This year Reach Learning Disability is again taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge – a national matched funding campaign that enables people to have their donations to charity doubled for one week.

The Nottinghamshire charity aims to raise £40,000 towards its work to support people with learning disabilities to participate more fully in the online community and embrace the digital age. Money raised will help fund online learning, social activities and resources delivered by expert staff to enable people with learning disabilities to feel confident to use online services safely and help to reduce the risk of feeling lonely and anxious.

Helen Davenport, Reach Southwell Centre Manager, talked to the Jowett family about how Reach's online services have made such a difference to them in recent times. Kath and Malcolm, both now in their seventies were feeling digitally excluded because they didn't know how to use platforms like Zoom. Kath told Helen: "Reach have been wonderful. I don't know what we would have done without them over the years. They always help out with any problems. Knowing that Reach are there makes us feel secure."

Liz from Reach Southwell who works on a project supporting family carers, visited the family at home and from an appropriate distance talked them through how they could access Zoom so that they could take part in activities for family carers. As a result, they now feel confident enough to help their son Neil join in a weekly Zoom social session on a Thursday evening with Helen and Steve, Reach's Chief Executive. Helen explains: "we're so glad that Neil is now able to join in with our online activities; he loves the quiz we do and always has a laugh and a joke with his Reach friends."

Steve, Reach's Chief Executive goes on to explain: "We've all experienced isolation in some form this year. Sadly, for many people with learning disabilities the impact has been profound. We are asking people to support our Big Give Christmas Challenge and help us to expand our online support, courses and activities and of course to help address loneliness and isolation in the coming year."
During the Big Give Christmas Challenge, donations made online are matched by a national charity champion and local pledgers. This year Reach's charity champion is the Monday Charitable Trust. Local pledgers include first4care, Mansfield Rotary Club, the Mary Robertson Trust and private individuals.

To get donations doubled, people need to go the Big Give Christmas Challenge website from 12pm on Tuesday 1st December to 12pm on Tuesday 8th December and search for Reach Learning Disability, My Place Online appeal. Alternatively go to www.reachuk.org for more details. For an email reminder from Reach nearer the time, people can contact Laura on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01636 819066.

Published November 2020