When Livability Brackley started a litter picking group to support the local community, they weren’t expecting it to lead to free drinks – and Frank Bruno.
The group goes out regularly to tidy the area, supported by staff from this East Midlands service, which works with people with a wide range of ability and living situations, from residential care to supported living.
Local reaction has been hugely supportive and grateful for the work the team does, with over 400 likes for the group on a community Facebook group, with an ‘unsung heroes’ tag. Local landlord Phil Caley now offers the team free drinks at The Stratton Arms, in Turweston village, which has benefited from the Livability clean-up, about a mile from Brackley. ‘I first saw what they were doing online,’ says Phil. ‘They’re doing a wonderful job and I wanted to wish them well.’
On what turned out to be a memorable day, boxing star Frank Bruno posed with the team when they bumped into him while litter picking on a local industrial estate. And when the local beer festival needed some help this summer, the litter fighters swung into action. They volunteered to give their time one Saturday to keep the festival site clean and tidy, supported by staff who also volunteered for the day.
People who use this service put serving the community high on their agenda, getting involved in events and local groups, including a community health walk. One member of the group, who is supported by Livability to live independently in his own home, was commended by the local MP for his community-minded attitude – he assists older people on the walk, warning them of any hazards along the way.
‘At Livability, we know that everyone has something to offer, whatever their ability, if they are just given the chance,’ says Mandy Himpson, locality manager, Livability Lifestyle Choices East Midlands. ‘Our guys always jump at a chance to help out in the community and what they do is all part of breaking down barriers that can keep disabled people out. On the health walk, for example, people have told us that initially they were unsure of how to respond to and communicate with people with some profound disabilities, but real friendships have been formed and people meet up at other venues, like a local weekly coffee morning.’
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