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People doing it for themselves…and others in their community

 Andy Naylor, Community Enterprise Catalyst, has been promoting micro-enterprises run by people with learning disabilities. He tells us more about it.

It’s Learning Disability Week and I’d like to share some of the fantastic work that has been led by people with learning disabilities in the boroughs of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The Community Catalysts team has been out and about promoting the idea of setting up their own micro-enterprises to people with learning disabilities.

The team have had the pleasure of visiting several organisations who provide wonderful spaces for people with learning disabilities to develop independence and share their creativity and ambition.

We were warmly welcomed by Equal People, a project started 30 years ago by parents who sought more independence for their children. Chats with staff and attendees covered everything from the best football team in the premier league to favourite Whitney Houston songs!

From jewellery designers to budding car wash CEO’s there were no shortage of great ideas. And there was a great buzz around each table. The team at Equal People do a great job of amplifying the voices of  people and making sure that they are given the tools and support they need to share their passions and talents with the world.

As part of our People Can development programme we are seeking people with brilliant ideas that we can support to make a reality – and we would do this alongside parents or carers. We are really looking forward to visiting again and starting to help the ideas take shape.

Four people smiling at the camera
Community Enterprise Catalysts: Andy, Joe, Claire and Bhupinder
Two people standing and smiling a the camera in a colourful room
Joe and Andy, Community Enterprise Catalysts

We visited St Joseph’s learning centre in Hendon, which includes Pursuing Independent Paths (PIP) and Look Ahead, two organisations amplifying people’s voices and making sure that activities are shaped and developed by people with lived experience.

At PIP we joined a group of young adults who had recently filmed The Assembly, a programme for the BBC. As part of it they asked the actor Michael Sheen a series of questions. It involved a group of autistic, neuro divergent and learning disabled people ask quickfire questions to the actor and was a huge hit with viewers. We were lucky enough to meet some of the stars of the show who were very humble about the experience and already thinking about their next project. From singers performing Amy Winehouse songs in Camden to a documentary about a man with learning disabilities auditioning to become part of a boy band, it was incredible to be part of such a creative and positive environment.

We are excited and feel privileged to be working within boroughs that are supporting people with learning disabilities to be heard and let their talents shine. We look forward to what comes next and to help social enterprises grow, develop and flourish to support their community and offer even more fabulous activities that are accessible to everybody.