Project: Door 84
Start date: January 2018
End date: December 2018
The Project: Door 84 delivers a community project called Community Sparks – a fully inclusive creative and social group, delivering interactive activities for people with a range of abilities and disabilities, enabling them to share their interests and build relationships.
The project has been running for 6 years and the group currently meets once a week, on Tuesday mornings. Regular activities include inclusive sport/games, arts & crafts, trips & outings, cooking and talent shows. Community Sparks also provides supported volunteering roles for group members and takes part in wider community events.
Key aims: This project aimed to:
Provide the local community members a place to socialise, learn new skills, have fun and attend regularly.
Give their beneficiaries the opportunity to socialise and go on trips in a group setting, as this is a very rare prospect for many.
Proactively take action where there was a need and demand identified for York’s residents.
Employment and Skills: We offer a supported volunteering programme which gives our members the opportunity to volunteer at sessions and events. There are currently 6 supported volunteers on the project, of which four have disabilities and additional needs. We believe that everyone has innate skills and abilities, and that these should be nurtured.
The group enables them to build relationships, boost their confidence and self-esteem, and develop life and employment skills. The volunteers gain experience engaging with people, as well as more practical skills such as dealing with money, creating art & crafts and assisting with fundraising. Recognised qualifications such as First Aid and Food Hygiene are offered in addition to in-house training.
We have recently had a volunteer attain employment for a large well-known DIY outlet. This has been his first job for 7 years and we are very proud of him. The people and life skills that he learnt from this project has helped him get into employment
Communities: make a real difference by empowering people to make a positive change in their lives.
The project gives individuals an opportunity to express themselves and be recognised for their talents – whether that is creating art, playing a sport/game, or performing. Utilising the premises fully, such as the games room and outdoor space enabled us to introduce and promote health and well-being through physical activities too, such as football, basketball, pool, darts and table tennis. This development has been well received by the group as it creates a wider variety of activities to experience.
We carry out regular consultation with our service users and opinions are used to shape our plans for the group over the coming years. Lots of activities have been delivered and trips participated since January.
There has been a great deal of change within the community recently following the closure of Burton Stone Lane Community Centre in May 2018. This facility was used by a number of different organisations which supported community members with similar needs to the Community Sparks project by providing a range of activities. One particular activity which service users were particularly disappointed to lose when the centre closed was the weekly inclusive disco.
We were told by many carers that the people they looked after were really upset that this activity was closing – for example “G is really disappointed that it is over, G responds best to routine”
Community Sparks identified that the loss of this activity left a gap in provision for a large group of regular attendees in the community and so decided that, in addition to the regular Tuesday session, we would begin running our own disco from Door 84 as an additional session to see if the demand was as strong as was initially suggested.
We are thrilled to say that the pilot was a success.
We had a healthy weekly turnout and over the 5-week trial period a total of 25 service users attended. 22 of these were completely new to the Community Sparks project.
There has been really positive feedback from group members and their carers:
“It’s brilliant that you are running this!”
“Great activity, which you can’t do anywhere else!”
We have also opened the café area to enable attendees to have refreshments, which encourages friendships and communication between group members and provides a listening ear to isolated members and carers.
As of 6th September, the disco has become a regular session which we deliver on a weekly basis.
“Beiing part of Community Sparks has allowed me to get out of the black hole of depression I was in, I feel less lonely and know people care about me”.
“I like seeing everybody, I sometimes tell jokes and have a good laugh with them.” CS is the only social group/activity that Leanne participates in all week “coming here makes me happier it gets me out of the house, otherwise I’ll just be looking at the four walls”.
“It has been a pleasure to support one client to the weekly sessions of Community Sparks at Door 84. The excellent sessions take place every Tuesday morning. I have always been enormously impressed by the level of planning and preparation that has gone into all sessions. My client is particularly fond of all the art activities. The tables are set out in a way that means he is able to interact with a wide range of people throughout the sessions. He is able to chat about the activity in hand as well as anything else of interest. The employees and volunteers at Door 84 have always taken an interest in my client and are keen to support him in any way they possibly can. I can't end without addressing the treatment of support workers like myself who also attend. We are made to feel extremely welcome, we are made to feel valued and appreciated and I often smile as I look round at all of us heavily involved in such a wide range of activities especially the art work. We all benefit!!”