A white woman with dark hair and wearing a black t-shirt sits in an art room with her hand on her head. She is watching a client make art.

I aim to promote a relaxed supportive environment, building confidence, self-esteem, ideas and individuality.

“I think it’s important to recognise someone’s abilities”

I’m the Activities Coordinator at one of Southdown’s Learning Disability Support services.

I support and enable clients to participate in both group and individual activities, as per their personal preference. This includes the planning, delivery, and facilitation of activities.

The role promotes the mental wellbeing of clients through planned activities that are meaningful to residents. I also contribute to the promotion of individual talent, promote methods of self-expression, and ensure clients develop their skills.

I often work alone but enlist help when needed and always encourage the art of collaboration to strive for mutual benefits.

I organise, source materials, plan activities and promote quality through reflective practice and demonstrate a willingness to act on feedback.

I use alternative communication methods such as signing and visual aids to ensure participants can access their work in a way that suits them. I aim to promote a relaxed supportive environment, building confidence, self-esteem, ideas and individuality.

Clients need support to open up possibilities and to feel confident and express themselves. As a Support Worker and Activities Coordinator, you need to present new opportunities to them and get to know them so you can cater for them in a person-centred way.

I have the ability to develop relationships built on respect, trust, and sensitivity – treating people as individuals and valuing their input and what’s important to them.

A key element of being an Activities Coordinator is to match their level of ability with the activity. Flexibility is important to be able to reassess activities. And sensitivity too, because everyone welcomes an activity. I think it’s a nice outlet.

I think it’s important to recognise someone’s abilities. With one of our clients, I’ve found adapted tools that she’s really run with!

I introduce our art sessions with a film, talk about tools, and get them working together. Structure and routine is really useful. I’ll show the end result of an item at the beginning too.

I try to incorporate images of clients into their work and pieces – it reflects back to them that they are busy and engaged. I know from experience that’s what people want.

As well as arts and crafts, we do multi-sensory story time. I order the stories from Crawley Library – we’ll have the story and a bag of objects relating to the story. We also do cooking, usually on Fridays. It’s a nice activity. Everyone sits together and eats together. And we have music and movement in the sensory room.

The clients here are happy. They enjoy it. The feedback I’ve got is they love it and families are really happy and over the moon. That means we’re working together.

Southdown manages supported living services across Sussex. Supported living is where an individual owns or rents their own home and has control over the support they get and how they live their lives.
Accommodation and support is provided separately. It can be very different for different people. For one person, supported living might be a few hours of support a week to enable them to live independently by themselves in a rented flat. For another it may be around the clock support in a shared house or self-contained flat.