Major award for group with learning difficulties

Eight people with learning difficulties, who attend the Wrenford Centre, in Terminus Road, Chichester, have received awards for achieving significant personal milestones.

The group of eight – Joanna Farley, Carole Knight, Vicky Francis, Anthony Terry, Rose Perkins, Paul Howard, Rhona Hill and Jan Notley – were presented with Gateway Awards in front of their friends and family during a ceremony at the centre.

This was the second year that the award, which was developed by the learning difficulty charity Mencap, has been run at the centre.

The Gateway Award aims to encourage and promote personal development, co-operation, inclusion, choice and community involvement among people with learning difficulties.

It is similar in scope to the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

To achieve the award, each person had to complete one activity in each of five modules: adventure, hobbies, fitness, lifestyle and volunteering.

The types of activities that they undertook were varied.

They included arranging a trip to the Blue Reef Aquarium, Portsmouth; choosing and planning a meal out; learning to sew; swimming and trampolining; first aid and conservation work with Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

Joanna, Carole, Vicky and Anthony achieved a bronze award, while Rose, Paul and Rhona all achieved silver. Jan received certificates for completing three out of five modules.

They were presented with their awards by Graham Tyler, joint chairman of the West Sussex Learning Difficulties Partnership Board and also Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Adults’ Services for the County Council.

Graham said: “These awards represent an important milestone for all of those who have taken part.

“It represents a great achievement to complete each module. I know what this has meant to everyone, how proud everyone was in receiving their award and how hard each person has worked towards their individual award.”