Tenth birth­day is char­ity cel­e­bra­tion

Macclesfield Express - - NEWS - RHI­AN­NON MCDOWALL rhi­an­non@en­media.co.uk @rhi­an­nonMEN

ACHARITY which helps adults with dis­abil­i­ties to be part of wider so­ci­ety is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th an­niver­sary

Speak­ing Up Speak­ing Out is a self ad­vo­cacy group set up in 2005 and is run by and for adults with dis­abil­i­ties.

It means that mem­bers have more of a say, more choice and more con­trol over their lives.

And thanks to a Big Lottery Grant in 2012, it has grown to in­clude a drop in cen­tre known as ‘Para­chute’, which of­fers more ser­vices and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for its ‘drop­per in­ners’.

Karen Keen, who man- ages and help set up the pro­ject, said: “In the first six years more than 40 adults with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties were in­volved in run­ning their or­gan­i­sa­tion and were en­abled to de­velop skills, have a say in im­por­tant is­sues that af­fect them, be­come more in­volved in the lo­cal com­mu­nity, get out and about and most im­por­tantly make friends.

“In 2012 we were awarded a grant of £172,000 by the Big Lottery, and our drop-in, Para­chute, was launched.

“This meant we could ex­tend the hours we opened and the ser­vices we of­fered – and since then over 170 adults with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties have dropped in to Para­chute or taken part in our so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Over the years the group has en­joyed guest speak­ers, fundrais­ing, work­shops, so­cial events and days out. They have also spent time learn­ing about health, money, first aid and as­sertive­ness train­ing.

Clare Roberts, pro­ject co-or­di­na­tor for Para­chute, said: “I have been in­volved for two years and its heart-warm­ing to hear peo­ple talk­ing about the great times they’ve had at Speak­ing Up Speak­ing Out, peo­ple have so much pride in what they have achieved.

“A lot of its suc­cess can be at­trib­uted to Karen Keen who has been in­volved from the very be­gin­ning – lis­ten­ing and sup­port­ing peo­ple to say and do what they want to. Karen has bat­tled to se­cure fund­ing since the very be­gin­ning and has kept the or­gan­i­sa­tion go­ing and grow­ing. It’s a great achieve­ment to reach 10 years.”

The char­ity now ea­gerly awaits news of its latest Big Lottery grant ap­pli­ca­tion, which would en­able the char­ity to con­tinue.

If you would like any in­for­ma­tion about Speak­ing Up Speak­ing Out and the drop-in Para­chute go to 25-27 Old Park Lane Mon­day to Thurs­day 10.30am-3.45pm, call 01625 424717 or email info@macc­suso.org.uk.

●● He­len Jones and Jane Naden, blow­ing out the birth­day can­dles, are orig­i­nal mem­bers

●● Sup­port­ers of Speak­ing up Speak­ing Out celebrate its 10th an­niver­sary

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