It’s that time of year and everyone, including PIP, is going back to school or getting back into the structure of work after a glorious summer break that just seems more relaxed, more chilled, sunnier (most of the time for us UK people)!
For many PIP students and families, holiday times don’t feel like that. They feel anxious that school/college is out, that the PIP timetable changes, that their children don’t have the structure, the activities, the social interaction that they have during normal term time.
This is why PIP doesn’t close over the holiday periods. We run a summer leisure programme for 5 weeks for students, which consists of activities at PIP, but many trips out into the community.
Together we explore London, visiting museums, galleries, leisure and sports activities. We eat together, enjoy the park, do things we have never done before and practice the skills we learn during the year at PIP.
We interact with the public, buy tickets, go shopping, count money for the shop keeper, ask questions, travel on public transport, chat to each other and read signs.
Most importantly we have FUN. And we enjoy the summer. It’s always over too soon. But hey, now the new year is in full swing, the timetable is back and best of all…the PIP annual residential is just weeks away!
We challenge everyone to see, accept and value people with learning disabilities and urge you to continue to support our work.
We are now in our last full term before the summer holidays, so everyone at PIP is busy planning our summer Leisure Programme. PIP runs Leisure Programmes during the time when schools and colleges close for the holidays (Christmas, Easter and Summer). It is a time to take a break from our regular weekly timetable of activities and enjoy some different activities. We focus on accessing the community, something that many of our students find difficult.
This is the time that everyone gets to practice the skills they learn throughout the year: money management, interacting with new people, making friends, travelling by public transport. Yet it is also a time for enjoyment, fun and experiencing new things.
This Easter we visited a working farm. For many of our city based students – getting close to animals is something very new. For example Jonti, was afraid of visiting the farm and not sure about seeing the animals. However we prepared for the trip and as you can see from the photo he faced his fears and petted a goat! This was a real breakthrough and he can’t wait to go again.
We also visited a local London “hipster” bowling hangout All Star Bowling Lanes. Visiting somewhere like this is great fun and good practice for developing independence and social skills.
PIP’s always strives for the best for everyone who attends. We create quality opportunity and develop people to be more confident and independent individuals.
We challenge people to see, accept and value people with learning disabilities and urge you to continue to support our work.
For everyone, the road to the holiday season is always full of excitement, hopefulness and of course very busy times! It’s no different for us here at PIP. The holidays bring opportunity for students to really benefit from making things relevant and real. Numeracy sessions focused on budgeting for family Christmas gifts, healthy cooking sessions of course had a festive flavour and we made our own Christmas cards.
It is often the case that people with learning disabilities and their families are excluded from accessing the local community. PIP aims to help people be less excluded and more included in the wider community. Our Leisure programme included trips to London’s famous Winter Wonderland and we all went along to the German YMCA once again for our lunch! The Leisure programme and outings give our students the chance to practice the skills they learn during normal term time and of course have a great time socialising with each other. Students also made New Years resolutions. Daniel wanted to make more friends, Emma wanted to go to Spain, George wanted to play football. Just normal stuff that everyone wants but that aren't easy for our students: friends, holidays, social activities.
We are dedicated to helping not just people with learning disabilities and autism, but also their wider family and care network. PIP invited parents, family members and carers to our annual family evening to update everyone on what we have been up to in the past year, but also to encourage them to use us and each other as a help, guide, advocate and sounding post. Most families experience very similar challenges and difficulties and it’s great to share these, the problems, the solutions, good and bad to relieve the isolation that many can feel!
Gaining support from our local corporate community is extremely important to PIP. Two of our supporters Wates Construction and British Land have commissioned an art mural, to be used to inspire, unite and bring a community feel to the construction site they work together on. It has been an absolute pleasure to see students come up with ideas, concentrate and create something spectacular. The mural will be launched in April.
March wouldn’t be March without the anticipation of the upcoming theatre performance. This year the PIP theatre company are presenting “The Journey Of Peace” – a story of conflict, resolution, love, loss and peace. Produced and performed by people with learning disabilities the show will explore themes that resonate with us all, but which are truly important to the actors themselves and which have been explored through the therapeutic nature of the weekly drama sessions. We can’t wait to see it.
In conclusion this time of year - the holidays, the family meeting and our theatre show always highlight to us that there is so that we do but so much more to be done. We encourage you to donate again if you can and support people with learning disabilities to achieve their potential and importantly live the happy and fulfilled life that they deserve.
The October saw us embark on our annual holiday, a staple of the PIP calendar. Our student’s excitement for the trip had been building as early as last November and since summer went into overdrive! Our destination was the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre which is located in Manor Farm Country Park in Hampshire.
The centre offers day services, activity sessions and holidays for people of all ages with additional needs such as learning disability, autism, physical disability and sensory impairment, and was a welcome, beautiful, fun and tremendously well-equipped home away from home for us.
Our trip started at 10am on Monday as we piled into a minibus! We arrived without a hitch and settled in to our cosy log cabins for the evening, preparing for the gruelling activity filled days ahead.
Day 2 had us undertaking various team building exercises under the canopy of our forest home and was a great opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our wonderful activity leader Phil who we had met during our holiday last year.
After a morning of building go karts and balancing hoops we went out on to the water for canoeing and motorboating down the River Hamble.
On Day 3 we did archery in the morning followed by a monster of an obstacle course where we had to negotiate rope swings, see-saws and a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Daryl was particularly pleased with his efforts on the tyres!
We capped off the day with a go on the zip wire which required great teamwork and support from the students to help each other back up to the launch podium after each swing. Below you can see George and Waiel helping Gemma back after her go.
Onto day 4 where we went a beautiful walk through the Hampshire countryside and up to Manor Farm where the students had the opportunity to feed the animals and milk the cows. The students loved the chance to get up close with the farm animals and gave us a great opportunity to practice our makaton signing.
Which brings us on to Friday and our final day on holiday. After an awards ceremony where the students were celebrated for their hard work, enthusiasm and support for each other, it was time to travel back to PIP and home for some much needed rest!
The holiday is an important opportunity for people with learning disabilities to get a break from the city (and their family) and interact with each other in a different setting. It not only engages them in new and exciting activities but it gives them the opportunity to practice the other skills they learn at PIP, like cooking and socialising. For families, the PIP holiday has a real impact too, giving time to rest or catch up on other activities or even spend time with other members of the family, that may need some quality time.
PIP's word of the month throughout June and July was undoubtedly 'partnership'. We are continually amazed by the brilliant support we recieve from organisations and individuals, and this summer has been as busy as ever. We have been raising money with MyGravity through their 'Get To Gie' social media campaign; signing up new PIP volunteers at John Lewis Oxford Street; working on our strategic plan with British Land, and learning about interview etiqutte with L'Oreal.
We have embraced the summer with our annual Leisure Programme of activities. Our students have been getting activie swimming, dancng an dbowling, and have been out and about around London at the Imperial War Museum, Transport Museum and even the Harry Potter Studios. PIP students work hard all year building their independence and life skills, so the leisure programme is a well-earned break, while at the same time a chance for PIP to promote the importance of sports and commnity activities for aduts with learning disabilities.
PIP student Lauren hit the news stands in London paper City AM in August. Lauren took on a work experience placement with law firm Mayer Brown, working across a number of different deprtments and charming absolutely everybody- well done Lauren!
Behind the scenes at PIP HQ we have been working hard on the launch of 2 exciting upcoming events- our 4th annual Mountain Bike Challnege in Henley-on-Thames on 17 October, and an exclusive exhibition of PIP students' artwork, 'Daring to Defy the Barriers' -27 October-21 November in the Guardian Gallery in Kings Cross. We have also been working alongside volunteers from Adobe to build a brand new website for PIP- this will launch this week and will give us a better looking and more responsive hub for us to keep you up to date with all of PIP's news! Why not get your first look here: www.piponline.org.uk
Until next time!
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