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The first half of 2018 has just flown by and as the temperatures soar and the sun shines the ‘Beast from the East’ seems like a very distant memory!

As an organisation, Orchard Vale Trust has grown and we are delighted to welcome Lisa Pearce as our new Community Outreach Worker. Lisa’s focus is to develop our work in our local communities and the adults with learning disabilities who live in them. The launch of our community gardening services encapsulates all that we are hoping to achieve – two days a week the trust provides a gardening service to members of the community who need our help. The service is led by our very own gardener Mike and some of the adults who have gained their knowledge of gardening working alongside Mike for a number of years. The service is free and fantastic example of adults with learning disabilities supporting the communities in which they live. The initiative has been generously supported by Wedmore Community Power Co-operative and Melhuish and Saunders which has ensured that it has got off to a fantastic start.

However, it is not just the new that makes Orchard Vale Trust the vibrant organisation that it is – some of the more established traditions are also a source of joy. On Friday 15th June, 18 teams from across Somerset had a fantastic day at Kingsdown Golf Club in the annual fundraising event in memory of Toby Charnaud. This was quickly followed by a Barn Dance on 16th June where Orchard Vale Trust received a generous donation from the Allerton Players in addition to a wonderful time being had by all!!

As a Trust we are always looking to extend the partners that we work with and the charity Life With Art has kindly donated a new building in order to allow us to extend the Arts and Crafts Workshops that we offer. In addition to this we are delighted to have been offered a new community art space in Wells. Our local Somerset libraries have also opened their doors to us and over the month we will be launching both IT training and a Book Club for adults with learning disabilities. We are also delighted to launch out monthly cinema club which starts on 1st August at The Roxy in Axbridge.

We are about to launch the Mencap Award which will allows individuals to develop their skills in a range of areas from socialising to volunteering. We are hoping to engage as many people as possible either in gaining the award or providing opportunities in which to take the award. The award signifies our focus on offering a range of accredited courses in order to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that individuals gain.

With the summer holidays in full swing we can only hope that the sun continues to shine and I will end with my congratulations to 2 of our residential homes, St Chads in Midsomer Norton and Ferndale in Shepton Mallet for gaining judgements of ‘Good’ in their most recent CQC inspections and a massive thank you to everyone at the Wookey Hub for a fantastic week of celebrations for Learning Disability Week.


Liz Page, CEO