Sheffield Mencap & Gateway is an organisation that provides education and leisure activities to the learning disabled community. One of the many activities the organisation offers is Shine Out on Saturdays – a drama and art club for young people with learning disabilities, aged 10-18. The project received funding from the DM Thomas Foundation, which has enabled it to carry on the creative and fun work it does.
Shine Out on Saturdays uses drama, dance and art as a tool to develop self-confidence, independence and social skills, whilst also providing a great opportunity for young people interested in the performing arts to meet like-minded individuals. The project aims to provide an environment that encourages creativity in a safe and positive atmosphere.
Miles, one of the members at Shine Out, needed a measured introduction to the project as he initially found it difficult to remain for the duration of the session. He also found the group work challenging and would leave the room on numerous occasions. However, over a short period of time Miles has really settled in well – he now stays for the duration of the session and fully participates in the group.
Miles has achieved so much throughout his time at Shine Out on Saturdays – he took on one of the major roles in a play which the young people created themselves and then performed to a live audience. Miles’s parents stated that this was the first time they had seen him perform as he has previously been overwhelmed in other performances and not been able to participate. Miles has really grown in confidence whilst at Shine Out on Saturdays and is an extremely valued member of the project.