Can you support a centre which helps young adults into a better future?
PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 November 2017
A centre which creates opportunities for adults with learning disabilities is launching an appeal to raise £10,000 to broaden its service.
Reach Opportunity Centre, in Weare, offers a different approach to post-18 life, providing tailored learning programmes while continuing to develop essential life skills.
The charity was started two years ago by Peter and Jill Swingler who were struggling to find a provision for their son Jack, aged 21, who is autistic.
They decided to set up their own centre so people from Somerset and beyond could access it – they now cater to 35 young adults.
Manager Cate Robertson said: “It was about providing something which had good structure and clear outcomes for people.
“The idea that everyone has something to offer and clear progress to see what people are achieving.
“We have a great foundation and base but we want to develop the social enterprise and move people from where they are to voluntary and paid employment.”
The organisation has launched an appeal to raise £10,000 to build a commercial kitchen for its students.
The students at Reach currently lead a tuck shop trolley around the business park which Cate said the charity hopes to ‘expand and improve on’.
She added: “We want people who are able to take ownership of that and grow that business for themselves so it can become an enterprise in its own right.”
The organisation has been working in partnership with Weston and Bridgwater colleges to create more opportunities for its students.
Peter Swingler said: “We want this to be a bit different to other day centres and to offer work experience and NVQs where we can see them move on through into employment if they can.
“We work hard and seeing what these people achieve is quite magical. We never set this up for commercial reasons, we just want to see people succeed and do the best they possibly can.
“The money will help us to create a commercial kitchen and café. It will take a little longer as we need to involve our young adults in it and build it around the people who come here.”
To find out more about Reach, visit www.reachcentre.org.uk