The Grace Eyre Foundation supports adults with learning disabilities and/or autism across Sussex. Founded in 1898, Grace Eyre Woodhead was a pioneer and leading light in social care. A bit of a maverick, she believed that everyone has a place in their community and that they shouldn’t be hidden away in institutions. She supported people with learning disabilities by providing housing and establishing an industrial training centre – the first of its kind in the UK.
Today, inspired by our founder, The Grace Eyre Foundation (Grace Eyre) strives to uphold that pioneering vision with a varied and innovative range of services, projects and initiatives. Their vision is for the people we support to be treated and respected as equal citizens, to be valued members of and contributors to their communities, and to be able to live their lives the way they want to.
They support over 600 people across Sussex each year, empowering and enabling them to increase their ability, equality and independence.
What Serices Do Grace Eyre Provide?
They provide this support under four main service areas:
- ACTIVE LIVES: providing an engaging programme of activities in the arts, sports & well-being, and learning & development. The diverse programme is curated in co-production with the people we support, responding to their needs and reflecting their interests. Supporting 80+ people each day, activities include visual arts, dance, drama, football, boccia, health walks, Makaton, cooking, IT skills, numeracy, creative writing, and more.
In addition, Active Lives also delivers transformational projects and services that develop skills and increase access to opportunities, enriching and enhancing an independent quality of life. Current projects include:
- Grace Eyre Friendship: with 28% of people with a learning disability reporting they feel lonely often or always, the Friendship Group is a vital service that enables its 300+ members to have their own space to meet new people and do fun things. It has led to meaningful, long-lasting friendships that through these shared experiences have given purpose and focus to people’s lives.
- Let’s Work Together: an employment project providing 1:1 employment skills training, work experience opportunities and peer mentoring for 20 people with a learning disability, as well as training for employers to assist their understanding in how to recruit, support and retain a diverse workforce. Rate of employment among people with a learning disability is unfairly low at 5.1% (compared to 81% for the general population). This project aims to address this imbalance.
- Travel Buddy: an independent travel training programme supporting 70+ people each year, providing the skills and experience to travel safely and confidently to increase independent travel ability which creates both social opportunity with further access to education, training and employment prospects and increasing community inclusion and engagement.
- SHARED LIVES: matching people with dedicated carers, sharing their homes, family and community life together. The scheme provides long-term accommodation, day-share and respite options enabling people to live in and be part of their community. Grace Eyre’s Shared Lives scheme is the oldest and longest running in the country. It was a model pioneered by our founder and there are now 150 schemes across the UK.
- CHOICES: is our CQC regulated supported living service, providing one-to-one tailored support and care with community outreach for people so they can enjoy living more independently. Responding to the unique needs of each of the 270+ people we support, Choices is a flexible service varying from 24-hour daily support to 1-20 hours of support per week. We support people to help them manage their money, maintain a place to live, meet new friends, learn new skills and understand better options for health and well-being. Helping people to feel confident within their community and live more integrated in society.
- HOUSING: providing high-quality accessible housing that meets the unique needs of individuals, couples, families and friendship groups. We work with tenants to help them understand tenancy agreements and know their rights; help to make adaptations to make their home accessible, comfortable, and safe; and provide dedicated support workers so that our tenants have someone to call on in times of crisis and need. We also work with landlords and housing providers across Sussex, providing support for them and their tenants. We currently support 127 tenants, including three mothers and their babies.
Vote for the Grace Eyre Foundation this August and you will be supporting the delivery of projects and services that really do transform lives.
How Can I Find Out More About Grace Eyre?
To find out more about Grace Eyre, visit: www.grace-eyre.org