||Published: 2nd October 2014 18:34
Working with adults with learning difficulties I know that there are many living in Maldon who find going about a 'normal' life can be difficult. We are very fortunate in Maldon that we have a number of community initiatives that aim to make life easier. The Maldon Pioneers Association has secured the use of the D'arcy Room in All Saints Church to provide a weekly drop-in & safe haven for the Pioneers who like to spend time and do their shopping in Maldon Town Centre. Having a learning difficulty or mental health issue has its challenges and Pioneers can feel vulnerable or anxious at times, so it will be nice to nave a place to socialise and feel safe.The Drop-in will be operating every Monday during term time 10am till 21noon. Coffee and tea will be available, it will be a warm and dry place to sit and chat to one another and worries of any kind can be shared by having a listening ear available in the form of one of our helper volunteers. If they don't have an answer themselves they can direct the Pioneer to the right professional support. If you fancy joining the Pioneers, know someone who could benefit, or you have what it takes to be a volunteer, then come along or give me, Tony Morrell a call on 01621 854803 to find out more.
This newest initiative comes on the back of others which help to improve the lives of the Maldon Pioneers. 'Keep Safe' is the scheme to provide an emergency safe havens to adults with learning difficulties at designated shops, cafes, etc. in Maldon. These venues display a yellow 'Keep Safe' sticker in their window and Pioneers know they will be taken seriously if they need to take refuge there. Trained staff will help the person in distress perhaps make a phone call to a carer or loved one and the person can wait there until they are collected or helped to get home safely.
The 'Keep Safe' scheme is run through Maldon District Council's Maldon District Community Safety Partnership, which brings together other agencies who are committed to working together to counter crime or the perception of crime. The Pioneers Thursday Group recently enjoyed working along side a group of Year 10 Media students from the Plume School. They produced, filmed and edited their own awareness video, which highlighted the issues faced by many Pioneers. Operating under the banner of 'Creative Projects unit' the students did an amazing job demonstrating they could deliver a professional film for a real client. When it is shown to the public I really feel it will go a long way to educating the public about Learning Difficulties. These kinds of initiatives also help young people to engage and get to know the Pioneers and develop empathy, counter any misconceptions and help prevent stereo-typing all round. Quite often young people often get a lot of bad press in the wider media, so it is good to shout about the many positive things our young people apply them selves to. I really see Maldon as a beacon of hope in a world, which, at times, can seem void of hope. We all need to celebrate the many good things going on right under our noses.
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