In the latest edition of the Knowle United Reformed Church’s magazine, the Reverend Jo’ Williams wrote a lovely piece about November’s Launch Event.
Here is her article in full:
‘A Very Interesting Lunch! - the Launch of "Hidden Lives Remembered", Solihull Action Through Advocacy (SATA)
As the readers of Knowle URC Magazine will know, from the information in November’s Magazine, the public launch of "Hidden Lives Remembered" took place on Wednesday 21st November in our church hall.
I went along to support such an important piece of historical information-gathering and to meet the people involved in the research, most of whom have various types of learning disabilities.
I was not disappointed. The speakers, and those with whom I held conversations, gave interesting accounts of the formulation of the project and their own experiences of being employed on it and the jobs they undertake in the work. One of them led us in prayers of thanks for the undertaking and the success of its outcome. People brought photographs and other archive material.
Those present were too young to have lived in institutions such as Middlefield Hospital and Hampton Manor and had been part of mainstream schooling, often in segregated “units”, whilst living at home. As I spoke with various people I was saddened to hear of their memories of bullying by their fellow-pupils and humiliation by some of their teachers. They put this down to a lack of education for staff and children, which they hope has since been rectified, and they spoke of the work they do for the "Hidden Lives Remembered” project as a wonderful experience because they feel valued and it gives their lives an additional dimension. They also hope it will contribute to a greater understanding in the community of the contribution, skills and knowledge which people with learning disabilities have to offer.
I gave information about Knowle URC’S "Big Brew" on a Tuesday and also the Christmas Fair which was held on the Saturday after the launch meeting. I emailed this information, too, so they could put it on their blog. The people with whom I spoke said it could be lonely at times, whether living at home or in supported housing, as those who work (paid or voluntary) don’t work full time and there is a lack of places to go to meet with people and socialise.
I thought it would be a good idea if we gathered information about day-time activities in our areas, held in the various churches as well as our church halls, and put it on a leaflet which could be available to all groups who use church facilities and also be put in church magazines and emailed to organisations whose members could benefit. I know that I would have been pleased to receive this information when I moved here six years ago. For instance, the "Hidden Lives Remembered" project members have access to their own transport, public transport and taxis and would enjoy taking part.
Oh, and by the way, the buffet lunch at the launch was excellent!’
You can also view the photos and Jennifer’s blog from the Launch Event here:
Thanks again to Jo’ for her kind article!