Let's Get Digital
Options for Life received a grant from Mencap for this project. The project enables the participants to achieve digital skills and get online.
Participants received internet-enabled tablets to use in the building and at home.
Five staff and two participants received free access to Digital Champions network to learn digital skills through various training.
Participants enjoy weekly 'Let's Get Digital' session where they meet with their friends from other hubs on Zoom, learn to create their email addresses and send emails to their friends using Gmail.
They also play educational games, participate in 'Makaton Music', watch documentaries on YouTube, create artwork on tablets, and many other digital activities. The project creates Digital Champions who will be helping their peers learn digital skills.
Renovation for Nutrition
Screwfix Foundation has awarded us a grant towards the cost of refurbishing the kitchen at Oak Green Lodge, one of the hubs of the Options for Life. The work has been completed and the kitchen is ready for use by the participants. They enjoy cooking healthy food for themselves and their friends and family in the kitchen. This project builds the base for the improved mental state of the participants, greater physical stability, excellence in cooking skills, and a boost in self-confidence of the participants.
Let's Get Active!
Let's Get Active! project is part of another Mencap grant under Tackling Inequalities Fund. The project engages participants and staff into online fitness sessions. The trainer, Teena delivers the online fitness session once a week to the participants. Participants use their tablets to watch the exercises and practise with the trainer. The grant supports the trainer salary and the room hire for the sessions. The project provides effective and targetted relief for those who have suffered isolation, loneliness and physical inactivity during national lockdown.
Let's Grow Digital
We have received a grant from Mencap to set up a digital hub at our Oak Green Lodge hub. A previous Mencap grant allowed us to provide tablets to our participants. However, a project that would provide digital skills opportunities to the parents and carers would be beneficial. So, we have created a digital hub with four laptops. Parents, carers and participants are free to come in and use the laptops for learning, training or any other digital activities. We will add some more laptops to the digital hub from the Turner Trust grant for the project.
Music for Wellbeing
Music is the passion of our participants. The funding from a charitable organisation will help purchase musical accessories such as an analogue audio mixer, loudspeaker, microphone, headphones, multicore, portable stage, stage lights, control board and cables. In addition, we have iPads and musical instruments which our participants use in their music sessions. The funding will also support hiring a music trainer and musicians to join the sharing sessions for a year. The participants will be engaged in practice workshops with our music tutor every week at the Ocker Hill venue of Options for Life. There will also be four hours of music sessions every month by an expert professional musician. Each of the sessions will demonstrate new styles and instrumentation. Our participants will collaborate with the musician and staff to perform in our existing choir. In addition, they will have an insight into the styles and cultural backgrounds of their music. Moreover, our radio shows will feature the interviews of our participants about their experience of music.
Football 4 Healthy Life
Options for Life received a grant from Boshier-Hinton Foundation for its 'Football 4 Healthy Life' project. Football is a healthy game which ensures participants sound physical health. This project will provide an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to receive training, practice and take part in football competitions. It will bring out the individual potential, build their confidence and keep them physically and mentally fit.
Ten of our participants will receive football strips in the project. They will practise football sessions every week at Goals. Each football session will last for two hours and will consist of fun football matches, coaching drills and other football activities. The sessions will be open to all abilities and impairments. We will invite other charities working with learning disabilities to join the fun.
Options for Life Website Development
The Eveson Trust provided a grant of £5,940 toward a web development project for Options for Life. The project will introduce a brand new website for Options for Life. The new website will be built on a drag-and-drop interface that will allow us to update the website without any coding knowledge.
An informative and interactive website is essential for a charity organisation like Options for Life. It will help communicate with our participants, their parents and carers, funders and stakeholders. The website will also be a platform to raise funding to support our participants as well.
The funding will also help procure some marketing materials for the publicity of our work to the wider communities.
Glow & Go!
Thanks to Arnold Clark Community Fund for a grant of £2,000 for our beauty salon project. The fund will be used to provide a purpose-built beauty salon at the Ashes hub for the participants who are people with learning disabilities and/or autism, to be able to have a more real-life experience whilst taking part in their beauty, hair and pamper sessions. The cost for the equipment to set up the beauty salon will be met by the grant money.
We have also received a grant of £2,661 from Morrisons Foundation for the project to be set up at the Oak Green Lodge hub. The participants at the Oak Green Lodge hub will also have the opportunity to go through a beauty salon experience at the hub. A beauty trainer will provide beauty care and tips to the participants.
Let's Enjoy Christmas Dinner!
Options for Life won the Tesco Community Grant competition with votes from the customers. We received a grant of £1,495 for our project to offer a Christmas meal to our participants.
Christmas is a magical, happy and exciting time for most families, full of laughter and festive fun, but for families whose loved ones have a learning disability, this can be far from the most wonderful time of the year. The flashing lights, crowds of people, unexpected guests, loud music and even family gatherings can cause severe anxiety and distress to those suffering from a learning disability, particularly those with Autism.
With the Christmas meal together with their peers, participants will enjoy the festive season and friendship. This will build on the sense of well-being and self-worth resulting in achieving their aspirations and full potential. Participants will enjoy a three-course meal with starters, the main course and a dessert. They will receive Christmas gifts and engage in decorating the hub.
Christmas Theatre Trips
Options for Life received a grant of £2,000 from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust to offer Christmas Theatre Trips to our participants.
Participants in Acorn Lodge hub have PMLD and 80% are in wheelchairs. As a result, they rarely have an opportunity to go to the theatre and enjoy shows. So, the project will enable them to enjoy theatrical performances in Wolverhampton and Birmingham in December. Twenty-four participants will enjoy Dream Girl, Aladdin, and Elf in separate groups. The venues offer wheelchair spaces for audiences who have access needs.
The project aims to encourage and assist people with learning disabilities to participate in and enjoy leisure pursuits and have new and exciting experiences in a safe and stimulating environment.
Time2Relax: Setting up a Sensory Room
Our participants who are people with learning disabilities and/or autism have difficulties with effective communication, social interactions and comprehension, which result in atypical behaviours that make it difficult for them to focus and thrive in everyday
We received a grant of £3,109.36 from a Charitable Trust to create a sensory room which will include adding sensory lights to one of the smaller rooms at our Ocker Hill hub. The participants can use this room to access it as and when they would like to as part of their drop-in sessions.
We will buy lights and different sensory materials. In addition, we have a touchscreen TV to be installed in the room. We will also install light-up liquid floor tiles, which will create sensory stories. This sensory experience will work on a scheduled basis. Participants from other community hubs can also use our sensory room, making it available for wider community use.