Thirty-six-year-old Kevin started coming to GL11 several years ago after a neighbourhood warden told him about the Hub and recommended he visit. Initially starting as a volunteer watering the plants and helping tend the community gardens, Kevin is now a welcoming face that reassures new visitors.

“When Kevin first came to GL11 he was quite shy and lacking in confidence. He would sit hidden around the corner smoking and the only time he’d set foot in the building was with Paul, a well-known face at the Hub” comments Cathryn Trace, GL11 Tutor.

“Kevin stayed under the wing of Paul for some time until he eventually decided to try one of the groups. At first he sat out of the way keeping his head down and avoided eye contact, but slowly he grew in confidence and started trying some of the other sessions available here”. He now regularly attends four different groups designed to support adults with learning difficulties; The Adventurers, Gateway Award, Brandon Trust Job Club and Money & Me – a session that was vital to him when he encountered some major financial changes last year.

“GL11 gives me somewhere good to go” explains Kevin, “Coming here has helped me make new friends and I meet up with them outside of here all of the time. I like helping people in the groups I come to so that they feel more comfortable, I try and make them laugh and give them support if they need it. GL11 has also helped me by talking to the job centre so now I only need to visit there every three months and I get support to complete my journal from Sam at The Brandon Trust Job Club every week”.

Cathryn reflects: “Kevin is a different person now, just the way he dresses, holds himself, goes down to the  café and talks to strangers. He has a lovely sense of humour and is always looking out for people. He’s very aware of the feelings that he felt when he first came here so he knows how to support and encourage others. Kevin is a real asset to our community”.

Activities at GL11

GL11 offers a number of weekly activities suitable for adults with learning difficulties. Adventurers sessions support independent living skills, learning a new hobby and exploring new things to do. Gateway Award helps participants work towards the equivalent Duke of Edinburgh Award. Brandon Trust Job Club provides support with job searches, applications and interviews and Money & Me helps with banking, shopping and budgeting.