Every month we feature a guest blog from a business that is offering an opportunity on Savvy Guest. This month we are delighted to feature Jenny Allcock who is the Founder of Creating Adventures, a charity established after recognising the gap in services for adults aged 18+ with Autism and complex learning disabilities.
Jenny goes on to say I previously worked at a children’s charity where the children accessed not only new activities but also the opportunity to escape the barriers and troubles they faced daily. However, I noticed that they were turning adults away and after talking to a number of organisations working with these adults, found that there really is a lack of services especially for those with more complex needs.
After a rigorous application process in June 2016 I received a letter from the Charity Commission confirming the registration of Creating Adventures and set out on the journey of fundraising and developing activities for adults across Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire. “It’s been quite a year for us as we have achieved so much! We were successful with a Big Lottery Fund bid which is providing 32 adults with music sessions over 8 months where they create their own soundtrack using the Garageband Software on the iPad and their own vocal ability taking into account that many adults with Autism are non-verbal. This project which takes place in Stretford is going extremely well in so many ways, we have recognised talent amongst our adults and for some it has provided them with a song to be used as a coping mechanism when they feel anxious. We have had two successful charity fundraising events, a Spring Ball at the Midland Hotel and a Ladies Lunch at Mere Court. Both of these events have not only raised us vital funds with the Ball raising £22,000 but they have more importantly helped us to raise our profile. Our second project starts on 20th October in Cheadle Heath, running fortnightly art sessions to allow our service users to express themselves through art forms with a view to exhibiting their artwork.
I think that the hardest thing I have found throughout my journey is working alone. I have always worked as part of a team and then suddenly I find myself working alone. I have three wonderful Trustees to run ideas past and to help me take Creating Adventures in a certain direction but I really miss having people around me and a team to bounce ideas off on a daily basis.
Our aim is to develop our activities and fundraising so that one day we can grow the team. I am currently covering all aspects of the charity, I suppose like many business owners do at first but it’s hard juggling the roles involved in running the charity including marketing, fundraising, finance, organising the activities for the adults, networking for both our service provision and for the fundraising side, basic administration, ensuring we meet guidelines with the Charity Commission and also Safeguarding our Service Users by having all of the policies procedures and checks in place not forgetting organising the events to raise us money. I have struggled with juggling the tasks, because people often say that I must prioritise but in my mind, they are all a priority and many need to be completed at the same time. However in a Trustee meeting last month we decided that three key tasks should be the backbone of the charity for the next 6 months: Fundraising through trusts and foundations; developing our activities; and marketing our progress through press releases and social media.
We are therefore now more than ever trying to be heard, to emphasise the vital need for Creating Adventures. All children with disabilities and autism grow up, when they leave school…what then? There becomes this big empty space of time to fill but the many services that once existed in and around school life are no longer there. Many of these adults are not given employment or struggle with skills surrounding employment so the days are long and without stimulating activity to fill their days, many of these adults exist but are not living life to the fullest. We at Creating Adventures want to change this and provide them with stimulating activities which are also therapeutic to enrich their lives, offer them an improved quality of life and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Our long term aim is to create an oasis where the adults can meet, create their own community, access a number of indoor and outdoor activities but most importantly provide them with a place and a space to socialise and relax.
If you are interested in chatting to Jenny about her job role register at http://www.savvyguest.com