Breaking down barriers at Bevan Court
To mark UK Disability History Month in December, our retired residents at Bevan Court spent time with work experience students from Baginton Fields, a school which supports students with a broad range of special educational needs (SEN).
Gemma Morrison, Activity Co-ordinator from Bevan Court organised for the pupils to volunteer after a conversation with her friend who’s a teacher at an additional needs school. They realised that many of the issues affecting vulnerable adults overlapped with those affecting children, in particular isolation and low confidence.
Bevan Court first welcomed the school’s student council last summer. Students and residents sat for an arts and crafts class, and created a brilliant banner for the ‘Big Bevan Court Garden Party’. Gemma said “the conversation flowed, and the atmosphere was so warm and positive. The students also had interesting questions for the residents about their childhood and what they enjoyed doing and my personal favourite was, ‘Do you know what a minion is?’”
After the success of the first session, Gemma and the team at Bevan Court wanted to get involved and provide work experience for the students as they felt the interaction was a great way to break down barriers about SEN. Three students came back for work experience with a chaperone from the school and helped with a range of things, from working with the catering team to set up the dining room, to taking part in a fire drill.
Helen Bishton, Head of Key Stage 5 at Baginton Fields said, “It has been very valuable to us to be able to send a small group of students to a work experience placement. Bevan Court staff have been extremely flexible, and completely supportive of our students.”
“One of my favourite activities with the students, was a Makaton sign language session”, said Gemma. “When one of the residents asked what a young man was doing with his hands, the group then started to explain the signs and what they meant. The resident then had a go themselves and watching that was so touching.”
“It’s been amazing to watch the student’s confidence blossom and the valuable relationships they have built with our residents within a few short weeks. We hope to continue to support the school with their work experience placements in the future.”