Our Barn is a youth club, supporting young adults aged 16 to 25 with learning disabilities and/or conditions such as autism. We have 28 members and started in 2012 as a Sunday youth club based at Redlees Play Centre. There is a log cabin there and the young people called the club Our Barn because they felt ownership of the space.
Set up by three parent carers, as we could not find worthwhile and affordable activities for our own young people. One of our strongly held principles is to make our provision meaningful. One way we do this is by volunteering in the local community.
Our current activities are:
- Sunday Youth Club, social & leisure activities chosen by the young people, to develop communication and life skills by the use of drama, art, sport, cooking & going out into the community.
- Tuesday Sports Activities, physical activities following leaving formal education.
- Wednesday Carers sessions, ie help with paperwork surrounding disability to family carers and also counselling for emotional support.
- Friday Gardening Work Experience at Osterley Park, which has been running for nearly two years. We’ve donated 4,000 volunteering hrs.
We have plans in the next 12- 18 months to develop in Gardening Work Experience (including on land adjacent to St Mary’s,) in providing employment for 3 people with learning disabilities, in linking potential employers with candidates, in life skills programmes and an adapted cycle hire scheme.
Our longer term goal is to establish a hub. Here, we could increase what we offer and have our own dedicated space (needs to be Osterley/ Isleworth.) We’d like to bake cakes for sale at local coffee shops. We’re also thinking about creating some supported living opportunities, close by those who know and understand their needs.