The Vision

The Vision

To provide Young Adults who have a learning disability the opportunity to socialise and form natural friendships with their Peers, in a safe, supported environment.

In 2006 we became aware of a project run in Ayrshire by The Hansel Foundation Fairway Project, providing a Peer Mentoring service to Young Adults with a learning disability. We recognised that although a lot of young adults were supported adequately throughout the day by adult support services, their evenings and leisure time was often spent with older adult carers or family, therefore hugely missing out on the important learning curve that having a peer friendship brings. The transition through adolescence to adulthood is a tough time for most young adults, but even tougher if you have no one to confide in or learn from who is going through the same experiences, natural personal development is hindered, resulting in lower self-confidence, self-belief and independence.

Fairway Fife is a registered charity and operated by an independent Management Board. We recognise that all people regardless of ability or disability have their own unique gifts and strengths to contribute positively to their own community. We aim to achieve our goals by recruiting and professionally supporting, committed volunteers of a similar age (Peer Mentors), to help our Members strive to live their dreams through accessing the everyday community experiences that non-disabled Mentors will take for granted. This could be as simple as going bowling, shopping, clubbing or just 'hanging out' with a pizza and a dvd- chatting about everyday issues most people will face, in a safe, natural environment.

Other benefits gained are the many opportunities available to Peer Mentors, such as completing Youth Achievement Awards, Saltire Awards, Points towards Degree courses etc. - not to mention, making new friends and having fun-all for free!!

Learning Disability Befriending Fife, Mentoring Fife, Social Events for People with Learning Disabilities Fife
Learning Disability Befriending Fife, Mentoring Fife, Social Events for People with Learning Disabilities Fife
Learning Disability Befriending Fife, Mentoring Fife, Social Events for People with Learning Disabilities Fife

THE NEED FOR FAIRWAY FIFE

Fairway Fife seeks to address some of the social isolation issues experienced by young people with disabilities. These young people are at an age where, relationships with peers, is an essential part of maturing to broaden their entire outlook in life. The young people however, have fewer opportunities to form natural friendships and are less able to keep up with friends who move on.

Most mainly participate in leisure activities with family or carers, which though very important is not the same as with friends and tends to not be in usual socialising hours or environment. While they will see a carer as a "friend", carers do move on and are less likely to keep up with the young person because they will have a new "client" to care for. Also with the carer/client relationship, whilst it might work well, is an imposed situation for people with learning disabilities and will rarely have the same enhancement to a persons life as a friend. The project gives members the opportunity to engage in a wide range of social and leisure interests with people their own age, both in one to one settings and in larger group outings. This helps build their confidence and social skills.

The peer mentors are professionally supported, gain the opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility and are able to engage in volunteering in a very meaningful way. While the peer mentors costs are reimbursed by the project (the members pay their own way) there is a significant outlay of time and effort. Peer mentors can count the voluntary effort towards character building awards such as Youth Achievement Awards and Saltire Awards. Another benefit arising from the project is that by exposing these young people and the general public to disability through peer mentoring activities, some of the prejudices surrounding it can be reduced.

The Charity is only dealing with the tip of the iceberg and many more disabled young people, who are perhaps less severely afflicted but no less isolated, are left without access to this type of support. We are not aware of any organisation in our area that offers similar opportunities to young adults with a disability.