Friends, Relationships & Community
Eddie’s Befriending Scheme
Eddie’s is a Cambridgeshire charity supporting people with learning disabilities.
It used to be part of Cambridgeshire Mencap and has been offering community services for over 10 years, providing a wide range of services for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, and their families and carers.
People aren’t matched on a first come first served bases, it very much depends on the interests, personality, location and age of volunteers and young people. Someone who is referred to us may be matched immediately, or it could take much longer to find someone suitable. Those on the waiting list can attend Eddie’s Befriending Works group in Waterbeach, which meets monthly. This group take part in games, art activities, karaoke and more.
There is also an adult befriending scheme which currently supports adults in the Edmund Trust’s supported living accommodation. The Edmund Trust is the sister charity to Eddie’s and provides residential care, supported living accommodation and respite and domiciliary care in the community.
Generally, volunteers will visit their befriendees twice a month for two hours at a time, although this can vary from once a week to once a month. After applying to be a volunteer, applicants are interviewed and, once accepted onto the volunteer training scheme, they are required to complete four courses covering Volunteering; Learning Disability Awareness, Autism Awareness, and Safe Guarding.
Once matched, the befriender and befriendee can go and enjoy themselves in the community doing things that the befriendee wants to do – bowling, going to the cinema, cycling, walking, or shopping. Alternatively befriendees may like to stay at home to enjoy artwork, or computer games.
Contacts for Eddie’s befriending scheme:
Families can self refer, or be referred by social services or by any other professional agency.
To self refer, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01223 883142.
The Inclusion Project: Now running in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire
It offers supported activities for on a one to one basis and in small groups of young people aged 16+ with autism/learning disabilities to help them have a healthy, social and active lifestyle. It provides transport to and from young people’s homes and is currently running in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Cambourne and St Ives.
Activities range from swimming and walking to cinema trips, independent travel skills and gym/fitness classes. It currently runs during the day, Monday to Friday but evening and weekend sessions are planned for the autumn. Sessions can be financed privately, through PIP benefit payments or social care direct payments.
Sexual health and relationships programme specifically for people living with a learning disability or difficulty from DHIVERSE
Pinpoint’s Preparing for Adulthood parent group has worked with charity DHIVERSE in Cambridge, which runs a sexual health and relationships programme specifically for people living with a learning disability or difficulty and their parents and carers.
DHIVERSE runs this six-week ABC programme for young people with LDs to help them develop skills around Awareness, Balance and making Choices concerning relationships and sexual health. The programme covers:
- Understanding relationships
- Being assertive and communication skills
- Keeping safe and taking risks
- Staying safe online and in the community
- Sexual Health
DHIVERSE can arrange training for small groups, couples and one-to-one. The course can be tailored for specific audiences and covers lots of different scenarios and role-play.
Find out more about the ABC course by contacting Liz MacKenzie on 07985 447846 or email email@example.com
Why not read our blog article for parent carers on how to support their young people on the often-tricky topic of sex and relationships – written with Dhiverse.
DHIVERSE also work with Safe Soulmates – a not-for-profit organisation in Cambridgeshire who support adults with additional needs to find friendship and romantic love in a safe way, free from online and real-life abuse. This Cambridgeshire Charity is a not-for-profit friendship and dating organisation for diversely able adults (learning disabilities, autism, anxiety and additional needs). They do make a charge for the service. They aim to match adults 18+ to appropriate friends and/or to their potential soulmate in a SAFE and supported way. They also run monthly social events – if the person you or the person you care for would rather just have fun in a group environment, they can help. They also work closely with Dhiverse who provide our Soulmates with valuable advice around boundaries, online safety, sex and relationships.
The Kite Trust provide free one-to-one support to young LGBT+ people under the age of 25, and living in Cambridgeshire. Young people can access support face to face and over the phone or via Skype. The one-to-one support is safe, confidential and personal.
Contact The Kite Trust o 01223 369508 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cambridgeshire Sexual Health Clinics and services
ICaSH (Integrate Contraception & Sexual Health) Cambridgeshire runs sexual health clinics around the county, offering free and confidential check-ups and offer special surgeries for under 25s (you don’t have to be over 16 to visit).
There are clinics in Cambridge, Sawston, Wisbech, March, Ely, Huntingdon, St Neots, St Ives and Ramsey.
For appointments in Cambridge or Wisbech call 0300 300 3030. For appointments in Huntingdon call 01480 418555.
The main Cambridge base for ICaSH is:Lime Tree Clinic. Brookfields Hospital, 351 Mill Road, Cambridge,CB1 3DF
Other useful relationships and growing up resources:
Visit the Family Planning Association website for help, advice and publications
Charity Contact has updated its Growing Up, Sex and Relationships guidefor parents of teenagers. It’s been written specially to support parents of disabled children.
Sense info pack, for young people aged 14 to 25 who are deafblind or have MSI, to guide them through the transition from school or college to adulthood and the world beyond.
Relationships and sex are a rich and important part of everyone’s life – and that includes people with a learning disability. Visit Mencap’s advice and support page on the subject
Police service PEAL (Police Enhanced Access Line)
Cambridgeshire Police have a service for people who have difficulties with communication and who may benefit from additional support whencontacting the police. This service provides pre-registered citizens direct access to a highly trained police call taker if they ever need to contact Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Find out more and register