We applied to Elevate to avail of the help it provided through the mentoring scheme, as we thought it provided the absolutely perfect blend of assistance and opportunity.
We wanted to run a series of Autism Huddles in the Ards Peninsula, which could create a sensory space/support for Autistic Adults aged 18+. We believe Kircubbin and Ards Peninsula suffer from health inequalities, it is an extremely rural area with little or no access to these type of services for people and their families suffering from this condition. We held weekly sessions that autistic sufferers and their families could attend to learn about the condition, develop coping strategies and also speak to experts about the condition.
There was simply nothing of this nature within this area and we feel that with the support of my mentor and the Elevate programme and training it allowed my organisation and myself to become much more confident to tackle such a health inequality. The reaction to the project from the participants, facilitators and our group has been fantastic with some saying it has made such a positive impact on their lives. Initially the plan was to run 2 sets of workshops aimed at autistic adults aged 18+ but we decided then to change this to run one set for carers/parents with autistic children and one set for autistic adults, with the results being extremely positive and some commenting that there is just not enough of these types of services within the area and that they have formed long lasting relationships with others in the same situations as themselves.
The mentoring gave the organisation the confidence we needed to really push this project and allowed us to have someone there to ask if there was anything we were unsure of. It absolutely allowed us to become more confident in tackling health inequalities and showing the lasting affect this has had on the participants has demonstrated this change to us, we feel our group have become much more aware and knowledgeable of inequalities within our community and we have built up a fantastic connection with the facilitators of the sessions and also our mentors themselves.
It showed us the true meaning and effect health inequalities have and allowed us to look more closely within my own rurally isolated community to see what health inequalities exist.
We feel we will definitely apply to the Elevate programme again as it gives a great opportunity to help tackle inequalities and gain knowledge that I would previously never have had the opportunity to do so.
“This set of workshops has been amazing, I have felt the stress just melt away”
This quote was taken from a participant on the parent/carers of autistic children set of workshops.
Allan Reid, Health Development Worker, Peninsula Healthy Living Partnership