Offering free advice through Suffolk libraries

: Some of the team from Realise Futures providing peer support, walk-in advice and guidance for peop

: Some of the team from Realise Futures providing peer support, walk-in advice and guidance for people with learning disabilities and/or autism in Suffolk. Rebecca Webb Heath, Sarah Cutts, Deb Gibson and Emma Croker. - Credit: Realise Futures

People with learning disabilities or autism in Suffolk are to get walk-in advice, help and support from specialist provider of employment services for people with disabilities, Realise Futures.

Realis Futures is offering a new free advice service for people with learning disabilities/autism, t

Realis Futures is offering a new free advice service for people with learning disabilities/autism, through Suffolk libraries. The first sessions are at the Navigator Centre, Lowestoft Library. Bev Hussien, Laure Twineham and Sarah Cutts of Realise Futures - Credit: Archant

The social enterprise, based in Ipswich and operating in Suffolk and Essex, has been appointed by Suffolk County Council to deliver aspects of its learning disability strategy, a five-year plan developed in partnership with service users and the NHS.

Realise Futures has created five new jobs across Suffolk to deliver the contract which focuses on three specific areas – walk-in advice, peer support and help for people with learning disabilities and/or autism provided at Suffolk Libraries.

The services are free, and no appointments will be needed.

The first sessions take place at the Navigator Centre, Lowestoft Library.


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Deb Gibson Realise Futures careers and progression manager said: “The objective is to promote independence by enabling people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and their families, to access brief support when they need it, as well as providing opportunities for people to build their connections in the local community through peer support.

“Peer support is all about helping people. At the groups we will be setting up, people can share their experiences and talk about the things that matter to them. We know that social isolation is a big issue for people, and we can help with that because being part of a group is a great way to make friends and become more confident.

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“It’s exciting to watch people develop independent skills and more social awareness of what is happening in their local communities and get involved. We are delighted to be working in partnership with others to help support existing services and to help people get the help they need.”

Taking place at The Navigator Centre in Lowestoft Library, Realise Futures will run information sessions on topics such as welfare benefits, money management and accessing health services - as well as other services including adult learning and employment support.

The contract also includes working in partnership with Suffolk Libraries to deliver their Open Spaces sessions, making them more accessible for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Open Spaces is run weekly in libraries across the county where people can drop in for a cuppa, a chat and take part in wellbeing activities.

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