Mayor Ben Houchen has praised the commitment of the staff team and volunteers dedicated to helping Tees Valley adults with disabilities realise their potential.
The Mayor visited Vision25, an independent training and social care provider based in Stockton. The organisation offers support for those aged 19 plus with disabilities to develop independent living skills, move into employment and higher education, and promote social inclusion and positive health and wellbeing.
What started just two and a half years ago as a Saturday club to give parents of young adults with disabilities a short respite is now supported by a team of nine staff, and around 15 regular volunteers. It currently helps to support 26 young adults, but the number of those who are looking to access the service is growing. Volunteers also include people on placement from local colleges and universities who are studying either Health and Social Care Level 3, Occupational Health or Social Worker qualifications.
Led by director Jen Addison, Vision25 offers full-time and part-time placements for 50 weeks of the year to the young adults as part of its meaningful training programme driven by experiential learning. There, they can get involved in activities such as shopping, residentials, theatre trips and archery as well as participating in work experience.
The Mayor spent some time with the adults who are supported by Vision25, along with Service Manager Tracy Thomas and Corporate Fundraiser Val Lake. Tracy and Val highlighted the company’s plans for expansion and how they were working to tackle issues surrounding employment and opportunities for young disabled adults in the region.
Mayor Houchen said: “I was hugely impressed by all of the great work done by the staff team, and the volunteers in creating a caring and supportive environment. It was clear that everyone who uses Vision25 is gaining confidence and experience while having a lot of fun.
“Like the ethos demonstrated at Vision25, I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should be able to get a good quality service, including the chance of further qualifications whilst at work and move into paid employment, in a society that values their contribution. I’m looking forward to hearing how Vision25 grows.”
Vision25 Director Jen Addison said: “Our young adults and their families live with disability every day. They all have the daily challenge of disability, vulnerability, and are generally at a disadvantage in today’s society, yet they shine and succeed every day – without fail.
“Our team and the young adults we support were delighted to meet the Mayor and take him through everything we do. We’re getting more and more interest in our service and it was great to discuss how we could work together in future.”