It’s World Book Day (2 March) and to celebrate the joy – and power – of storytelling, we are sharing five stories from our Help and Connect project for learning disabled people in Coventry.
Our connectors help people make a plan, get connections, get work, stay healthy and stay safe.
Equipping people with the skills, knowledge, support networks and readiness for new opportunities, brings out people’s dreams and assets as opposed to only their needs.
Jay, Katy, Arun, James and Suzie’s stories* help illustrate this work. Each journey is person-centred and tailored to the individual’s assets and dreams. We work in many more ways too!
You can contact the team to refer yourself or someone you know by emailing email@example.com.
When Suzie joined Help and Connect in lockdown during the Covid pandemic, her life was all about hospital appointments or time spent alone.
Through Help and Connect, she has gone from living life alone to helping others understand their health needs and encouraging them to think about how these may be met through lifestyle changes and networks of community support.
Beneath Jay’s seemingly popular exterior was a young man teetering on the edge of disaster.
Over six months, we worked with Jay on different scenarios and how to deal with them. Drawing on this knowledge to get out of a bad situation recently made Mum so proud she cried.
Arun, in his thirties, is living with a number of health conditions. Joining us in lockdown, he spent most of his time in the house eating food that wasn’t good for him and his mental and physical health were at serious risk.
Now with his own Facebook page – set up with his connector’s help – he shares ways to cope with isolation, photos from his walks, regular exercise tips and comments from followers. His new online skills have helped Arun reconnect with old friends and make a few new ones too.
Katy was very isolated, rarely leaving home and keeping to herself in her local area through fear of violence from ex partners.
We built Katy’s self-esteem through one-on-one support, initially nurturing her confidence in staff at her local cafe.
And finally James. James is a quiet man who is autistic and has epilepsy. Aged 31, he hadn’t left the house for two years except to walk to the local shop with his younger brother.
James and his connector started with an application for a disability bus pass. They spent weeks together travel training, learning routes to take James to places he wanted to go.
Help and Connect is funded by Coventry City Council for learning disabled people in the city who are receiving no statutory support from services.
Learn more about the power of connectedness and the rest of our #StrengtheningPeople strand of action here.
*Some names changed to protect identities. Images used are not of any of the individuals featured in these stories, except Suzie. All are images of Grapevine’s work though.