THE Gender Studies Group from the Craigavon and Banbridge area have visited Parliament Buildings and met one of their local public representatives.
The young people, who each have a learning disability, meet weekly. They use painting, drawing, creative writing, reading and discussion to explore issues about confidence, self-esteem and empowerment. The group examines the role of women in society by looking at various role models from history, popular culture, and prominent women from the local area and their own lives who have inspired them.
The clients thoroughly enjoyed their tour of Stormont where they learned about the history of the building and viewed the chambers where MLAs debate and cast votes. The group was delighted to meet Dolores Kelly MLA.
Emma Richardson said: “The trip was amazing. It is a beautiful building. I enjoyed hearing about what the MLAs do and seeing where votes happen.”
Janet Frizzel adds: “The tour was very interesting and our tour guide was funny and friendly.”
Group member Jude Magennis said: “I enjoyed getting to see Stormont and meeting Dolores Kelly.”
Chantelle Baker thought the visit was educational: “I learned a lot about the history and about the facts and figures about the building.”
The visit was organised by Eamon Murphy, Community Access Officer at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, who explained: “Approximately 200 clients are engaged with the learning disability day opportunities programme in the Southern Trust. The programme covers four areas of development – recreational, vocational, volunteering and further education.”
Day opportunities form part of a diverse range of age-appropriate day support for adults with a learning disability, including day care at social education centres and community access, in line with the Transforming Your Care Review. The report contained 99 recommendations on how health and social care in Northern Ireland should be provided in future and was endorsed by the Health Minister in December 2011.