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Padstow host their dream barbecue

The Padstow tenants looking sad and bored in their plain old gardenThere's more to life than just the bare necessities, a safe place to live, and physical well-being. These things are important, but what really makes us tick are our dreams, wishes, and the special times we share with the people that matter to us.

Supporting people with learning disabilities and autism is just as much about enabling people to have these experiences and to work towards their dreams, as it is about anything else.

This is where Brandon's Dream Fund comes in – 100% funded by donations, it just provides that little bit of extra help to make dreams a reality for the people we support. 

A perfect example is at our Padstow Foyer service in Cornwall. Tenants decided that they weren't happy with their current garden - see the picture they sent our Dream Fund panel to show us how boring they were finding it! They felt it was no good for socialising or even sitting and relaxing, meaning they couldn't invite people round to enjoy the weather. Because of this, the garden was hardly being used.

This might not seem like such a big deal, but people with learning disabilities tend to have much less opportunity for socialising compared to the general population. Mencap found that almost 1 in 3 people spend less than an hour outside their home on a typical Saturday, and Scope found that 85% of young disabled adults in the 18-34 age group feel lonely.* Having good opportunities to make connections and form friendships are essential to living a full and happy life.

Happy guests getting food under the gazebo at the Padstow BBQSo, with the help of the Dream Fund, the tenants have kitted out their garden with seating, parasols, gazebo and barbecue, and to celebrate the improved outdoor facilities they invited families, friends, and other people supported by Brandon to come and enjoy the heatwave with them.

Padstow team leader Eleanor Barrett said: "There were lots of smiles, laughter and dancing and I'm sure I saw some 'flossing'! There was a water fight going on too, but most of all, a great day was had by everyone.

"Thank you to everyone that attended and made the day truly memorable, and hopefully the tenants will organise another barbecue very soon."People sitting at picnic tables at the Padstow BBQ

As the good weather seems to be sticking around, we think that's pretty likely!

Could you help to make the dreams of people with learning disabilities and autism a reality? Find out how you can donate to our Dream Fund.

*See www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/research-and-statistics/friendships