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Project information

Small Changes, Big Difference

Our project aims to enable adults with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire to reduce their risk of diabetes or to better manage existing diabetes diagnosis. Our fun & engaging activities will encourage participants to be more active, eat more healthily & know how to find vital advice & support

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Reach Learning Disability

Reach Learning Disability logo
  • Need


    Recent data indicates that prevalence of diabetes in adults with learning disabilities is around 10% - nearly DOUBLE the rate of the general population.
    For our clients, the risk factors associated with developing diabetes are often social, not medical, including:
    - Living on a low income
    - Not knowing how to sustain a healthy diet & lifestyle
    - Social isolation
    - Limited opportunity for physical activity.

    Those with diabetes can struggle with medication issues as well as the above issues


    It will offer 100 adults with learning disabilities fun, engaging learning activities to help them to make small, sustainable lifestyle changes proven to reduce risk of developing diabetes or worsening health due to poor lifestyle choices. Activities will be delivered by qualified staff supported by volunteers, who will encourage a culture of learning together. It will build on best practice including feedback from a 6-month pilot diabetes project.Families & professionals to be engaged in work

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce risk factors associated with developing diabetes for 100+ adults with learning disabilities


    » 4 x 6 month courses in our centres focussed on improving nutrition by making small, sustainable changes in cooking & eating habits
    » 4 x 6 month courses in our centres focussed on increasing physical activity levels through enjoyable, fun exercise, sports & games.
    » 4 outreach courses in community settings, supported living & residential homes in Notts focusing on improving diet & physical activity levels
    » Provide participants with person-centred resources that they can use as a motivational reminder to sustain changes.

    What success will look like

    Participants (adults with learning disabilities) will give evidenced examples of improvements made to diet & increased physical activity levels & future plans to sustain changes.

    Aim 2

    Ensure our staff & volunteers have skills & knowledge required to help reduce risk of diabetes


    » Appoint a lead worker to undertake research into best practice in diabetes-based health promotion work for adults with learning disabilities
    » Review Reach's previous & existing health-based resources including diabetes resources & produce & share schemes of work, session plans et
    » Produce resources & cascade training to all Reach staff & volunteers to ensure best practice approaches are embedded
    » Establish & maintain online & real-life channels for co-ordinating diabetes risk reduction work in Reach

    What success will look like

    Staff & volunteers will provide feedback to lead worker on how they are using resources, training & the difference it has made to their role & the support they provide.

    Aim 3

    Enable family carers & paid carers to support participants to sustain lifestyle changes long-term


    » Consult with adults with learning disabilities, paid & unpaid carers to understand barriers to sustaining changes & develop realistic solutions
    » Run social events that enable participants to share their learning with their families, friends & paid carers & devise plans to sustain small changes
    » Produce on-line & paper based resources that are tailored to individual needs & can be used in future
    » Make links with carers groups, service providers etc to promote project, recruit participants &

    What success will look like

    Participants' family carers & paid carers will provide feedback on how helpful the project has been & whether any changes made at home to sustain participants' improved choices.

    Aim 4

    Ensure needs of people with learning disabilities are met by Nottinghamshire's diabetes services


    » Undertake networking to forge links with local healthcare professionals to establish referal pathways & support future development of diabetes work
    » Promote project widely via our website, social media, e-mail bulletins & at presentations, workshops etc for healthcare professionals
    » Monitor & evaluate the projects' outcomes & impact to demonstrate difference made to individuals & potential social return on investment
    » Produce short case studies to help share the stories of people with learning disabilties, their barriers to better health & how these can be overcome

    What success will look like

    Met with at least 3 senior healthcare professionals with responsibility for decision or policy making; presented at least one healthcare professional meeting or network.

    Aim 5

    Make a splash nationally!


    » Promote & share our on-line resources, particpants' stories & project impact via our website & links with regional & national groups

    What success will look like

    Small Changes, Big Difference project to have had five mentions in national publications/social media.

  • Impact


    Adults with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or who already have diabetes will have gained vital knowledge and have access to improved support to reduce their personal diabetes risk factors and to remain motivated to sustain small, achievable lifestyle changes with benefit to their physical health, emotional wellbeing and a potential reduction or delay in their need for further or increased support from health and social care services.


    Insufficient funding : project can be tailored to available resources.
    Low number of participants recruited/retained: project builds on 20 years' experience of providing informal learning & so will be fun, engaging with lots of opportunity for creative activities, socialising & friendship - all proven motivating factors in engaging adults with learning disabilities in health promotion work
    not engaged;
    Changes not made: focus on small changes with underpinning work to embed change at home


    Project report produced evidencing:
    Quantitative data from registers etc. Qualitative data from participants' individual learning plans & photo-diaries demonstrating progression (baseline, mid-course, end of course); ability to evidence changes made; case studies from participants, carers, workers

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £51,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £25,000 Courses Tutor & resource costs: 12 x 12 week courses for adults with learning disabilities
      £10,000 Lead worker To co-ordinate training, sharing of best practice, networking, resource production etc
      £5,000 Resources Small capital equipment; training packs, film, accessible communication resources
      £1,000 Travel Staff travel costs
      £2,500 Marketing Website development; leaflets;
      £1,000 Training For lead worker
      £2,000 Admin Admin worker to support lead worker
      £5,000 Management & overheads Contribution to indirect project costs (management, venue, ICT, office equipment, phone etc)
  • Background


    Courses will take place

    1) at our 4 Centres:

    Mansfield - mainly urban; high levels of deprivation, worklessness & poor health outcomes in general population
    Southwell & Flower Pod- rural; fairly wealthy area but many clients rely on low incomes; many clients live at home with parents in their 70s/80s; rural isolation
    Newark - urban & rural mix.

    2) Via outreach/community sessions across Notts to reach those who cannot access centres.

    Networking/promotion activity across Notts & national.


    Adults - including young adults - with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire at risk of:
    - developing diabetes & other health problems linked to obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise
    - deteriorating health due to poor management of diabetes
    - early, preventable death or major health crisis

    The project will make vital health promotion messages accessible to a very excluded group of people and help reduce their risk of further exclusion due to poor health.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 20 years' experience of delivering courses & projects enabling people w. learning disabilities to achieve better physical & emotional health including a recent pilot project addressing the risk of diabetes (Mansfield). Our infrastructure supports delivery of high-quality learning including: 4 accessible centres; an outreach programme; staff team of trained tutors & Learning Manager; planning, evaluation & quality standard processes; safeguarding policies, insurances; volunteers etc

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Steve Shatwell

    Chief Executive - manages our overall day service


    Community Learning Manager - manages the delivery of our informal community learning programme & works closely with Centre Managers to ensure quality


    Lead Diabetes Project Worker - to co-ordinate planning of courses, staff & volunteer training, best practice research,resources,networking/promotion


    Tutor(s) to deliver courses at centres and in outreach settings in the community