Community connections

Community Connections

What is a community?

A community doesn't have to be a geographical area. A community is a group of people who share a passion and come together on a regular basis.

Many people with a disability don't feel part of a community, and live a life of isolation. Whilst we often make connections with people who are paid to be in our lives, freely given relationships are one of the most valuable experiences we can have. So, by exploring the passions and gifts of those we support, we can help more people to engage with a local community.

Making connections

For example, one of the first steps of becoming known within your community could be to become a regular at a local coffee shop, getting involved in existing community groups, deepening or rekindling old relationships, getting active, volunteering or sharing your passions.

Our vision

If we're to achieve our vision, we need to think about where we're supporting people within the community, and how to be more creative about where natural relationships form. Our vision is to:

  • Support people living in residential or supported living homes to make real community connections
  • Support the connectors to build relationships and spend time getting to know the individual
  • Work with the circles of support and individual to make person-centred planning a reality
  • Support the connectors to look for options beyond services
  • Let other non-service people be involved and take the lead

Success stories

M moved from living with her family into supported living accommodation. She was allocated a broker who supported her to look at her aspirations. One of which was to become fitter and join local aerobics and swimming groups.

Her broker supported M to attend a local aqua aerobics class, and went with her for the first six weeks – working with other members of the group on how best to communicate with her. After the six weeks M had become a regular at the group, and started to make friends and connections with local people. This gave her a sense of belonging and a huge boost to her self esteem.

H has always been independent and wanted to have a job since working in her dad's factory years ago. When support planning with H, she showed interest in an allotment scheme – so she could grow vegetables and learn about healthy eating. From this scheme H was offered a paid job, training for two days and the chance to sell vegetables at a farmer's market. She's now training, working, attending college and engaging in social activities she enjoys.

H also wanted to get into shape and was a member of the local gym. So every Tuesday morning for six weeks H and her broker had a workout. Their regular presence was noticed by other members who now encourage H, and she's built up a good rapport with gym staff. She's now confident enough to attend the gym alone.

Globetrotting

From Vegas to the Emerald Isle, our residents and service users go on some amazing holidays. And we encourage them to take plenty of photos and share their experiences with us when they get back. So, if you're looking for adventure and want to be inspired by snaps of their trips abroad, click here.

Reaching Lives Social Club

The Reaching Lives Social Club is the brainchild of Jeremy Abrahams and Terry Gordon, two Vibrance residents who wanted regular opportunities for people using our services to meet and socialise.

Events are planned by our service users and staff and run every two months. Over the last year they've included a Valentine's Club, Halloween Night, Race Night and Christmas party at a local Greek taverna. To find out more, including event details, our blog and photos, visit www.reachinglives.co.uk

On 23rd January 2011 Jeremy Abrahams sadly died and all those involved with the Reaching Lives Social Club wish to remember the work and ideas that he put into establishing the Club.

Supported employment

Every year, we hear from more and more people who are looking for access to supported employment. So, when we were given the chance to open a café in central London, it offered the ideal opportunity to provide it. As part of our 'Pathways to Employment' enterprise, we offer a growing number of supported work opportunities to young adults and people who use our services. To find out more, visit our Supported Employment page.

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Vision & Values

We've set an ambitious goal for 2020. Find out how our values are helping us achieve it, whilst enabling people to lead the lives they want.

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Locations Map

Find out more about each Vibrance location on our handy interactive map.

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