Gail manages the Inspire project for Gateway Community, which supports adults with learning difficulties, disabilities, and mental health issues. The project focuses on creativity, environmental issues, and giving individuals a voice. It offers a variety of activities including cooking, crafts, and life skills training. 

The project originated from working with parents of younger individuals with special educational needs and has grown to support adults who have aged out of college services. Participants have the freedom to choose their activities and receive one-on-one support funded through direct payments. The project aims to provide personalized support and a sense of community for individuals with diverse needs.

So can you tell me a little bit about yourself? OK, so, um, I'm Gail. Um I manage, um, the Inspire project for Gateway Community. Um, we work with adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, but also physical disabilities as well. Um, we cover mental health, too

Um, what inspires, really? It's it's well, it's a cover all really project. A lot of people say it's an art project and things like that, but that's because a lot of what we do is very creative. Um, we use, um, environmental issues as well, because we do a lot of recycling, but it's about really a smoothie because my project is there to give people like Sarah and and and other, you know, layers that we have a voice

You know, um, a lot of the people who work here also have people in their own families who suffer with autism, mental health and such like, and can see the struggle. So do personally understand it as well. So we have at the moment we have about, I think, about 20 adults on programme with us

Um and that's growing at the moment. But what we do is we cover. Um well being with them

Personal budgeting, life skills. We do cooking. We do crafts

We do like proper construction. We have a workshop and everything, and that's my sort of area that I work in. So I love that

Anyway, um, I'll just to just me camera. Um, so yeah, and we do maths, English, everything. You know, we we come at this, really We we we worked more as an alternative provision for younger ones, but we ended up sort of starting up the project of Inspire, um because we worked with parents of some of the younger ones first because we worked in schools to help with mentoring and things like that for kids who had problems with within school is how it all started

Really? Um, but in that, you know, it was notable that a lot of these kids had SEN needs but weren't sort of being recognised or weren't being diagnosed. Um, so we started working more and more with parents as well, because parents were asking us for support then as well. And in doing that, we got involved with parent groups more

And then we ended up engaging with parents who had kids Well, I say kids, but they were dependents, let's say, because they were adults at that point. But at that point, there's no support. Once they leave college, hang on a second

And my fella just popped in. Yeah, so, um so, yeah, so pretty much what we did. Then we we started working with the parents who's dependent when our adults and once they get to adulthood, they can go to college for a short period of time

But then there comes a point around sort of to 21 more that they they they can't go to college. Do you know what I mean? Or College is not working for them up to the age of 25 but most of them, by about 23 have finished the college and nothing there for them. So we wanted to set up AAA cover all sorts of project really the way we can support them

So we'll have some of them will come in to us some days and they'll go. I need help phoning up and about an appointment, so we'll help them with that. Someone might come in and go

I wanna make this so we'll make something with them. So inspire really is something that they have a choice. They have a choice of everything they do throughout the day, you know, and they've got support there as well

We have a lot of our learners as well Get 1 to 1 support which is funded. So it's all funded through their own direct payments. So everything is their choice, so they choose to come with us

How many? So in Halton, Like what kind of support day to day? Do people like the people accessing your service needs? So, like, what kind of support would they typically need? So they need a lot of them. They do the they I'd say they need some P a support. So, you know, um, a lot of them really should have some PAS in place, you know? So there's that 1 to 1 support where if they do want to go out somewhere, you know, they've got that support for people to go out with them

Some of them can, you know, move around independently, like we have varying differences. Really. In our learners, we have some that un unable

But it you know, we have a young lady who's nonverbal. But do you know what She She's a clever one. what she do? You know, she she could wipe me off the floor when it comes to maths and English

But because she's nonverbal, people don't really notice that. And she she's somebody who could quite easily be quite ignored. And I think throughout her life, she has been, you know, but in in Inspire

She's had the opportunity to be able to sort of be herself, and we're encouraging that even more, you know, for her, like so she'll get her own white board. Now you know she'll go and pick that up and she'll she'll write things down because she's quite eloquent in writing and everything. You know

She's very literate, Um, and maths. My God, she's like a genius, you know? I mean, she she's counting at the same time as working out the sum. But then numbers don't correspond with what the sum is

I mean, how she does it. I don't know, you know, But we praise, you know. I mean, when we see these things, we we raise it with the parents

I mean, even her parents, and she's in her twenties. Now her parents didn't even realise that she could do that, where she does this counting when she's working sons out. And they didn't realise how bright she was in that respect, you know? So the learners have the opportunity to be themselves in here, And also in doing that, they they can then grow in themselves as well and beyond, sort of, say, like you, uh, 9 to 5 kind of service

What kind of things? So what's not working particularly well in Halton? So, like other things that could be improved for people. So I mean, that is one of the things I mean, it's that it's that 1 to 1 support, really, when they're not within here, Right? So I mean, you know, they have the opportunity to come here now, but if they didn't have that opportunity, they wouldn't really have much. I mean, there is something that the Council deliver themselves with

They can place people in placements, you know, some work placements, and that's really good. And it works well. But there's only so many of them that you can have places for, you know, um, and and so that's why really this got set up because nothing else was really set up

They have some day services, but you know, a lot of our people, they want more than just a day service, you know, they want to be able to grow as a person. Just because they've got learning disabilities and difficulties doesn't mean you can't grow as a person. And we was previously speaking to someone you support that seems to have got stuck in hospital, like how much supported housing

And, you know, is that a problem in hold? Well, there is. There is supported housing, and there's a fair bit of it when you look around, I suppose. But a lot of that is taken up by the issue of like I said to you, You know, people with drug and alcohol issues and and a lot of the spaces are took up by that

So we we have another young lady who comes to us as well, who is an independent living The A. I would. It's not necessarily a supported living, but it it's managed the premises that she lives in

So it is managed, Um, but again, you know, it's full of people with drug problems. And she, you know, she's she's trying to move away herself and things like that, and what happens is you get enthralled in it or she still has these people still knocking on your door, you know? And she she's also got lots of other issues herself, like with autism and stuff like that. So it's a real issue that, you know, people with the learning difficulties and disabilities are kind of put in the same sort of

And I mean, I say this because a lot of the people with drug and alcohol issues probably are people who who are undiagnosed, you know? And I think that this is the issue, really. But, you know, if somebody has no drug and alcohol problems, there should at least be some space somewhere where they can go to live. Supported that there isn't people with that can encourage them sort of things, you know? Can I ask you, You talked about the support that you offer to families and and carers, but what's the, you know, what's your experience? Do people family and carers have enough support to, you know, is there really good support mechanisms? Um, again, do you know, uh, I think well, I think that the issue is I think the whole system's broke and and yeah, and I think we could say that about most services

I think the whole system's broke. I mean, you know, I work with all professionals across what we do, you know, And I mean, I look at what's happening with social services now, you know, and I don't think that. And it's not a criticism to the people who work in social services, you know what I mean? But how it's how it's run that I don't think it's right

I mean, I think you know, most of the social workers appear to only work like one or two days, three days a week. How can you be be in a job as important as that in in just a couple of days a week? I just find that, you know, I mean, when in the past it you know, they were there all the time, you know, and they had named social workers. So when they get to a point of like when they're adults, they don't have a named social worker anymore, either

Which is hard because You know, change is a massive thing for them, you know? So if they don't know who they're going to be talking to, if they need support and it's like we have another young lady who lives pretty independent, really, even though she's got her difficulties and it's one of the ladies who's done a video with Kate and she she struggles, like with with her health problems. Terrible, you know? And if we weren't there, she wouldn't know what she should do to get support. Do you know she she wouldn't know to pick up her phone and phone up a duty social worker? You know, that just doesn't

She'd feel like she was doing wrong if she did that. And I don't think the understanding, really. When? When? You know, policymakers are making all these ideas of how things should work

They haven't got a clue to me like you're so passionate and people that would fall through the gaps because communication access. How much co production have you done with the local authority? Well, I worked on the the co production, um, meetings, You know, I, I That's where I met Kate, actually initially. And a few of the team, Um, Jenny and the other young lady who was doing it with us? Um, Vicky Zumba

I did some of that with her. Um, yeah. So I went to all the meetings with a couple of our lanes

Um, there, you know, And, you know, I want to be as fully involved as I possibly can, because it is a passion to me that, like, you know, things change for for these people, you know, And it's like I work with I Like I said, I work with all the professionals, and I can see, you know, people in our own community that I work with. You know, I went out to, um, our local, um, learning disability services for the adults to do talk on the inspired project to them. And, you know, they they are passionate people, and they've gone into them jobs to do the jobs to help these people

But, you know, a lot of the time they hands at times as well by rules and regulations of you can do this. You can't do this, you know, I mean, just the question of what is a learning disability really needs to be defined because it it it it. It's like what's happened with Sam, who will talk to you in a bit

You know, how can she be diagnosed as she's got a learning disability all her life and she's in her thirties now and then all of a sudden, she hasn't to her. It's like, Well, how can that be? You know, and is What's your hopes for this co production chart or this co production piece of work that Holton's been doing? Well, I really you know, I hope I hope that, you know, we can all work together and I really do. You know, that's my aim is that I can work, you know, in in sort of in co production

Really? You know what I mean? In that sense, with all the services with social services with the LD sport teams, do you know what I mean? I mean, the the thing with it is is that the the service that we do? You know, sometimes it's looked on as that, and I mean, you know, not everybody likes that. I'll stand up and I'll get on my soapbox sometimes and I'll say things. I'm a very honest person, you know? And I do this job for the right reasons

I don't do it for any monetary thing. You know, apart from I have to live and I get a wage, you know, and M. My main drive is I want to see the lives of the people that I work with improve

But also, it's not even just that, you know, I want to see the whole system improve more. I wanna see it better for the professionals that I'm working with that are from external agencies. Do you know what I mean? I mean, what we do when we deliver in here

If we work with the social services, the LD teams, you know it'll make the it makes the jobs easier as well. You know, if there's services like ours where we can support them in an overall manner and just have them support alongside to help And for us not to be looked on as someone who just sign at the mid Do you think that this Coro chart this coro piece of work will help to maybe create some of that opportunity? I hope so, Yeah. I mean, that is my biggest hope is that we can all start working better together because I was working

We're all working for the same A. We're all working to make life better for these people, you know? So we that it's always about working together. Thank you so much

Um, that's arrived. Yeah, I've just seen her. She just arrived, so I'll just give it five minutes

I'll just go and have a chat with her and just let her I'll pause it for that in a sec, then. Ok, Thank you. All right

Now I'll be back. So as I said, you're happy to be recorded. And so tell me a little bit about yourself

So who are you? Samantha Halton. And, um, I wanna know a little bit about your life in Halton. So tell me about your life

A little. A little bit about your life I live in on my own with sport. Yeah

What do you enjoy doing and Kumar here, OK, and when you come to When? When you're at Gateway. What do you really like about Gateway Project? Mhm. Yeah

And can I ask you, Sam, um what support do you need to live a good life in good spot. No, no. Um PP four

OK, so what's good? Support? Tell me. First of all, what good support is it? Good. Not treated bad, OK? And when you say get treated good

Is that, uh, tell me exactly, is that how some is that people being kind to you? Is that what What's the What's the difference between good and bad support? Like they should be listened to you? Yeah. Not like No. Yeah

Yeah. And have you had lots of support that is has not listened to you? Yes. And how does that make you feel? Feel upset

And that and anxiety make my mental health worse. Yeah, And when you get good support, how does that make you feel Happy? Uh, yeah. Thinking about somebody that supports you Well or good support

Tell me. Tell me who you would be thinking about and what What do they do? Julie and Tina is all right. They they've got to chapter Julie H and Dina

Thank God. OK, And you talk to them about things that were important to you and my part on it. Yeah

OK, So what are some of the problems that you might have um I don't know if we've got a learning disability or disability. Did they test me for everything down there? And how does that make you feel? Just my head Go round and round in spaces at the moment. Mhm

Because I know that you've had that a learning disability for a long time, and they recently changed that diagnosis. Do you feel that you've been listened to in that process? No, not listening to Oh, no. And what do you hope? Could be different

What would you want to be different? No. Feel the same? It's the same. Yeah, so? So you You want everything to stay the same? Yeah

Tell me a little bit about the things that you enjoy doing in life. So what would you wanna do? Like if you had the best life? What would you wanna do? Um, go away on holiday anywhere. Nice

Go to Benidorm. Wow. Benidorm

Oh, and have who did you go to Benidorm with my sister and tell me about your sister. She's a care a lot for me, Lisa. She does a lot for me

Do you need a lot of help to be able to have a good life. Yeah, OK. Thinking about sometimes

What? Because I don't know you so thing like, I need a little bit of help because I've got mental health challenges. What kind of things do you need help with, um, cooking and cleaning and just things like that. OK, so OK, Is there any other my, uh, medication pickled with that? So you said that you love to go on holiday with your S

Sister's a great support for you. Sometimes you need a little bit of help with cooking, cleaning medication and things like that. What do you find particularly difficult? What? What's the most difficult for you? No, I I'm I'm with you

I struggle with that one as well. When you need support, Do you know where to go? No. So if if you had a problem or you needed support, where would you go? Um, I just phone 111

It's called 111. Yeah. Mental health, mental health, Something like that

I don't know. What's your experience been of getting mental health support? Not good, You know? No good. He closed me

Open me, Close me When you say they close me open, you What do you mean? Do they put you in hospital? And no, they don't help people at all. Ok, OK. What? What would you want them to do differently? Like what help would you need in the community? Yeah, tell me what help you would need

And with my mental health. Yeah, mhm how to cope with my moods and that and cope with other things. Mhm

And when you've asked for help in the past, how have they helped you? And they haven't helped me much down there. But in Wales, they helped me. Yeah, thinking about well, like they helped you in

Well, if they were going to do the same thing in Halton What What would that be? What would they like? What would that look like in Halton for you, then? Did sh um what did the same? Yeah, te tell me what was different about the support you got in Wales. Mm. Sport here

They don't do much here sport in Wales to do keep you open. But he had to close your case. I don't know why

And do you have a social worker? Do you have a psycho? Tell me about your relationship with your social worker. She's all right. So that's good

That's nice to know. And what kind of things does she help you with? Not a lot. Um, she's been trying to help me with Help me with my appointments, but she told me to ring spot at home, but spot at home been taken to my me for my injections, Big 12 injections they can get

And she been taking me S. So getting staff to take you to appointments is really difficult. Yes

Um, can I ask you about like, So you come to the, uh Is it Gateway? Yeah. How many days a week do you come there? Twice. Twice

Twice a day. Yeah. And what do you do on the other other time? What? What do you do with the rest of your time? Stay at home

And what do you do at home? Chill. Chill. So do you like chilling? Would you like to do more things? Do you feel like you can get out and you've got a dog? I've got a doggie here

My dog is my doggie is called Steph. Chihuahua. Chihuahua? Yeah

Yeah. So you like animals? Um, what else would you like to do? So you got you go to gateways. You like, chilling and looking after your dogs

Are there other things you would like to do? I like Children. OK? Yeah. What? What? What would you do you? What do you like about Children with Children? Yeah, Yeah

Helping Children. So would you like that as a job? Or would you like that as a no? Just like a nursery thing. You'd like to work in a nursery? Yeah

Do does. Does anyone has anyone spoken to you about how you could work in a nursery? Oh, you've come. Is is anyone supported you or spoken to you about how you might work in a youth club or a nursery? No

No. Would you like someone to speak to you about that? Yeah, OK, that's good. I'm I'm learning an operation at the moment, OK? And have you got Do you feel you've got lots of support to manage that, are you? I got my sister and the spot loca

Dana and Julie. Yeah, so you've got lots of support. So tell me about Tina and Julie

Like what makes them really good support workers. Ah, tell me about Tina. They send to me

Mm. And, uh, sit down. They have a conversation with me, but some kind of still mhm

Yeah. Yeah, I'm I'm glad that you've got people that listen to you. And when you've got people that don't listen to you What I What does that do? Like, how does that affect you? Um, just affect me when you're playing on their phones or not

Uh, Well, do that for one hour. Just playing on my phones. Mhm

So do stuff with me. Do stuff with you. What stuff would you like to do? And I play games and not with me

Yeah. So not only are you a dog lover, and you like to chill. You like to play games

What kind of games do you like to play on my switch switch? Sorry. I heard which. So you like to play computer games? Um, that's really good to know

Um what could what? What could be different? Like what? What would do you need any more support? What more support would you like? Um hm? Mhm getting out with the dog for one hour or so. Getting out in the community. Yeah

Um Did you go to the co production? Um, sessions. Did you go? No. Do do Have you heard about co production? And what is that? It's Yeah

It's where people work together to design a service or help or have conversations about what's important to people. So there's lots of co production happening in Horton. And this piece of work is about that

Um Do you do lots of things locally? Yeah. Tell me some of those things that you do locally. I go to school on a Wednesday over Wednesday A and who takes you there

Miss Paul woke up tonight. A different one and my sister meet us there. But I get anxiety, right? The heart rate been going up? Yeah

Could you go? Would you be able to go without a support worker and I get an anxious and anxiety. So you need a support worker to do that that first year? Oh, yeah. What kind of disco is it? Pardon? What kind of disco? Ok, And are you a dancer or are you a shaker or are you a What are you? Sit down and listen

Sit down and listen. I. I must sort of sit down and listen

Have a packet of crisps and bob along to the music. That's me. Oh, so we're We're we're similar there

Um, tell me, what's so great about coming to ga gateways make new friends? Yeah. Yeah. Might give their friends

And if is there anything else you wanted to share with me about your life or your story? Um, the stuff are good there. Yeah, very helpful. Hello

Like G who I know of so good. And if you got lots of friends there? Yeah, and would you like to keep on coming to Gateway? Is it important for you to go to gateways got? Have you got any questions for me, I? I don't know. I haven't got any more questions for you, but it's been lovely to meet with you

Um and I hope you have a lovely rest of your day. Yeah, that. Thanks

OK, ok,.

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