Local learning disability training charity can extend its services thanks to the Barker- Mill Foundation

Minstead Training Trust, a New Forest based charity that provides individualised training for people with learning disabilities, has received a donation of £3,418 from the Barker-Mill Foundation to help fund a Friendship and Advice Drop-In Service in Totton.

Minstead Training Trust has been providing a variety of training services to people with learning disabilities for thirty years. The charity boasts experienced staff who appreciate the individual; tailoring training to the pace and ability of each person to help them to live independently.

Barker-Mill Foundation’s donation of £3,418 will enable the charity to establish a Friendship and Advice Drop-In service for people with learning disabilities who are living independently in and around Totton.

Tim Jobling, Trustee at the Barker-Mill Foundation said: “Minstead Training Trust does a wonderful job in supporting people with learning disabilities at their centre in Minstead. We are delighted to have been able to help the trust to branch out and provide vital, continuing support to a wider community”.

The Friendship and Advice Drop-In services, which will take place at a community centre, will initially provide a weekly opportunity for independent adults with learning disabilities to call in, build relationships and trust with the staff, meet other people over a cup of coffee, join in some craft activities and games, and to share any difficulties or opportunities encountered during the week. In addition to the group and peer support, there will be an opportunity to access private one to one advice from a support worker.

Dawn Wood, Head of Commercial and Business Development at Minstead Training Trust said: “It is vital for us to provide a support service for those living with learning disabilities in the community. Isolation and the possible consequences could trigger a downward spiral in a person’s life which could ultimately prevent them from continuing an independent life.”

“We would like to thank the Barker-Mill Foundation for their generous donation, we are excited about the new services we will be able to offer, and it would not have been possible without the Foundation’s generosity.”

The donation from the Barker-Mill Foundation will enable the programme to run on a Friday afternoon from April 2016 for a twelve month period with the aim of supporting up to ten people per session. The Trust plans to undertake approximately 47 sessions in the first year and it’s estimated up to 50 people with learning disabilities will access the service in that time.

Minstead Training Trust’s ambition is to run sessions more frequently and extend the service to other parts of Hampshire, the donation from the Barker-Mill Foundation has enabled the trust to embark on an exciting project to ensure that local adults with learning disabilities that are living independently have the support they need, including informal help and advice and a listening ear to make sure that individuals are supported.