Project information

Not Lonely This Christmas

People with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire are at high risk of loneliness and the resultant negative impact on physical and emotional wellbeing. Our project will create new opportunities for people to learn skills and make new connections they need to feel less lonely and happier in life.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: Reach Learning Disability

Reach Learning Disability logo
  • Need


    Our project aims to address the high risk of loneliness faced by people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire & its negative impact on their health & wellbeing. Lots of factors can lead to people with learning disabilities feeling lonely and isolated including low confidence and self-esteem, fear of abuse, social and communication difficulties, low income, poor transport, mobility problems and public misunderstanding; without support, it is easy to get trapped in a cycle of loneliness.


    Our 4 centres in Mansfield, Newark, Southwell (including our Flower Pod horticultural social enterprise) will run tailored courses and social activities enabling 50+ people with learning disabilities to feel more connected to other people and to community life. They will gain the skills needed to more confidently interact with others socially and have opportunity to be part of community life through supported volunteering, involvement in local events alongside other local people and befriending

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce loneliness experienced by people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire (our clients)


    » Engagement: visits, taster sessions and on-line/real life promotional activity to recruit people with learning disabilities to courses/activities.
    » Supported by Centre Managers, experienced tutors research best practice in supporting people with learning disabilities to address loneliness.
    » All 4 centres:expert tutors work with people w. learning disabilities & volunteers to offer tailored courses to strengthen social interaction skills.
    » All 4 centres; tutors, people w. learning disabilities & volunteers devise new social activities offering supported opportunities to make friends .

    What success will look like

    Using the Learning Disability Outcome Star, tutors will work w. participants to set personalised goals around what feeling less lonely means to them & measure distance travelled

    Aim 2

    People with learning disabilities play a more active role in community life in Nottinghamshire


    » All 4 centres: Tutor(s) provide bespoke training & support for people w. learning disabilities wanting to volunteer & participate in local community.
    » All 4 centres: Tutors work with local voluntary organisations, churches etc to find opportunities for volunteering & participation in community life
    » People w. learning disabilities matched to local volunteering/community involvement opportunities & supported to maintain 'placement' by Centre teams

    What success will look like

    Outcome Star, tutors to work w. participants to measure progress towards greater community involvement; volunteering/community participation hours; case studies; media articles

    Aim 3

    People with learning disabilities make social connections with people outside of family & carers


    » Volunteer recruitment & training - drawing on existing volunteer base & also recruiting new volunteers w. focus on those with knowledge of loneliness
    » Training sessions delivered to volunteers: safeguarding, learning disability & autism awareness, health inequalities & supporting communication
    » Volunteers support people with learning disabilities to build confidence, esteem and practise communication skills in safe, supportive environments

    What success will look like

    Outcomes star; photo diaries capturing evidence of new social connections (safeguarding policy in place); 'maps' of social connections made; case studies etc

    Aim 4

    Tell our stories about people w. learning disabilities, loneliness & the right to a community life.


    » Gather information about our experiences through the year - people with learning disabilities, volunteers & staff - through diaries, photos, film etc
    » Use the Learning Disability Outcome Star & other qualitative evalutation tools to find out about distance travelled & how everyone has progressed.
    » Produce case studies in film, photos, writing, artworks etc to help show how getting involved in local life can help prevent loneliness
    » Share our stories through film, websites, social media, and live presentations at schools/community groups/churches/professional meetings etc

    What success will look like

    No's of stories created & disseminated; no's of website/social media hits; no's of presentations; no's of follow up enquiries & further articles - eg from media.

  • Impact


    Individuals will have improved 'social connectedness' which is known to help reduce or delay the possibility of needing more support from health &social care services: we will demonstrate this 'social return' on investment through qualitative data gathered through Outcome Star, case studies etc and use it in our presentation materials.
    We will have materials - stories, presentations etc - to address negative perceptions about learning disability and barriers to social inclusion for future use.


    Low participant no's: will use range of media, tasters, presentations etc to recruit; Centre Managers & tutors have extensive experience in delivering differentiated informal courses & social activities to young adults/adults with learning disabilities & Centre Managers will support to find volunteering opportunities.
    Safeguarding: robust safeguarding policies & procedures in place. All required insurances, training, supervision processes in place.
    Low volunteer no's: ongoing recruitment.


    Mid-project & end of project reports drawing on qualitative & quantitative monitoring & evaluation done throughout project & tailored to donor expectation. Presentations & meetings as required. Project updates on website, Facebook, social media & as required with input from project participants.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 4 new courses Build confidence, self-esteem & communication skills: exact format to be decided by team incl client
      £8,000 4 new social activities New weekend or evening social in each Centre
      £1,000 Volunteer training Training sessions for volunteers including new training & support around loneliness
      £16,000 Staff time: peer volunteering Staff time to identify volunteering & community participation opportunities & provide support
      £1,000 Volunteer expenses Travel, external training etc
      £3,000 Resources & dissemination Materials for telling our stories, courses, socials etc
      £500 Celebration event Bringing all Centres together to share learning
      £3,000 Management & admin Contribution to management & admin; venue costs etc

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Contribution from client fees £10,000 Conditional
    Grants - from Trusts & Foundations £5,500 Conditional
  • Background


    Project will take place at our 4 Centres:

    Mansfield - mainly urban; high levels of deprivation, worklessness & very poor health outcomes in general population
    Southwell & Flower Pod- rural; fairly wealthy area but many clients rely on low incomes; older population than average; many clients live at home with parents in their 70s/80s; clients come from across Notts.
    Newark - urban & rural mix; many live in supported living - limited opportunity for social interaction outside of paid carers.


    Young adults with learning disabilities c. 14 - 18 years.
    Adults with learning disabilities
    All in Nottinghamshire. All at risk of:
    - extreme social isolation & loneliness due to low self-esteem and confidence levels & poor communication skills; limited social and/or family networks
    - poor physical health & poor emotional wellbeing
    - limited life-chances due to living on a low income & lack of opportunity for positive activity.

    Many are vulnerable in the community without the right support.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    c. 20 years' experience of running courses & social activities enabling people w. learning disabilities to make a better quality of life in THEIR community. 4 well-resourced centres in accessible locations. Experienced management, staff and tutors who are able to create differentiated courses & social activities tailored to need. Quality control, safeguarding policies, insurances etc in place. Trustees including family carers have scrutiny of activities; track record in best practice projects

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Reach Southwell/Flower Pod Tutor

    Co-ordination of new courses/socials & telling stories; volunteer & befriender management; broker supported volunteering; organise & lead group work

    Reach Newark Tutor

    Co-ordination of new courses/socials & telling stories; volunteer & befriender management; broker supported volunteering; organise & lead group work

    Reach Mansfield Tutor

    Co-ordination of new courses/socials & telling stories; volunteer & befriender management; broker supported volunteering; organise & lead group work

    Steve Shatwell - Chief Executive

    Supervision of tutors & centre staff. In post since 2007. Family Carer. Passionate about reducing isolation faced by people w. learning disabilities.