The Turning Tides Project supports people with learning disabilities, who are already well known for their musical performances, their volunteer work and for the fabulous cakes and crafts they sell from their base at Crediton Station Tea Rooms. But they have recently taken on a new role as Crediton Town Maintenance Officers. This will not only help keep the town tidy and cared for but also provide valuable paid work, as Turning Tides Director Jane Williams explains.
At the Turning Tides Project, we aim to make equal access to music, the arts and life a reality for people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels. We do this by taking a Social Model Approach. We believe that 'disability’ is created by the way that society treats difference and that when everyone has equal access to every opportunity, we are all able to make valuable contributions and are valued for doing so.
We care very much about our community and always work hard to take care of both the people and the places that are part of it. We’ve worked as volunteers to pick up litter, tidy and maintain the Town’s greenspaces and set up for community events for several years. We were therefore pleased to be approached by Crediton Town Council and invited to take on the role of Crediton Town Maintenance Officers.
A few thoughts from The TTP Crediton Maintenance Team:
It’s good to keep as many areas as clean possible - since the age of nine it’s been my intention to help people in any way that I can and in any place, I’m needed - anywhere or anybody. - Josh
It makes me happy to pick up the litter and make the place look beautiful. The new hats and jackets are beautiful. - Michelle
It’s a good responsibility, also being part of Crediton and the community. Making it a better place to be, keeping it clean and tidy. - Beth
I love to clean up Crediton as it makes the world a better and safer place to live in. It is amazing to be part of the community. - Abbie
I have been living in Crediton for ages now and I feel I am making a difference to the community by cleaning up people’s rubbish. We hope to challenge the ideology of people in our community towards those people with ‘learning disability’ and autism labels. - Joe
It’s nice to hear that people think we are doing a good job. - Jacob
We’re a non-profit making organisation, but the reality is that being paid is part of what makes people feel valued. Only 6% of the 1.5 million people in this country with a ‘learning disability’ label have a paid job, according to the charity Mencap
The Turning Tides Project supports people to develop the skills, confidence and experience they need to have a job and then, when we can create a sustainable opportunity, offers people who are part of TTTP Supported Employment.
Our work to make sure Crediton is tidy and well cared for is now paid work. Thank you Crediton Town Council for valuing our contribution. The money we earn will enable us to continue to expand our approach to Supported Employment.
We would love to work with other local businesses, organisations and individuals to develop their approaches to equal access. Please do get in touch if you would like to talk with us. We look forward to hearing from you and you working with us and Crediton Town Council to make Crediton the first #InclusiveTown.
We should respect our environment and keep it clean and make sure we treat other people the way we’d like to be treated ourselves. - Rebecca
This article was written for TTTP by Rebecca and Jane Williams.
You can find out more about the Turning Tides Project here