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People First Dorset

People First Dorset is as established local charity that supports people with learning disabilities and raises public awareness of their needs.

People First Dorset

The charity is led by people with learning disabilities and aims to help them be independent, to be able to choose  and to be included in community life. To achieve this they run services and activities that develop mutual confidence and communication skills, and the ability to challenge decisions together. They also provide user-led quality checks of service providers. All activities are supported by the production of accessible information called Easy Read, which is a format that helps people with learning disabilities understand information easily by using pictures to support the meaning of text.

A grant from the Youth Social Action Fund will support a project to enable 30 young people with learning disabilities to team up with two groups from the Prince’s Trust Team Programme at Weymouth College. Together they will create Easy Read directories of public buildings such as libraries, cafes, restaurants, medical and other services in Dorchester and Weymouth that will help other people with learning disabilities decide where to go. The groups will visit local venues, check accessibility, write reviews, and compile them.

The guide is essential as it can be much more difficult for people with learning disabilities to take part in social action projects, as they often need additional support.

This project will give the volunteers an opportunity to feel valued for their perspective, to widen their social networks and to experience an increased mental wellbeing. The wider outcomes of the project involve the reduction of isolation and loneliness in those with learning difficulties by increasing their awareness of local buildings that are easy to access. They also hope to encourage community venues to be more accessible for those with learning difficulties.

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