Fact-finding trip opens up new opportunities for Cabrini House

27 Jan 2017
Cabrini House staff Ann Carroll, Vicky Booth and Maxine Clarke with one of Group Ubuntu’s day centre participants

A fact-finding day trip to Belgium has inspired staff and opened up new opportunities for residents at Cabrini House, Diagrama Foundation’s home for adults with learning disabilities.

Earlier this month, a team of four staff visited the facilities of Group Ubuntu, a not-for-profit network organisation supporting people with disabilities, in South-West-Flanders.

Cabrini’s team, led by Diagrama Foundation trustee Maureen Walby, gained an insight into how Group Ubuntu supports people with disabilities to find a meaningful role in society.

Ubuntu is an African word which means ‘I am because we are’. The organisation’s philosophy is to offer support and treat everyone with respect and equality. Their mission statement says: “We do this from the understanding that connectivity with all people is necessary and required to fully know and realise oneself as individual.”

The visitors were shown around some of the organisation’s projects, including the community cafe and the art studio.

Michelle Dyne, Cabrini House manager said: “We were very impressed by the enthusiasm of the people we met, and the standard of art and crafts on display.

“All the people we met were happy to show us the work they had been doing and were extremely proud of their achievements. A number of pieces of art made by the service users are rented by local companies and put on display, also some of the clothing made has been used in film productions.

“The projects are accommodated in a former school building, which was ideal to offer the space and rooms for individuals to be able to express themselves through their artwork.

The team took away some new ideas which will be included as part of the daily activity sessions at Cabrini House, in Orpington.

Michelle added: “We are interested in extending opportunities offered to our residents and are looking into ways of working with partners like Group Ubuntu, to help raise awareness of the potential of disabled artists, as well as introducing our clients to new experiences and new horizons.

Michelle and her team are now considering an extended return trip to Group Ubuntu, involving both Cabrini staff and residents.