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Enriching the lives of vulnerable people with 5 Senses


The charity we’re putting in the spotlight this week is the 5 Senses Expressive Arts and Education Centre for Vulnerable Adults.

The charity we’re putting in the spotlight this week is the 5 Senses Expressive Arts and Education Centre for Vulnerable Adults.

Usually shortened to 5 Senses, the charity was originally formed in 2004 as a service for the local charity Avocet Trust, eventually becoming an independent charity in 2010 due to its continued success.

5 Senses caters for vulnerable adults over the age of 18 who live in the Hull, East Riding and surrounding areas. The charity is primarily for students who have mild to severe learning disabilities, are on the  autism spectrum, have profound physical disabilities, and who need help managing their challenging or self-jeopardising behaviour.

All students involved with the charity are provided with an individual learning timetable that covers a variety of internal sessions and community activities, which are specially designed to aid their personal development. These centre-based sessions are run by tutors, all of whom currently have or are working towards a PGCE or equivalent teaching qualifications.

The tutors construct fun, innovative and creative sessions, designed specially to stretch their students’ capabilities in ways that stimulate, challenge and encourage them to participate in their own learning, whilst also providing students with opportunities to work towards ASDAN accredited certificates.

The charity offers a range of external activities that members can take part in, catering to everyone’s interests. Examples include trips to swimming and hydrotherapy pools, weekly visits to the local bowling alley, cycling with East Park Bikes, and even days out at local golf courses for a round or two. Many students also have the opportunity to go on a weekly day trip outside of Hull, visiting establishments like Magna in Rotherham, the National Media Museum in Bradford, Tropical World in Leeds and a day soaking up the sun on the beach in Bridlington.

“I have been coming to 5 Senses for just over five years,” says a student named Karli. “I really enjoy my time here. I have made lots of friends. I like taking part in all of the sessions, but most of all I enjoy singing.”

The team behind 5 Senses are vibrant, dynamic and highly trained support workers who strive to provide friendly, non-judgemental and dedicated support for the students who require additional help with aspects of their care. All of the staff get involved with group activities to help and empower the students to get the most out of the experience, enabling them to stretch the boundaries of their learning capabilities and grow their confidence both inside and outside of the sessions.

During Hull UK City of Culture, 5 Senses worked with a host of Hull musicians to put on an expressive and theatrical performance piece called We Are 5 Senses, celebrating the skills, abilities and accomplishments of the performers. The show aimed to help the audience develop an understanding of the issues currently facing disabled people in our society, and ways in which they overcome disadvantages and discrimination.

For more information on how 5 Senses are helping Hull’s vulnerable youngsters and what their plans are for the year ahead, you can visit their website or find them on Facebook.

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