Happy New Year from PIP!
Everyone here at PIP HQ is looking forward to 2014, with staff and students busy planning for what will inevitably be another jam-packed year! In 2013 we got a new building and a new timetable, lots of new faces and a non-stop programme of events and activities- what will 2014 bring?
Our new delivery space is now fully up and running, and our new kitchen is certainly the focus of activities. Our highlight was when the Healthy Cooking Group made us all a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings! We held our official opening for the new space on 13th December, which gave our Dance and Multimedia groups a chance to showcase the fantastic work they have been doing, as well as a chance for PIP staff, students, friends and supporters to reflect on our journey so far.
As promised in our last report, you can see some of our of photos from our working holiday in Somerset below. Our students took part in lots of activities, from working hard on the farm gardening and feeding the animals, to visiting Bath and taking the opportunity to relax in the wonderful Bath Spa. We also embraced the Halloween spirit with a pumpkin carving competition (you can see the results below), and learning how to cook pumpkin soup….in a cauldron!
Back at PIP we really enjoyed our Winter Leisure Programme. PIP students took part in ‘PIP’s Got Talent’ and treated us to songs (in a multitude of different languages), dance and some excellent costumes. We also visited the Southbank Centre where we tried out ballroom dancing along to some excellent music. PIP was of course the first group on the dance floor, but we did mange to persuade lots of members of the public to join us. PIP staff also got into the holiday sprit by taking part in a 5K Santa Dash around London’s Victoria Park- this is harder than it sounds in a full Santa costume!
However among all this fun we have been doing some hard work...honestly! Last week we were visited by a group of volunteers from HMRC, who generously gave up their time to deliver a workshop to our Numeracy group to teach them all about tax. This can be a difficult concept to grasp for those both with and without learning disabilities, so we would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful volunteers who made this session not only informative but also tremendously good fun!
Looking forward we have lots of exciting events on the horizon. 19th February marks the beginning of a month-long showcase of artwork created by PIP students, at Collyer Bristow gallery in Holborn. Shortly after this our students will be taking part in their very own sponsored fundraising event for PIP- the PIP Woodcraft Hiking Challenge. PIP students are teaming up with volunteers from the organisation Camden Woodcraft Folk to take part in a gruelling hike, culminating in an overnight stay in the wilderness (well, in a scout hut), before doing the whole thing again on the return journey. Finally on March 29th we will be holding our showcase event- the PIP Theatre Company’s Annual Performance. Their original production, Darkness Comes To Castle Kingdom, will be performed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and tells a story inspired by the museum’s collections. We hope to see you there!
The past few months at PIP have been hectic, as we knew they would be. We are coming to the end of our exciting expansion project, and almost have our new space up and running. The expansion means we are doubling our delivery space, so we can deliver a wider variety of sessions to more students. We want to make every minute of their time at PIP as meaningful for each student as possible! We have also been busy delivering 2 big fundraising events so far this Autumn. On 21st September the wonderful R Band put on a fantastic concert for us in central London. The venue was packed full, the atmosphere was fantastic, and the event raised us £3000! Then came our biggest fundraising event of 2013- PIP’s second annual Mountain Bike Challenge. Following the success of last year’s event, the pressure was on to make the 2013 Mountain Bike Challenge even bigger and better, and we certainly delivered. 40 sponsored riders took on a gruelling (and extremely muddy) 18 mile course through the beautiful Chiltern Valley and along the River Thames. Despite a week of nervous weather-watching from the PIP office, it was a beautiful warm day with only a couple of rain showers to slow the riders down! The day finished up with an excellent BBQ (our thanks go to Bosley Patch farm for putting together the amazing food), and a few beers at our host site Lovibonds Brewery in Henley-on-Thames. So far we have raised an incredible £11,000 from the Mountain Bike Challenge 2013- thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, riders and donors who made this event possible. The money that we have raised from these events will go directly into supporting our students with learning disabilities. Back in London at W9 we have been getting to grips with our new timetable, and lots of new sessions. The students’ favourite is Action Hour every Friday, where they learn lots of practical life skills. In the past few weeks we have had a very clean and tidy PIP! We also have a Transition Group for the very first time, which has been helping students to work together to take their first steps into the world of work. The group has been practising their interview skills, finding out what it is like to work in an office, and have even learned about the importance of dressing smartly when you are looking for a job. The group has committed to dress smartly for every Transition Group each Wednesday, so we are seeing lots of dapper students in suits and ties! Looking forward, we will very soon be taking PIP’s students on a working holiday to Paddington Farm in Somerset. Last year’s working holiday was excellent fun, and this year promises to be even better. We will be posting plenty of photos in our next report, so keep your eyes peeled!
The summer is upon us, but PIP is busier than ever. Instead of a relaxing summer break, PIP will be preparingfor a very exciting development- our expansion in September!
We are taking over the building next door, which will double our delivery space and allow us to support manymore adults with learning disabilities to achieve their potential. Over the summer we will be busy with building works to turn the two separate buildings into one holistic delivery space. To complement our new space, we will also havea brand new timetable from September onwards, which will allow us to focus on better meeting the needs of each individual PIP student.
It has been a very full few months at PIP, with students taking part in a whole variety of community basedactivities, including running market stalls in Portobello Road and Church Street Markets to sell our wonderful ‘PIP Products’ (including t-shirts, tote bags and mugs designed by our very own students). Last week our Dance Grouptook part in their first public performance as part of Paddington Festival; they performed a routine to a packed crowd and ran a dance workshop for members of the public with our dance tutor Theo from Union Dance. We highly recommend clicking on the link below to take you to our Youtube page where you can watchfilms of the performance and workshop!
Looking forward to September and beyond, we have a number of exciting events, including a concert from The RBand (who are reforming after 10 years and flying over from Milan for one night only) on Saturday 21st September, and our second Mountain Bike Challenge in Henley on Thames on October 19th.
Please do get involved and support our much-needed expansion and development by donating to PIP- our newGlobalGiving fundraising target is £7000, and we are already halfway there!
PIP has had a busy and exciting start to 2013. Two fundraising events and our annual showcase event has given PIP much needed exposure and financial support.
Our quiz night in February raised more than £2,800. Held at the Larrick pub in London, more than 85 people attended, donated, and generally had a great evening. In March, PIP's Theatre Company presented our annual showcase event, an original production entitled The Mystery of the Red Hat. Focussing on the intertwining themes of disability and trust, the story followed a journey through all parts of London life, from salubrious characters to high culture such as art expositions and opera. The ensemble production was devised entirely by our cast of learning disabled adults, and demonstrates the passion, humour and dedication which the company bring to their work. The production is testament to what disabled performers can achieve when supported in a personal, caring and nurturing environment.
Our disabled adults have also been learning new printmaking techniques, such as mono printing, dry point printing, and screen printing. A number of amazing designs have come out of these sessions, and students have been wonderfully amazed at the finished product. A number of these designs will end up on PIP's 2013 Christmas Cards.
As we gaze towards the remainder of 2013, it's important to note that as a charity facing challenging financial times, we need your support more than ever. As a small organisation, donations go far - we have very low overheads and an organisational structure built to deliver our empowering work with disabled adults.
So please contribute to PIP and help us support disabled adults to achieve their potential.
2013 is upon us already. How did that happen? Last year flew by, a whirlwind of activity, change and impact for PIP. October's working farm trip was an amazing success. 13 disabled adults were supported by 4 staff to work the farm for 5 days, including looking after the chickens (and chicks!), feeding pigs, horses, & sheep, and picking apples. A day trip to nearly Bath offered the chance for our students to attend the local hot springs-a fantastic first for all! In all, the trip offered our disabled service users fantastic respite from their life and lots of new experiences.
Later in October, PIP's inaugural Mountain Bike Challenge was a fantastic success, raising more than £8,000. 25 riders rode 18 miles through mud, remote trails and wonderful countryside, topped off my an amazing BBQ provided by a local farm.
Lots of fantastic activities planned for 2013-the PIP Theatre Company is performing its original work 'Mystery of the Red Hat' in March, and we'll be continuing the early success of our market stall project, by selling art and produce made and created by our disabled adults.
Lasty, but certainly not least-our GG project page has nearly reached our donation target of £3500! We're ever so close, and would love to reach our target by end of January '13. Please support us to helpdisabled adults achieve their potential. We're looking forward to a fantastic year ahead, and with your supportour disabled adults will make great strides towards integrating into their local communities!
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