A lady talking to a community member in a workshop.

Helping people and organisations

We support people with lived experience of disability or mental health challenges to develop and deliver workshops which give other people an insight into their lives.

These workshops have been offered to anyone who lives or works in the county through our Learning Programme and also to organisations who have contacted us and asked for support.

For example, groups of trainers who live with impairments or disabilities delivered a series of workshops to support workers at St Vincent’s and St George’s Association; the workers valued the opportunity to meet with disabled people and learn directly from their experiences. We also all had great fun role-playing responses to situations commonly experienced by disabled people and their support workers when they are out and about in the community.

There is also a group of trainers who each have some sort of difficulty with talking; they deliver workshops about including everyone in conversations. These have been warmly welcomed and impacted on peoples’ understanding, confidence and skills when meeting others who may find talking difficult.

People who have been successful in applying for Opportunities Awards have come along to talk about their experience to other disabled people and their support workers at different organisations and gathering places. They inspire people to think about what they might like to do. We then offer workshops to assist disabled people and their support workers to develop their ideas, plans and make applications for Opportunities Awards that can help them to realise their goals. So far, we have done this at Together at Matson and the Phoenix Centre, also in Matson, and we are planning further work with the Leonard Cheshire House in Cheltenham.

We also deliver workshops sharing skills that foster inclusion with workers at diverse organisations who have contact with disabled people, for example Westonbirt Arboretum and Age UK.

This year we have been working with people who live with mental health challenges who want to help build better understanding of what it is like to live with a mental health challenge and what everyone can do to help. In this way they want to reduce negative attitudes and misunderstandings; these often result in people feeling left out and can make their health worse. They have delivered several workshops and have told us that they now feel far more confident and positive and are enthusiastic about giving more training.

Through these opportunities this group of trainers has grown their confidence and got involved in other things, such as applying for a Small Sparks grant for resources for a games club where they live; applying for an Opportunities Award for photography equipment to further their enjoyment of getting out and about taking photos and meeting other people. Another has sought support from Barnwood to bring people together in their local community to talk about what is important and how they can make it a place that everyone can enjoy living in. Another person is now considering publishing their written work more widely.

If you have any questions regarding our work with other organisations or you would like to share your story with us – feel free to get in touch via email at info@barnwoodtrust.org or call us on 01242 539935