Minstead Trust supports more than 200 people with learning disabilities across Hampshire and its support workers work throughout lockdowns to help some of the most vulnerable in society.
The Trust is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020, a nationwide fundraising push where any donations received are automatically doubled.
The seven day campaign kicks off at midday on 1 December and Minstead Trust is hoping to raise £12,000. This will help its efforts to restore the wellbeing of the people it supports in 2021, most of whom have endured months of shielding and restricted access to family and friends.
The annual fundraising week has never been more critical, with the situation for people with learning disabilities during this year making worrying reading:
Maddy works in the nursery at Furzey Gardens, which is run by Minstead Trust, to learn new skills and build her independence. She said: ‘I’ve found it very challenging with the coronavirus. I felt sad during lockdown initially. I couldn’t go out for lunch at the weekend, I couldn’t see my friends and family.
‘I’ve been feeling anxious and sad about it all but I find my time at Furzey Gardens therapeutic. I like potting, pricking out and collecting and sowing the seeds.
‘I am a bit worried about Christmas as I usually go up north with family members, but I think I have to have Christmas apart from them this year.’
Minstead Trust is seeking crucial funds through the Big Give Christmas Challenge to help to restore the wellbeing of people like Maddy in 2021. The funds raised will support a shift in emphasis in the Trust’s day opportunities to provide a wellbeing centre to boost mental health, seeking to support people to cope. It will also provide more staff support to develop mental health, resilience and wellbeing programmes in other services and provide more individual attention to support people to stay safe and happy.
Dawn Wood, Director of Development at Minstead Trust, said: ‘We have been very concerned about the impact Covid-19 has had on some of the people we support. The pandemic has affected everyone in dealing with elevated stress and anxieties related to every aspect of day to day living, whilst isolated from friends and families. But people with learning disabilities do not always fully understand or have the ability to adapt, without support.
‘The Big Give is a big deal for us, as we urgently want to invest in more Covid-secure activity spaces and wellbeing buddies to give people every chance to become again the happy, healthy people they were before lockdown.’
Have your donation instantly doubled by donating from midday on 1 December to midday on 8 December at www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/biggive2020
1 and 2: ONS, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: May 2020
3: Scottish Commission for Learning survey
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