flowers and cooking ingredients for the sessions which run three days a week.
Fees are charged to people who attend to cover the cost of hiring a room at the centre but any profit is reinvested back into the group.
Although there are no volunteers working at the sessions, support workers for the adults also attend to lend a hand.
Patricia told the Observer: “There is a need for group sessions like this. I don’t want these people to be left to just watch television, not communicating with other people all day.
“They know the centre, they know me and it provides continuity for them to come to the sessions each week. I want to provide a learning place for the adults that come here and to help them make friends and build their confidence.”
With over 35 years experience as a support worker, Patricia is determined to make Connect and Create a success
and is encouraging anyone with learning or physical disabilities to get involved.
She added: “The adults are so grateful to have a set up like this because there is nowhere else to go.
“It’s not easy organising the group without any financial support and we need more people to attend regularly before we’re eligible for a grant from the county council.”
“I don’t know what the future holds for Connect and Create but I’m working on it!”
Cooking and baking classes are held on on Tuesday’s; Flower arranging and crafts on Wednesday’s; with open sessions – where the adults can chat, watch a movie or chose an activity they want to try – on Fridays.
Contact Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.