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  • Creative Women

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    We aim to showcase hidden talents of each one of our service users; some are brilliant in painting, craft work, dance, music and drama. We train them to improvise on their inherent skills and organize events to showcase our members’ talents. We advocate for equality in all our projects ensuring that these women with learning difficulties are provided with appropriate advice and opportunities.

    Powerhouse runs regular art and craft sessions involving drawing, colouring, painting, colour mixing, appreciation of famous artworks and discussion of the members work and what it means to them. The members have produced several group pieces of artwork for the Together2012 Exhibition, backdrops for Spotlight: David Jackson project and designing fashion wear for the Powerhouse Fashion Show. Last year, our members designed and painted masks and they were displayed at the Exhibition organized by Together and one individual painting that was exhibited was inspired by our trip to the Museum of Childhood.

    Some of the members’ artwork has also been chosen for use by Powerhouse on promotional flyers for events. In November we held a film festival day, where members showed personal footage and also portrayed Baz Luhrmans Romeo and Juliet. For Christmas 2013, we chose 2 members designs and produced Christmas cards and spent a day carol singing at Canning Town Station by permission of the London Underground. The members also performed a Play entitled Dragon Island to an audience of family, support workers, friends and colleagues. This year, we will be making a film about the life of animals both wild and tame; this was suggested by one member’s comment that she would like the life of her cat. We have also choreographed and performed dances to celebrate Diwali, Halloween and Easter.

    100% members enjoy and benefit from the art and drama sessions, which is also a space to talk in a safe environment about their lives. 75% of the members have taken part in performances, and for every project there are roles created so that every member can be involved for example- Set designer, Photographer, script assistant. The session leader also ensures that the members are provided with appropriate advice and opportunities.

  • Advocacy

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    Do you want to learn to speak up for yourself and keep safe?

    Powerhouse is running Advocacy sessions to help women with Learning Disabilities find their voice and personal power.

    These sessions will focus on Body Language, Speaking Up and Resolving Conflict, Keeping Safe, Relationships and Managing Stress.

    This specially developed course is aimed at vulnerable adults and will focus on communication, saying what we want and dealing with difficult situations. Throughout the programme we aim to increase the confidence of women with learning disabilities by identifying everyday issues that make them feel powerless. Through discussing personal choice and using everyday examples we will help build esteem.

    Powerhouse operates as a safe environment within which WLD can confront such issues and teach them how to deal with disability prejudice. The sessions include Keep safe meetings, information giving about human rights and visits from the local police to talk about safety when out in the community as well as recognizing and reporting hate crime. This work is backed up by regular trips into the community and travelling on public transport. Guest speakers also come and take sessions on Advocacy. We hold regular sessions on Assertiveness and Relationships skills to tackle many conditions such as depression, social anxiety and problems resulting from unexpressed anger. In these sessions, we use a variety of methods including debate, role play, hot seating, role reversal and basic playback techniques, to help participants understand the principals of assertiveness and good communication. During the sessions, the members are also able to talk one to one with the session leader about any concerns that they may have in their lives. The session leader gives advice, shares life experiences or refers the member to get further support where necessary.

    80% of participants have reported more confidence, are more able to share their opinion, and feel more able and safe outdoors.

  • Healthy Living ('Zest Life')

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    Dependency on caretakers or family leaves WLD stout. Exercise, dance, sports and healthy eating workshops can combat these issues. Powerhouse aims to keep its members fit and active. We conduct workshops in sports, fitness, gardening, healthy living and healthy eating. The members play indoor football, go indoor wall climbing, tennis, badminton, mini golf, basketball culminating in a tournament and go on numerous park walks. They also get to use outdoor fitness equipment. The fitness sessions comprised of different styles of dance – basic ballet technique, easy street dance, dance aerobics and salsa, dance performances at Easter and Halloween, as well as speed, agility and quickness training, weight training using dumbbells and pad work. During the summer months, the members work on our allotment, growing fresh vegetables such as carrots, coriander and tomatoes. The participants sample these during the healthy eating sessions to make dips etc. and also take them home for their dinner. The healthy living sessions involve talks on sleep, relaxation, dealing with stress and anxiety, sexual health and personal hygiene. The healthy eating sessions involve giving information on diet and nutrition, discussion around making healthy choices, fruit and vegetable tasting, for example oranges, mango, peppers and pineapple, making healthy dips and snacks and salads.

    80% of participants started regular exercise for the first time. For most participants this involved 2 sessions of gentle to moderate exercise per week of 60-90 minutes in duration.

    25% of participants now also partake in at least one other session of exercise outside of Powerhouse such as the gym, dance or martial arts classes.

    72% of the group have made healthy changes to their diet such as healthier snacks, reducing sweets and fizzy drinks, eating more yogurt and fruit and vegetable as well as eating breakfast.

    40% of participants report better sleep and are more able to relax and enjoy favourite activities such as art and watching films. “Eat Right”-cooking lessons enables women’s’ to follow healthy lifestyle and gain health benefits.

  • Life Skills

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    We provide fundamental knowledge on essential information such as reading, writing, independent travel on the public transport, and volunteering opportunities they can interact and learn new skills and encourage them to be part of the society creating positive changes in their lives, thus reducing isolation.

    Life skills help our members to reduce their dependency on their caretakers / family. We regularly arrange outdoor trips to give them confidence to travel in public transport, visit to farms and museums, art exhibitions, parks having wildlife to film birds and animals, theme parks (Adventure Island, Southend), luncheons to make them more comfortable in table manners and eating in groups. The members use buses, escalators, lifts, stairs, and the underground to travel in the community, so that members gain confidence when out and about. By travelling as a group, members have an opportunity for peer social learning, and more able members are able to assist other members, which builds self-esteem.

    All members have workbooks and complete these at their own pace with the assistance of the session leader. We use books, magazines, picture dictionary, counting bricks and ribbons as teaching resources. Members have also been learning the sign language alphabet and have started to make a film showing these signs. Last Christmas, the members performed a play titled ‘Dragon Island’ scripted by the members themselves. This helped embed the skills learned during the English session and also gave the members self-confidence. As part of Autism Awareness week, the members gave Autism Awareness training in E16 café to This year, 100% members have made some progress in their Mathematics and English skills. 2 members were able to attend and achieve a Food Hygiene Level 1 course. 4 of our members secured college places this year.

    This year we will be introducing Basic Computer Training sessions for mild learning disabled members. We are in partnership with First Line to help them find employment once they are trained and assessed.

    80% members feel more positive about their lives as a result of attending powerhouse sessions.