Celebrating 30 Years of Friendship – local charity promotes inclusion to celebrate history, and future hopes, for people with learning disabilities
Only 35% of people questioned at The Ashley Centre thought they had a friend with learning disabilities.* However, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council have estimated that over 1,700 people with learning disabilities live in Epsom and Ewell.
The Sunnybank Trust, in one form or another, has been befriending people with learning disabilities for the last 30 years.
President and Founder, Tom Rhind-Tutt MBE, first began what would become The Sunnybank Trust as a befriending and social scheme for in-patients at the Epsom Hospital Cluster in the 1980s. Now the charity has grown to run a weekly social club, an advocacy programme and a befriending scheme, all of which supports over 250 people with learning disabilities in Epsom, Ewell and beyond.
As part of their Celebrating 30 Years of Friendship campaign, The Sunnybank Trust aims to raise awareness of the isolation that many people with learning disabilities face in the local community and the way that local people can make a difference to the lives of these vulnerable men and women.
Dorothy Watson, The Sunnybank Trust CEO, notes: “Being part of the local community can make a huge difference to many people with learning disabilities. For those who find day to day living difficult and challenging, having a friend or someone who cares with whom you can talk to can make a massive difference. Despite the challenges, many of the people we work with have aspirations and dreams of their own. We know that with the right support they can flourish and enrich our community. Over the forthcoming year we will be promoting our Campaign of Friendship and sharing ways in which people can become involved.”
To launch the Celebrating 30 Years of Friendship campaign, members of The Sunnybank Trust Kites Club – their weekly social club – will be helping send letters to local businesses to raise awareness and seek support for the campaign.
Throughout 2016 the charity will be hosting a variety of events, alongside its regular activities. These events include The Sunnybank Trust’s drama group performing their own multi-sensory interpretation of The Wizard of Oz, an art exhibition and auction showing local artists with learning disabilities, and a family-friendly picnic event to celebrate International Friendship Day.
Anyone that would like to learn more about learning disabilities and the work of The Sunnybank Trust are invited to get in touch with a member of the team or take a look at charity’s website.
*Survey conducted by The Sunnybank Trust as part of their annual Christmas gift wrapping fundraiser at The Ashley Centre. 159 people questioned.
The Sunnybank Trust is based in Epsom and helps people with learning disabilities live fuller lives and enable them to have more control over decisions that affect them.
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Member since: 10th July 2012
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