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02 December 2015

Wednesday 2 December 2015

On the second day of #LYInclusion Week, we look at the integration and diversity in one of our member clubs, The Rathbone Society in Lambeth who has a long history of providing support to children, young people and adults with learning difficulties. They have been busy working on an integration programme for the last 18 months.

As part of the Rathbone Inclusion Programme, they offer activities such as Creative writing/ Poetry, Music Production, table tennis and Hair and beauty skills to name a few. At present two integrated youth work sessions are delivered each week. As part of these sessions, transport and additional staff are provided to facilitate the programmes on offer. The sessions are open access so there is a loose structure to the programme. Each session is made up of structured activities that young people are encouraged to participate in, such as DJ skills or fencing. These are available to young people of all abilities. In addition the club have non structured activities such as creative crafts and games consoles which enable young people to come together socially, make new friends and learn transferable skills whilst also having fun.

Youth workers at Rathbone have seen a definite increase in confidence and communications skills amongst the young people they engage with. Formerly shy and introverted young people have become very outspoken and participate in many of the sessions on offer. Most have benefitted from having peers around them that treat them ‘normally’ as it promotes resilience. The integration has brought not only an understanding but an awareness of diversity and disability to the group. Many have challenged their own misconceptions of disabilities which has enabled them to develop their communication skills.

Andrew Preston, Chief Executive of Rathbone Society says:

“I believe many of the young people with additional needs are excluded because of other people’s limiting beliefs, i.e. thinking they can’t do things mainstream young people can. These create boundaries to participation as they aren’t given the opportunity to try certain things. Here at The Old Library we offer all activities to all young people and encourage and support them to get involved. “

London Youth’s Getting Ready sports programme also supports Rathbone to offer inclusive sport opportunities to young people in and around West Norwood.  We currently facilitate fencing and table tennis. The weekly coaching has been supported by investment of equipment, including a community fencing set and new table tennis tables, as well as workforce development opportunities for staff and young leaders.  Alongside the term time activities, we support Rathbone to provide a variety of holiday activities including swimming, roller skating, ten pin bowling, cycling and access to sport festivals and competitions.  All sessions are offered to young people are accessible for all.

Last year Rathbone ran a hugely successful integrated trip to our outdoor education centre,  Hindleap Warren, and they returned earlier this year for the Forward Thing Residential 2015 to join another 4 member clubs for a weekend of fun and learning.

We’re looking forward to seeing what else Rathbone get up to in the future.

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