This week for Charity Tuesday we are featuring Grace Eyre. Grace Eyre support those with learning disabilities and/or mental health needs in and around Brighton and Lambeth ‘to enjoy personal freedom, be respected for their contribution and be treated as equals within the communities where they live’.
Grace Eyre was established in 1898, and takes its name from the founder of the organisation, Grace Eyre Woodhead. The work of the organisation started by placing children from London hospitals in holiday homes in the Heathfield area of East Sussex. When it was agreed that children could be placed permanently within families, there became a need for regulated placements and supervision by visiting officers. There then became a need for educational provision, day care, occupational training and work placements. Originally called the ‘Guardianship Society’, the charity opened its first day centre in 1914 which offered industrial training in Brighton. They became Grace Eyre in the 1980s and since then have made changes in the way that they support those with learning disabilities. However, they still maintain the strong belief that people with learning disabilities can and should play a role in society.
Grace Eyre offer a range of inclusive day activities to over 100 people with learning disabilities in Brighton and Hove with their scheme called Active Lives. The scheme aims to ‘promote independence and learning through these activities as well as giving people the ability to develop new networks and friendships’. They do this by encouraging creativity through various art forms such as pottery and photography courses, they also offer courses on yoga, gardening, knitting, as well as skills workshops that are vital to independent living and employment skills. There is also a chance for service users to compete in events with the Brighton & Hove Special Olympics team.
Sports for All in Sussex is a project that is encouraging adults with disabilities and mental health needs to participate in sport. Since 2013 the project has seen 1000 unique participants engage in sports sessions over 30,000 times. Grace Eyre also have an Employment Project which helps people with learning disabilities and/or mental health needs in Sussex build their work shills. The project provides pre-employment skills training, then supports the individual to find a 12-week voluntary job. The aim of this project is to build the confidence of the individual so they can continue to do their job, look for another voluntary position or even apply for paid work.
Grace Eyre also play a huge part in helping with housing those with disabilities and/or mental health needs in Sussex. The Choices supported living team helps those who live on their own or in shared accommodation maintain their lifestyle, ensure that they have a safe living environment as well as supporting them to organise things such as bills and home improvements. They also have a Shared Lives scheme which matches the personality, lifestyle, skills and knowledge of the Carer to meet the needs and preferences of the person with the disability. The provide long and short term accommodation as well as day services and kinship.
It costs Grace Eyre just under £14,000 to help one person with learning disabilities every year, and whilst they do get some government funding, they rely heavily on donations and grants. Grace Eyre have over ten volunteering opportunities to get involved in such as the Allotment Project, Purple Playhouse Theatre as well as many Sports roles. You can also become a partner of the charity by sponsoring events or even just giving through your payroll. There is so much you can do to help a wonderful charity, and to find out more about the incredible work Grace Eyre do for those with learning disabilities and/or mental health needs in Sussex. You can find out more about Grace Eyre at their website, or follow them on Twitter.
all images belong to Grace Eyre.org.