Disabled charity moves to the Valleys

A pioneering charity that helps people with learning disabilities enjoy new experiences through the world of touch has opened new centres in the Valleys, as Cathy Owen discovered

MORE people with learning disabilities are enjoying enriching experiences through the world of touch on their doorstep.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council and South Wales charity Touch Trust have teamed up to provide three new centres, meaning people in the county no longer have to travel to Cardiff if they want to access the charity’s work.

It is a beneficial partnership that is changing lives as the people who use the centres can develop new interests and become more confident – all through sensory experiences.

The new units are at Treforest, Llwynypia and Gadlys, where day centre staff have been trained by experts at the Touch Trust so they can deliver unique creative movement programmes on a weekly basis for individuals with learning disabilities, those affected by autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and complex needs and other vulnerable groups within the community.

Through the world of music and touch, individuals are able to respond, communicate and benefit better than they can in many other situations.

Previously, people would have had to travel down to the Touch Trust, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

The sessions offers lots of activities from trying out new musical instruments, hearing the noises they make and also feeling different shapes and textures.

“We are so pleased to have joined forces with the Touch Trust,” says Councillor Mike Forey, who is in charge of adult social services.

“Our centre staff are trained to deliver sensory arts sessions and we know these are extremely popular and beneficial to the people who have been using them

“Touch Trust provides a movement programme for people with profound and multiple needs, which helps everyday actions and development, gives physical relief, health and expression.

“It also increases movement skills and develops self-confidence and social expression.

“Through the musical instruments and materials, the class members can engage with a new experience and also each other, learning something new and benefiting from an activity they enjoy.

“With these three Touch Trust centres, the aim is to aid self-development and active life-long learning within a social, creative and nurturing environment.

“Through touch we build up relaxation, positive communication, empathy and well being – essential qualities for any human being to feel fulfilled. This holistic philosophy builds a positive life for the person with a learning disability and their family.”

A spokeswoman for the Touch Trust said: “Celebrating diversity and the integration of the disabled and non-disabled communities within our prestigious and state of the art facilities, Touch Trust is a model for community in the 21st century and it is fantastic to see it expand and help others.”

To find out more about the exciting and innovative Touch Trust, offered by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, contact Learning Curve, based at Treforest Day Centre, Pontypridd. Telephone 01443 841236.

Touch Trust was founded in 1996 and became a registered charity in 2000.

Its founder, Dilys Price OBE, an art of movement and dance specialist taught by Rudolph Laban, pioneered the Touch Trust programme in order to address the issue of discrimination and the inequality of people who were isolated and deprived of human rights and from the good things in society because of their differences

To find out more, visit www.touchtrust.co.uk