SSEN funding helps Winchester charity support adults with learning disabilities during lockdown

Five adults outdoors giving thumbs up signs

 The image above shows James, Dan and James with volunteer, Alice and Winchester Go LD trustee, Betty. 

Support from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has enabled a Hampshire charity and community group to extend its support services during lockdown to over a hundred local adults with learning disabilities. 

In March, SSEN repurposed its Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) making £320,000 available to support local efforts to help those most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Through Winchester City Council’s successful application, Winchester Go LD received £3,000 to develop their programme of social engagement, exercise classes, therapy sessions and even an online cookery course.  

Winchester Go LD Trustee, Betty Chadwick, explains how the funding continues to assist its members: “Winchester Go LD provides support to adults with learning disabilities, enabling them to live life to the full with the choices and independence that they want, so it came as no surprise that the demand for our services greatly increased during lockdown. 

“A high percentage of our members are at high risk of suffering with mental health issues, loneliness and self-isolation during these troubled times and SSEN’s funding has helped us adapt our usual offering to include online tai chi classes, afternoon teas, low level circuits and drop in sessions, alongside socially distanced ‘Walk and Talk’ therapy sessions; one to one sessions combined with exercise.”  

Jo Niven, SSEN’s Head of Region, said: “I’m delighted to see how Winchester Go LD has been able to quickly develop and extend its services during these last few months, and how they continue to support adults with learning disabilities across the district. I’m proud that, through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, we have been able to play a small part in helping them achieve this. 

“In repurposing the fund, we sought to support the communities we serve, enabling them to respond quickly and efficiently in tackling the local issues they had identified as a result of coronavirus.” 

Earlier this year, successful applicants from community, parish, town and borough councils were awarded up to £3,000 each for projects that supported vulnerable community members, enabled volunteers to support community coronavirus initiatives, provide PPE to vulnerable and frontline workers, run community befriending schemes and improve community communication. 

Since its launch in 2015, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund has now provided over £2.7 million to 538 local community projects to build resilience and protect those most vulnerable.  The criteria for this year’s fund was changed following consultation with SSEN stakeholder groups, who strongly supported opening the fund early and targeting coronavirus response.