Branching Out supports adults with learning disabilities in a variety of fun work experience and social activities. The staff team also works closely with individuals to overcome difficulties in everyday life, and supports them to achieve new goals. Branching Out works with the individuals at the centre of the support functions as part of the part of a multi-disciplinary team involved in the individuals care and support needs. Branching Out is a local charity based in East Cambridgeshire.
There are various projects run by Branching Out – these include:
- Up-cycling Project - Developing team working and social skills while up-cycling furniture in our purpose workshop.
- Seasons Project - Market gardening working with a team of friendly staff, and people with learning disabilities to develop a multi sensory approach to growing fruit, vegetables and plants for selling in a charity shop or taking home to share with friends and family.
- Cooking Group - Learning to make balanced meals to support independent living and learn about health and safety in the kitchen and in a catering kitchen.
- Create Group - Get involved in window displays, craft items for sale, seasonal stationery, large scale art work. A great work area for relaxation, creativity and sensory stimulation.
- Social Steps - Accessing the community, planning events, developing social skills with support from Branching Out’s trained staff.
- Advance Project – For those who need extra support to access community based activities, individual support on a one to one basis,can be provided.
- Retail - Enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy retail environment while receiving high quality support, developing social and life skills.
Branching Out also run several charity shops, funding their work and also providing volunteer opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
Individual case study:
We were approached by a family member to look at support for an individual who was leaving education at 19 and was looking for day provision to develop skills in a variety of areas. The main area highlighted was de-sensitisation as the individual was not eating or drinking in the education environment and the strategies that were put in place to support were potentially causing risk of restricting his social development. We were also aware of other restrictive behaviours around personal care tasks.
As part of the multi-disciplinary team we worked with the individual to rule out physical/medical causes and to work on a variety of proactive strategies to promote positive engagement with food and drink. We also worked to develop understanding of personal care tasks. These proactive interventions worked with the individuals likes to promote engagement and looked at aspects where positive reinforcement were available to enhance the individual’s sense of achievement. The strategies used were wide in scope and integrated into the standard day’s activities to avoid any changes to routine.
We took this process slowly to avoid overwhelming the individual. We started by using the sensory room onsite, and there was always another activity planned around the individual’s likes to avoid the individual feeling ‘pressure’ that the activity was in regards to their personal care and feeling comfortable around staff during this process. This approach worked well as the individual was enjoying the interaction and the progress was quick as it became routine.
Throughout the whole process we were liaising with the community health team and family and at this stage we felt to seek full outcomes getting some additional support in place will benefit the individual in the short and long term. So working in partnership we started to develop this approach further and increase the contact and de-sensitisation approach used following on from this working in partnership we utilised everyone skills involved to engage the individual in the process.