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Friday, 25 September 2020


Interns with learning disabilities and autism donate to local NHS COVID-19 Response Fund

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A group of interns from Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH, a transition to employment programme for young people with learning disabilities and autism, have donated to the Awyr Las charity to support the North Wales NHS COVID-19 Response Fund.

The programme interns and project team based at Ysbyty Gwynedd Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board decided to donate the money to support frontline NHS colleagues and patients, helping in the fight against COVID-19.

The donation money was raised through fundraising efforts during the programme year towards the project’s graduation ceremony which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH site at Ysbyty Gwynedd is an innovative partnership that began in 2017 and is helping to change the lives of young people with learning disabilities in North Wales with the support of the NHS.

The intern’s NHS charity donation the Awyr Las charity will be used to purchase items for both patients and staff; including items for wobble rooms and hospital wellbeing areas, games to help patients stay active onwards, hospital volunteer expenses, plus help towards the staff wellbeing and support service created when lockdown first began.

The team’s generous contribution will also help to buy wellbeing boxes and rainbow packs for dementia patients and mental health service in the community, along with important equipment such as blood pressure machines for heart failure patients having to isolate at home and additional kit for providing training for re-deployed nursing staff and care home staff.

DFN Project SEARCH, CEO Claire Cookson said:

“With programme graduations being more challenging this year, it’s truly heart-warming to see our programme partners and interns turning the situation into a positive by donating and helping to make a real difference to support the fight against the current global pandemic.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Workforce Modernisation Manager Mandy Hughes, said:

“It’s inspiring to see our project team and interns going the extra mile during this current crisis, their efforts will make a real difference to help the wellbeing of the patients and our incredible frontline NHS colleagues in the local area.”

Engage to Change Project Manager, Angela Kenvyn said:

“Although things feel different this year for everyone at Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH, it’s great to see the team come together and do what they can to support the community, and we hope the donation will make it a little easier for frontline NHS staff, patients and local community get through the crisis.”

The Engage to Change project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with Welsh Government, is delivered in partnership between Learning Disability Wales, Agoriad Cyf, All Wales People First, Cardiff University, ELITE and in collaboration with DFN Project SEARCH.

Evidenced-based and outcome-driven, DFN Project SEARCH programmes across the UK are a proven way of helping people with learning disabilities get long term careers as well as helping businesses get a more inclusive workforce. Today it is running over 60 UK schemes and has supported more than 1000 young people into work.

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