Foundation’s work is motivated to provide opportunities for social inclusion. In fact INCLUSION and INNOVATION are two of our organisation’s core values. Here one of our workers in Durham gives an update on the groups that the project is running to help empower marginalised and vulnerable people build their way into the community.

Training - ideas

‘The group sessions are going from strength to strength in Durham with customers who are eager to participate in and also contribute to the subject matter of the sessions.

The health group has some new recruits who have been inspired by the efforts of the group to lose weight, eat healthier and exercise.  They continue to meet on a weekly basis to get weighed, swap recipes and tips and discuss what went well and not so well.  They have all embraced healthy eating and portion control and the overall weight loss is commendable (6st 3lb since 12th July 2016).  The “biggest loser” since the start of the group has lost 25lb, with the second having lost 24lb. So well done, you know who you are!  However, one of the new recruits is catching up quickly and the individual competitiveness that this is encouraging is immense.

Exercise is taking place regularly on a weekly basis and the wellbeing group members are combining relaxation exercises with walks whilst one customer, along with staff, is preparing for a local Park Run so watch this space folks!   This week the group learned all about the Countryside Code during the walk and now know all about being safe, respecting the working life of the countryside, protecting plants and animals, litter removal, keeping dogs under control and considering others.   Also the group has decided to create a treasure hunt around Durham for use by other customers and work will be starting on this task next week.

Co-production is shining through the groups with customers meeting up and working on banners for a customer event later in the year, learning about the customer volunteer poster competition and one customer making a suggestion box which has been branded with the Foundation colours and logo.  This week a customer took the customer orders for a group session lunch.   After he had taken the individual orders he collated the information then went to Subway and placed the order.   This was a good lesson in life and independent living skills as well as demonstrating co-production within the group.


Coffee club has started and customers meet up with staff once a week for refreshments and a chat.   Newspapers and magazines are available throughout the session for them to catch up on the news and then towards the end everyone takes part in a discussion about current affairs which broadens individual knowledge of events of political or social interest and importance happening in the world at the present time.

The groups are certainly flourishing in Durham and staff and customers alike look forward to the sessions. As one customer recently said “I don’t know what I would do without the weekly meet ups, I’d definitely be lost without them”.’

Well done to the Durham team! We thoroughly look forward to your next update!