Funding cuts prompt charity helping people with learning difficulties to launch first fundraising appeal

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 April 2017

The team from North Somerset People first.

The team from North Somerset People first.


A charity providing support for adults with learning disabilities is holding its first funding campaign in 26 years as it faces losing out on Government grants.

North Somerset People First, based at The Campus in Locking Castle, was set up in 1991 as a non-profit organisation to help people with learning difficulties to speak up about the issues affecting them.

It became a registered charity two years ago, but is only now launching its first appeal for funds.

The charity’s fundraising officer Karen Saunders said: “There is no other service like us in North Somerset.

“People with learning disabilities can come to us for a variety of things which affect them in their daily lives.

“We offer complete impartial support and advice to them and also training where we provide them with confidence and self-esteem.

“We receive a very small government grant from the local authority and because of government cuts, that has been reducing for several years. At this stage we are unsure if we are going to receive any of our grant funding for the coming year.”

The charity has called its campaign Appealing April and its fundraising plans include a nine-hour cycling relay, a cake sale and coffee morning. Chief executive Michelle Burnett will also take part in a sponsored bungee jump.

Karen said: “We have set a very realistic target of £4,000 because it is our first campaign and we don’t have the awareness about us locally.

“Just £150 allows us to run a training session in how to stay safe from abuse and for £35 we can provide an advocacy service for someone who has been a victim of a crime.”

Many of the people the charity helps have difficulty communicating, but staff make sure their voices are still heard.

One of the problems the charity faces is how not many people know it exists.

Karen said: “We are trying to raise funds and awareness of what we do.

“Our role is about listening to people and encouraging them, and giving them the means to speak up for themselves.

“We are a little charity but we do an awful lot.”

Donations can be made on North Somerset People First’s Just Giving page.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Weston Mercury