The Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund has made a grant of £5,000 to the Sunnybank Trust, based at St Barnabas Church, Epsom, which supports adults across north east Surrey who have learning disabilities.
The grant will help to fund the Trust’s ‘Voices, Choices, Futures’ project which helps those with learning disabilities find meaningful employment, stimulates wider social opportunities and friendships, encourages personal development and better physical and mental well-being. The aim is to help ensure that they are seen for the person they are rather than their disability.
Support is provided in matters connected with housing, health, finances and safeguarding and day trips and outings are organised to combat loneliness and isolation and help people build social skills and develop friendships.
The project enables people with learning disabilities to articulate the challenges that affect them, identify meaningful and relevant solutions, provide them with a stronger network within the local community and across other local organisations. This in turn will enable local service providers to work together more efficiently and produce better results.
Dorothy Watson, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust said:
“We are very grateful for the support of the Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund, which will enable us to continue with this important work. There is much to do with almost one in three young people with a learning disability spending less than one hour outside their home on a typical Saturday. 85% of young disabled adults in the 18-34 age group say they feel extremely lonely.
"Research shows that in addition to loneliness, many people with learning disabilities struggle to find employment and have very little say in the choices affecting their own lives and future. Accessible social opportunities are vital in counteracting isolation, loneliness and the associated negative mental health and well-being issues.”
The Bishop of Guildford's Communities Fund exists to reach out to disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the Diocese of Guildford in the name of Christ. Grants and practical support are offered to projects initiated by Church of England churches (and those in active partnership with them), to assist them to fulfil Goal 6 of the diocesan vision, Transforming Church, Transforming Lives:
'Together to increase the range, professionalism and spiritual fruitfulness of our partnerships with the local community, to help create a stronger, fairer and more sustainable society.'
Find out more about the Bishop of Guildford's Communities Fund at www.bgcf.org.uk or make a donation to support the work of the Fund.
For more information about The Sunnybank Trust go to: www.sunnybanktrust.org.