Connect

Overview

This three year project, funded by Lloyds TSB Foundation, connects older disabled people and people with learning disabilities with their local public spaces as a way of building lasting links between them and their wider communities. Both groups of people have been identified as commonly excluded from the benefits of using and getting involved in public green space and are often overlooked by public service providers. Through previous work we have found that these groups share many of the reasons for not using public open space, such as fear and lack of motivation.

Older disabled peopleassess the landscape at Golitha Falls in Cornwall

Connect is based on what we have learned from listening to disabled people and elderly people to find out what barriers prevent them using and becoming involved with their local area. We have chosen to focus on people with learning disabilities and older disabled people because we have found these groups to be particularly disconnected from their communities. These groups also benefit least from the current focus of many providers on physical access improvements.

The essence of this project is working with a diverse collection of people to overcome barriers to access and to find easy, effective ways of bringing disabled people back into the mainstream of community life. We are achieving this by bringing about positive change in the attitudes and actions of service providers and disability organisations and in the motivation and expectations of people with learning disabilities and older disabled people.

This project is a partnership led by the Sensory Trust with core partners Mencap, Eden Project, Disability Cornwall, and Widgit. Many older disabled people and people with learning disabilities are working with us through the course of the project.