Trust gives opportunities for those with learning disabilities to embrace independence
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
The positive achievements of those who live with learning disabilities have been celebrated at an event designed to inspire and reassure.
The Assist Trust held its independence day at The Forum, in Norwich, today (Tuesday), which was also a chance for families to get information about the support available to them.
Richard Ward, Assist Trust chief executive, said: 'Stories about people with learning disabilities are often negative in nature, focussing on problems and things that are not working in the community, or looking at the important question of how to fund essential services. We don't want to detract from important views and discussions, but we do want to tell the positive stories and remind people that everyone can contribute to society, given the right sort of support.'
Assist Trust members took part in activities such as Zumba and 4Dance, a dance group for adults with learning disabilities. And furniture upcycled by Assist Trust members was also on sale.
Some members take on internal jobs inside the trust, and Harry Fleming had been working as a courier between sites.
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He said: 'Getting the bus with Rory from the Independent Living Group was good practice for me. I walk home now, it makes it easier for mum and dad.'
Fellow trust member Amy Kareem, 30, added: 'I think I started Assist when I was 25. I like meeting new friends. I enjoy coming to Assist, especially the café. I'm doing Tuck Shop at the moment, it helps with my skills with money, checking prices and the dates.'
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Mr Ward said these kind of experiences allowed people to learn and grow.
'With the right support and the same opportunities as the rest of society, people with learning disabilities can learn how to succeed in the real world,' he said.
'Assist Trust members learn about the responsibilities they have as citizens in society, as well as the rights they hold as human beings. Understanding those responsibilities is the key that helps them claim those rights as equals. I hope this event helps the general public realise that they can treat people with learning disabilities like anyone else. They don't need to be treated differently, they don't need to be over protected, or treated with kid gloves. They just need to be treated equally.