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 (3rd to 10th December).

The Southwell-based charity aims to raise £25,000 towards its work to support people with learning disabilities participate more fully in community life. Money raised will help fund courses and activities delivered by expert staff at Reach centres, enabling people with learning disabilities to gain new skills, build confidence and self-esteem to decrease isolation and play a more active role in community life.

Tracey Thurlow, Client Services Lead at Reach's Flower Pod centre explains how activities delivered in a personalised way enabled a young woman with learning disabilities to contribute to her local community. "Grace has a severe learning disability, Down's syndrome and communication difficulties. The Flower Pod staff team have taken time to get to know Grace and shape activities to meet her needs. As a result Grace has blossomed at Flower Pod. She has now progressed from arranging small jars of flowers to using her new skills to do the flowers for her village hall during their Open Garden weekend. Her story shows how gaining skills and confidence opens up new opportunities to contribute to community life."

Steve, Reach's Chief Executive explains further: "Most of us yearn to belong somewhere, to have a good place to live, and to contribute in some way. Sadly, such simple aspirations can be unattainable for people with learning disabilities who too often feel invisible and ignored. It's 20 years since the charity started life as Southwell Care Project. During that time, we have established a proven track record in enabling people with learning disabilities to play a fuller role in their community in ways that are comfortable to them – Grace's story is a good example of this.

Excitingly, as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary we are closer to making the 'good place to live' a reality by building quality accommodation in Southwell – one of our original aims. The generous support of Southwell people has helped us to achieve so much already. Looking forward to the next decade, we know that with the help of our local supporters we can continue to enable people with learning disabilities to achieve their aspirations. We are asking people to support our Big Give Christmas Challenge and help us to offer courses and activities that enable people to make new social connections and make a good life in their community."

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 Reed Foundation. Local pledgers include the Stagfield Group, nmcn PLC, Southwell & District Lions Club, Edwinstowe & the Dukeries Lions Club, RAF Digby and private individuals.

Double Your Donation

To have your donations doubled, go to www.reachuk.org from 12pm on Tuesday 3rd December to 12pm on Tuesday 10th December and search for the Big Give Christmas Challenge. Reach can send people email reminders or arrange for people to pop in to the office on prebend Passage during Christmas Challenge week to make their donation. Please contact Sarah on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01636 819066.

A special service to celebrate Reach's 20th Anniversary will be held at Southwell Minster on Monday 9th December at 7pm.

Flower Pod will have a stall at Southwell's Late Night Shopping event. They are also running their popular wreath-making workshops through December, click here for details.

Published November 2019