VALUES celebrates 20 years of supporting people with learning disabilities

VALUES provides opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Leicester and Leicestershire to learn new skills and have fun. This year VALUES turns 20 and they will be celebrating with a Prom event on Monday 17 December between 1pm and 4pm. There will be appearances from VALUES staff and clients old and new, along with plenty of fun, food and dancing.

VALUES is based at, and managed by, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire. The service offers more than 100 sessions to over 120 clients, covering anything from cooking skills, travel training and employment skills to cinema trips, the VALUES band and a weekly disco. VALUES sessions are paid is paid for through Personal Budgets, so every service user gets to choose which activities they want to do each week. Clients have the same support worker each week, which gives them a sense of stability

For two years in a row VALUES has crowdfunded a weekend holiday for a group of their clients. Last year, 12 VALUES clients went to the Lake District with the Calvert Trust, where they were able to take part in activities like bike rides on three-wheeled accessible bikes, canoeing and archery. The activities gave them a chance to do things they might otherwise not be able to do, and for many of the clients it was a chance to have their first experience away from home for an extended period.

Mikaela Paterson, VALUES Team Manager, said:

“Over the last 20 years, VALUES has grown from a simple idea to a service with dozens of staff and volunteers supporting over 120 clients every week.

I’ve been so proud to be part of a project that brings so much joy to so many people, but that also provides a much needed service for members of our local community who might otherwise find themselves excluded from many activities and opportunities.

I’m looking forward to celebrating our 20th birthday and I really hope that in another 20 years we’ll still be here having fun and supporting our local community.”

One of our clients volunteers within VAL to improve her skills and confidence, which is also a huge support to her mother:

VALUES is valuable asset and amazing support to my daughter and myself. They provide a safe, fun and caring environment for her which then gives me peace of mind that she is happy and that I don’t need to worry about her, which then gives me that extra support in her time spent there.”

Another client, Binita, has been at VALUES for 11 years. She went on one of the holidays and regularly does cooking, fashion, afternoon tea and the library group. VALUES has helped her to build confidence, make friends and do things she might not otherwise have had the chance to do like volunteering and traveling independently.

For Binita, VALUES is more than just a weekly activity:

“VALUES is the best thing in my life. We are family.”

VALUES accepts referrals for new clients at any time. If you are a parent or carer of someone who would enjoy VALUES activities, or if you work with people with learning disabilities who would benefit from VALUES support, contact the VALUES team directly.

You can also find out what’s going on at VALUES by visiting their Facebook page at