Thu 26 Feb 2015
Action For Kids supports disabled children and young people to live the life they want - just like everyone else
by Ruth Stivey
www.actionforkids.org Phone: 020 8347 8111
Facebook or Twitter: ActionForKids
Action For Kids is a charity based in Hornsey which has been serving the local community since 1991.
Our founder, Sally Bishop, started the charity from her front room by raising funds for a child who needed a wheelchair. This March she was awarded an OBE for her work. In January 2013, Graham Duncan, was appointed as our new CEO to help us make an even bigger difference in the lives of disabled young people.
As well as providing mobility equipment, we help disabled youngsters and their families in the surrounding boroughs in a variety of ways. We encourage independence and focus on creating opportunities so our students can live their lives more like others their age.
Our short breaks activities for 14 – 25 year olds means parents can have respite from caring duties during school holidays and their child can partake in lots of new experiences. We run daily activities locally including: rafting, abseiling, horse riding, martial arts, yoga, zumba, podcasting, film and music making, animation, art, craft or hair and beauty. Above all, we listen to each individual student and tailor our services to suit them.
For teenagers over 14, we link with schools and colleges, including Barnet and Southgate College, with the aim to empower and build student’s confidence by facilitating active participation in decisions about their futures.
Action For Kids uses different media tools and ways of working to help understand an individual’s aspirations, looking for their ability – not what they can’t do.
A majority of the young people we work with who have learning disabilities tell us they would like work yet according to statistics www.learningdisabilities. org.uk/help-information/learning-disability-a-z/e/employment-careers only 7% of adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment.
Our unique Life and Work programme provides them with accredited learning, bespoke work experience and everyday life skills to ultimately gain paid employment. It’s not an easy or speedy process for a candidate with a learning disability to gain work but things like independent travel training or having someone there to initially help in a new environment can change outcomes dramatically. Countless work placements have been given in shops, garages, restaurants, theatres and libraries throughout the area. In the last year, 13 students have gained paid employment in independent businesses, schools, community enterprises and larger companies.
Our students also attend Bikes4GoodCauses, a community cafe and bike repair shop on the High Road on the border of Palmers Green. As well as being the perfect place for young people to engage with locals, they train in a variety of areas.
Shruti has been volunteering at the bike shop weekly for six months and has learnt to make coffee, serve customers and use the till.
She said: “I like making coffees - I can make lattes a n d h o t c h o c o - lates by myself now. Most of all, I like going on the tills and dealing with money as I love maths.”
Her job coach, Shalini, said: “Work is so important for our students to gain confidence, skills and a sense of achievement. Placements within local businesses are especially great as it can really strengthen a young person’s place in
the community.” Action For Kids wants to thank everyone in our vibrant, diverse neighbourhood, brilliant businesses and public services who help us make a tangible difference to young lives. Can you or your workplace help us do more?
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