Who we are
We are qualified teachers with over twenty-five years’ combined experience in Further & Community Education, teaching adults of all ages and abilities from Pre-Entry to Level 2 and mainly in Supported Learning. As such, we embed literacy and numeracy into all that we do.
Our ethos is to enable students/clients to become productive and visible members of society through socialising, promoting independence, academic progression and work related activities
We have an established cohort of twelve students of ages ranging from middle 20's to late 50's. They are a small close group that gets on really well so it is important that everyone is happy, including any new clients.
Our 'culture' of working is that we are all different adults with varying needs, so we all help each other. It can be very much like having an 'extended family'!
We have a fantastic group of people of so it is imperative, for a thriving, happy learning environment, that the group dynamics work for everyone.
What we do
Our provision offers a wide variety of activities.
Learners have the option to work towards qualifications (subject to need and assessment) or further develop their independent living abilities, healthy lifestyles awareness and/or work based skills.
This is achieved through our on-site facilities at St Matthew's Hall, Stretford (indoor base room, catering standard kitchen, large sprung dancefloor hall space, outdoor workshop and kitchen garden) plus working in community partnerships.
In Situ Activities (When based in St Matthew's Hall, Stretford)
- Weekly café – serving the local elderly community in partnership with RVS (The Royal Voluntary Service). This is subject to FSA (Food Standards Agency enforcement so it is real work. All students are trained to 'Introductory Food Hygiene' level to facilitate 'work ready' access to the Food Industry. https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/our-services/social-activities/lunch-clubs
- Occasional paid Contract Catering work at Saint Matthew’s Hall – providing cold fork buffets for conferences of up to 50 people with a view to offering catering for children’s parties and other celebrations.
- Weekly trips out in our minibus – museums, galleries, parks, outdoor markets, concert halls (The Bridgewater Hall).
- Weekly working on a local allotment (Humphrey Park) https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/leisure-and-lifestyle/parks-and-open-spaces/allotments/stretford/humphrey-park-allotments.aspx or undertaking horticultural activities in the local area (Sale Waterpark) in partnership with TCV (The Conservation Volunteers). https://www.tcv.org.uk/north/schools-and-youth-work/
- Weekly Yoga session with a professional teacher (Esmeralda Smit) who specialises in working with Adults/Children with Additional Needs. https://www.thepilatesroomsurmston.com/about-us/
- Weekly Music Therapy sessions with Nordoff Robbins (until recent postponement due to Music Therapist long term illness and charity restructuring). The students performed a Christmas Production with songs and lyrics created by themselves, for family and friends https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/locations/england/north-west-england/
- Cooking lessons – learning skills to industry standards (Andrea is also a trained Chef) in order that some students might progress to employment within the Hospitality Industry or can utilise these skills with confidence in the home environment in order to promote independence.
- Gym sessions – initially working in partnership with the Social Enterprise ‘Unlimited Potential’ within their ‘Empower You’ Service. Gym Programmes were tailor made for all students. Now students attend independently of this service yet we maintain close links with the staff from ‘Unlimited Potential’ (‘Empower You’ Service). https://www.unlimitedpotential.org.uk/enterprise/innovation-projects/empower-you
- Music appreciation and participation – attending specialised participator performances for Adults with Additional Needs and free afternoon concerts to experience music from other cultures and genres.
- Physical activity – cycling, walking, swimming (occasional when demand permits) plus indoor games in the large sprung wooden dance floor hall at Saint Matthew’s Hall. We also work in partnership with TCV to take nature walks thus enhancing health, wellbeing, community responsibility and personal confidence through activities such as nature spotting, mindfulness, building bird boxes, planting trees, clearing paths and willow fence weaving.
- Project based conservation and sports activities – in partnership with Leonard Cheshire. https://www.leonardcheshire.org/what-we-do/learning-and-lifestyle/opportunities-16-35-year-olds
- Work placement – on a weekly basis, one student attended the Nursery within Saint Matthew’s Hall to experience the role of a Nursery Assistant. She helped to contribute to record keeping and her progress was monitored and assessed. Unfortunately, the Covid 19 Pandemic has resulted in the closing of this long established Nursery but has now restructured. We are assured that this placement will continue.
- Academic learning – with a focus on the functional skills of literacy, numeracy (including money skills) in order that each student can reach their own full academic potential with a view to gaining greater independence (home and work environment).
- Travel training awareness – both whilst on public transport and walking to and from venues.
- Horticulture and floristry – making floral arrangements to industry standard (Julie is also a trained Florist) for Christmas plus tending the garden the students created at Saint Matthew’s Hall. Our café uses vegetables the students have grown themselves from our garden plus the TCV allotment.
- Wood and nature crafts – working in partnership Trafford Timber Centre https://traffordtimber.co.uk/about-us/ to make bird feeders, Christmas planters and fencing for our kitchen garden and with TCV to make willow hurdles, willow sculptures, wooden bird boxes and garden ornaments. We also ‘upcycle’ small occasional furniture and old wooden placemats (for example) for sale at the annual Christmas Fair where all proceeds are donated to The Society for Abandoned Animals charity. https://www.saarescue.co.uk/
- Needle crafts – basic home repair hand sewing skills (button replacing and straight stitching) simple sewing machine use and cross/needlepoint skills.
- Computer sessions – individual and group delivered at Saint Matthew’s Hall.
- Photography – increased awareness natural environment through nature identification.
- Extended sessions that run through to the evenings so students can experience the theatre, restaurant dining and seasonal experiences such as The Blackpool Illuminations in order to foster improved social skills.
- Fundraising – Organising and running our annual Christmas fair stall in aid of the local Animal Sanctuary (The Society for Abandoned Animals). https://www.saarescue.co.uk/ Students make, label, pack and sell all the items to members of the public made thus demonstrating principles of manufacture, marketing and selling.
- Health and beauty sessions – occasional workshop demonstrations via local health teams and ‘in-house’ sessions.
- Annual group holiday – a week away with the students.
Current Repurposed Practice (During Covid Pandemic)
Since March 2020 we have fully repurposed our usual face-to-face provision and have been working from home on 'Zoom' in line with government guidelines.
Our current timetable is as follows:
Tuesday and Thursday 10.30am -
Group 'Zoom' and Activities session focusing on socialising, doing fun quizzes and 'topics' looking at short interesting, fun yet educational video clips! Sometimes we just have a sing-a-long!
Over the past few Thursday mornings during February and March 2021, we have continued our partnership working with TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) via 'Zoom', where students have been learning about nature walks, identification and awareness plus mindfulness with Ruth Crawford (Senior Project Officer). Activity packs have been sent home for each session.
Friday 10.30am - continuing to work with our professional yoga teacher (Esmeralda Smit) who specialises in chair based yoga for people with additional needs.
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 3pm -
Chair based yoga/dance which is great for our physical and mental health and even more so especially in Lockdown. We use YouTube videos for this. First, we do a warmup, then something a little more active to music, next a relaxation meditation then some gentle music for a few minutes to end the session.
Each Monday and Wednesday - students have individually taught lessons where the focus is on literacy and numeracy. We have seen amazing developments in individuals' learning since March with a number of students now fluent readers.
All these sessions are around 40 minutes plus.
We offer three free 'remote' taster sessions to prospective new clients/students (including an individually taught lesson).
A lesson serves as an assessment session where we can get to know potential client/s to see if they would be a 'good fit' for our group when we return to face-to-face provision at Saint Matthew's Hall. It is also about client/s finding out about us and if we are what they want too.