Dad Steve tells us why LinkAble has played such a vital role in his daughter Hannah's development.
Hannah has been attending LinkAble since she was 12 years old. Now in her early 20s, Hannah continues to attend and enjoys being part of the LinkAble community. Dad Steve told us,
Hannah started attending LinkAble over 10 years ago when she was 12 years old. Hannah wanted to get out and take part in fun things to do and make friends. By joining LinkAble she had the opportunities to take part in activities such as bowling, swimming as well as group sessions that focused on cooking, arts and crafts and lots of other things.
Years ago, there wasn’t much available. I was very glad to find LinkAble as I wanted somewhere that would give Hannah the opportunity to build her social skills and confidence in a safe environment.
For Hannah, the social interaction she gets and the network of friends she has made over the years is the main reason why she still attends LinkAble groups for over 18s. Hannah says that the groups are a place where she can have fun and spend time with friends in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
LinkAble has been invaluable in helping Hannah build and maintain long-lasting friendships, develop her social skills and grow in confidence by trying new and exciting things. Steve adds,
Hannah attended activities and schemes as a teen and has transitioned to the adult groups in the evenings. These focus more on social group activities and she is also a member of The Actable, the acting group that runs at the weekend. Hannah says she looks forward to coming to the groups and has joked with me that she does so many, she might as well move into the Link. Hannah has always described her sessions at LinkAble as ‘her treats!'.
From a parent’s perspective, Steve describes LinkAble as a ‘godsend’ because he believes the charity has been an essential part of Hannah’s personal development. He added,
LinkAble has taught Hannah about life, helped her meet new people and build lasting friendships and learn new ways of doing things such as being part of a group or team.
Without LinkAble, Steve was worried Hannah would have nothing to do and no way of leaving the house on evenings and weekends to go somewhere safe and have fun, thus missing out on things that her peers take for granted.
Steve believes that LinkAble has given him the opportunity to meet other parents of people with learning difficulties. For Steve, getting information can sometimes be hard and being able to talk with other parents and carers has allowed him to learn about benefits, education, and other services and, in return, share that information. Steve told us,
If you are a parent of a child with support needs, you want them to have the best. You do not want them to miss out. LinkAble has it made it possible for Hannah to have opportunity and be part of her community. At LinkAble, Hannah has found her place, has lots of fun and comes home with a big smile on her face. We don’t take LinkAble for granted.