The Life Project is a Bath based charity running a range of activities for people with learning disabilities and their parent carers. They are committed to creating communities; transforming society; loving life.
Estimates suggest that of the more than 3,000 people with learning disabilities in the BANES area, only 1 in 4 of those are known by local relevant service providers.
Registered as a charity in 2011, The Life Project was started by a group of Christian families with young adults who have learning disabilities. Their mission is to support people with learning disabilities in Bath area by:
- Providing homes for life according to their individual needs
- Providing a wide variety of daytime activities with opportunities to discover and develop new skills
- Creating an environment that promotes social development and nurtures healthy relationships
- Enabling people with learning disabilities to grow in their relationship with God and have a platform to express their uniqueness to the world around them
As a relatively new charity, The Life Project needed the opportunity and support to work on its operations and to develop its organisational skills and capacity. The Life Project approached St John’s in 2014 to apply to the three-year Core Funding Programme for funds to employ a Development Manager. The aim of the funding was to develop future sustainable activities, specifically work on the ‘Old Acorn Barn’ activities for young adults with learning disabilities, which include helping to produce wire plant supports for the garden, working on their allotment, preparing lunch or creating other “mouth-watering delights in our kitchen.”
The Life Project was successful in its application to St John’s and was awarded £45,000 over three years.
As a result of the funding, The Life Project has been able to develop strategic objectives that have enabled it to focus on achieving its aims and ambitions. The Life Project has gone on to gain further funding from St John’s to secure a base at the Southside Youth Hub, allowing the project to expand its activities and reach.
For example, ‘Miss T’ has a learning disability and in September 2016 joined the ‘Makers’ at the Life Project.
‘Miss T’ had recently left Three Ways School and unfortunately suffered the recent loss of a parent. She was understandably withdrawn and unsettled, however she quickly settled into the Life Project’s activities and became an enthusiastic gardener and keen cook. She produced some lovely artwork and movingly painted a beautiful portrait of her deceased father, whilst also benefitting from a number of sessions where she was able to talk about coping with her loss. At the Life Project, ‘Miss T’ was able to settle herself and blossom before taking on her next steps, applying to college.
Sarah Couchan said “The Old Acorn Barn project is now fully self-financing with attendees paying to access it, which would not have been possible without the funding. We have also been successful in securing a number small grants from funders such as Chrysalis, Jug of Oil Trust and Quartet Foundation.”