Young adults with learning disabilities and autism got to meet patients with terminal illness as well as gaining valuable work experience on a visit to Nottinghamshire Hospice in Mapperley
Four young people from Nottinghamshire Clubs for Young People (NCYP) spent a day at the hospice where they got to work in the hospice garden, clearing leaves ready for composting and tidying up before chatting to patients in the afternoon.
The young people, all from Nottingham, had expressed an interest in working in gardening, admin, and care. During the day they also helped with admin tasks, writing Christmas cards to supporters and preparing for the hospice’s upcoming Festive Fair.
Ryan Bowler, 24, of Clifton, Nottingham, said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. I like working outdoors and seeing the autumn colours. I’d like to work as a gardener. I also liked playing dominoes with the patients, writing Christmas cards and folding the raffle tickets for the tombola.”
Lisa Barker, Chief Executive at NCYP said: “Our young people may struggle to be active citizens because they are not in education, employment or training which puts them at a big disadvantage in the workplace. But if we equip them with other skills such as travel, communication and presentation it improves their chances of entering the job market.
“People may have preconceptions about what they think people with learning disabilities and autism can do, but when they meet our young people they are surprised by their abilities and realise their potential. All our young people have trained in British Sign Language and First Aid for example and they will be doing their food safety certificate.
“We’re very grateful to Nottinghamshire Hospice for providing this opportunity.”
Some of the young people said they would like to come back and volunteer at the hospice on a regular basis. Paul Crooks, 23, of the Meadows, said: “I liked everything about the day especially working in the garden clearing the leaves. I’d like to do the garden every day!”
The visit was part of a six-month structured programme of work experience put together by NCYP and funded through Futures, Nottingham and the European Social Fund. The aim is to support young people with learning disabilities to become more active citizens and open up employment opportunities.
The four who came to the hospice are part of a cohort of ten young people offered the opportunity to volunteer in areas of their choice. They have also carried out work experience at a sports centre, fire station and an agricultural machinery plant.
Rowena Naylor-Morrell, Chief Executive at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to host this group of young people here. They’ve all worked hard and our patients enjoyed meeting them.
”At the hospice we’re keen to build links with our local community and show people what we do here. We plan to continue this partnership with Nottinghamshire Clubs for Young People and hope they will come and spend time here again.”