Charity helps disabled adults share ‘untapped skills and knowledge’ with community

A COALPIT Heath charity is set to launch a new service for adults with disabilities, thanks to a £66,000 grant.

Paul’s Place will launch a brand-new in-house volunteering service to help physically disabled adults to volunteer, thanks to the award from national grant giving charity Global’s Make Some Noise fund.

Global supports hundreds of small charities across the UK.

Paul’s Place, which is currently based at Coalpit Heath Cricket Club but is set to take over the Shire Way Community Centre in Yate later this year, says it will use the funds “to upskill and build confidence for physically disabled adults to actively volunteer through its brand-new in-house volunteering service”.

The charity said: “Many of the people using services at Paul’s Place have untapped skills and knowledge that they’re eager to use in the community.

“They could also gain vital work experience through volunteering that could lead to future employment. Yet, many volunteer opportunities are not fully accessible outside of our day facility and evening programmes.”

The charity will use the money to recruit a volunteer development officer and fund the resources needed to enable physically disabled adults to volunteer.

The volunteer officer would work closely with the 37 members of Paul’s Place to build their self-confidence and skills.

Former builder Andy inspires project

Paul’s Place says the project is inspired by current member Andy Batten, from Coalpit Heath (pictured above), who had to leave his career as a builder after becoming disabled following an accident later in life, which affected his mental health.

When the charity discovered Andy was a builder by trade, staff offered him the chance to use his skills around its day facility, doing light maintenance and DIY work, in line with its aim of empowering disabled people.

He now runs regular woodwork and archery skill sessions for other members.

Andy said: “It’s something that keeps me alive.

“The accident made me feel useless.

“Paul’s Place is a lifeline for me. I now feel useful and enjoy being here.

“Sometimes people think I’m just another member on the days I am in.

“It sometimes surprises them to learn I’m volunteering that day. It’s changing people’s perceptions.”

Paul’s Place wanted more of its members to get similar opportunities, to either learn skills to enable them to work or to give them the social and personal benefits of volunteering.

‘We want to show what people are capable of when given the right opportunities’

The charity’s fundraising and communications manager Kayley Waller said: “We are honoured to have been chosen by Global’s Make Some Noise and look forward to being able to share more stories of the disabled adults taking part in the project.

“We want to show what people are capable of when given the right opportunities, as well as removing preconceptions some may have about what a disabled life could be.”

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