Find out how by contacting us at:
Skills for Independent Living Scheme
18 Athol Street
Douglas, Isle of Man
Tel: 07624 485999
Or use our online contact form.
Children's Christmas Chaos Cafe in Sulby raised an amazing £316.30 for the Charity. Thank you to all involved in particular Mr. & Mrs. Lole who opened up their home and created this wonderful event.
Nedgroup Investments very kindly donated funds to the Charity at Christmas in lieu of a secret Santa. A generous £95 for the charity. Every penny counts.
Bucket collection after a performance of Glee at the Gaiety Theatre in November raised £67.00. Thanks to all who kindly helped.
One of the current challenges we are facing on the Isle of Man is the lack of continuing education for young adults with learning differences once they reach 18. We have discovered that, given the slower learning curve, the UK provides ongoing education to those with additional needs up to the age of 25. It is imperative and only right that these individuals learn basic life skills, learn to become independent and gain a sense of self worth. If they can learn a vocation at the same time, that is an added bonus.
There are currently four Manx students with additional needs attending Myerscough College in Preston, UK, studying a range of topics including horticulture, agriculture, countryside management and small animal care. In addition they receive lessons in functional skills, i.e. Maths, English and Computers. They partake in work experience, e.g. working in the campus shop, in the livery yard or Blackpool Zoo. The students are developing self confidence and self respect through living in a community of 650 residents with their more able peers. The vocational skills they are learning can only help them when entering the work place at a later stage. A care agency, Shared Approach Ltd., is contracted by the Isle of Man Government and provides out of hours support taking the students swimming, hiking, bowling, shopping and teaching them budget skills.
With the restrictions in tuition fees funded by the IOM Government for those who are 'different but not less' than their more able peers, and the lack of adoption of the Disabilities Discrimination Act and Equalities Act by the Government, the need to help these individuals is greater than ever. Only 16% of carers/parents with special needs children are able to work due to the commitment of caring for that child in comparison to 61% of carers/parents of 'normal' children. Being a mother of an autistic son, I know the trials and tribulations parents are faced with, the heartache, the bullying in the playground, and the 'fighting' with the authorities to try and obtain the most appropriate education. On top of that we are aware of the 80% divorce rate between couples coping with a special needs offspring in the family.
Ollie, our son, is now 21 and is in his fourth year at Myerscough College. In his time there he has gained independence and confidence, has learned a vocation and most of all he has gained a sense of self worth. Myerscough provides an environment for those students with learning differences to excel in a stunning and safe facility, integrating with their more able peers in a typical college setting in the beautiful countryside in Lancashire.
SKILS has been established to assist financially with tuition fees and transport costs to view colleges/universities in the UK. For the transition from the IOM to a UK college I feel that a 'partnership' is imperative, a partnership between the student, the parents/guardians, the college/university, Shared Approach Ltd. and the Isle of Man Department of Social Care. It is wise to obtain a social worker before embarking on this journey.
Current tuition fees at Myerscough College is approximately £5300pa and accommodation fees £5000pa. I believe that by investing this relatively small amount in these young adults' education and independence, the less it will cost the tax payer in the long term, but more importantly, the students will have a chance to reach their full potential.
When asking our son about his time at Myerscough and how it has helped him - this was his response:
'Myerscough is totally awesome because it has brought me from an old life to a better future.'
Georgina Revill, Chairman