Real Life Options’ David Wandless Training Bursary was established to support the good ideas of
RLO staff and to fund the development of skills and knowledge to provide real and measurable benefits to the lives of the people they support. Last year, RLO kindly made an additional Bursary award of £5,000 open to all member organisations of the Association for Real Change (ARC).

ARC member New Directions Rugby were successful with their application last year and were NewD-DWTBawarded £3,300 for training to support younger service users with the safe use of social media; particularly as they transition through changes in roles and expectations, new social lives and new relationships. New Directions is a vibrant and well established charity that supports adults with learning disabilities to live interesting and fulfilling lives. They provide a wide range of different types of care, tailored to the requirements of those who need it.

We spoke to Lorna Brindley, HR Manager at New Directions, who told us that now the training is in practice, feedback from the course has been really positive. ‘It was attended by staff from across the service, managers and a number of Trustees and many reported that it was the best course they had been on! Now that a few months have passed, it has been interesting to find out the longer term impact of the course.

Staff have fed back that they found the training excellent. The course was informative and it has reinforced how they are supporting service users. They commented on how well the trainer encouraged all attendees to participate and that she delivered the course in a positive and interesting manner. It provided a good opportunity for staff to discuss their approaches to supporting people, especially younger adults with staff from different services, so the sharing of knowledge and ideas has been very beneficial.’

Staff who have attended the training said:

I found the training really beneficial and it helped refresh my attitude towards how we support individuals we support to take positive risks in their life. With a lot of younger people now beginning to use our services it is important as a provider that we have a positive attitude and remain open minded about their wishes, aspirations and the choices they make

We have been able to use the guidance from the training as we have got a number of service users under 24 and a few have mobile phones, which we support them to use safely. We encourage younger people to make age related decisions and participate in activities that lots of people of a similar age would want to be doing

Photo: New Directions’ Doreen Woodward, Chief Executive (centre); Lorna Brindley, HR Manager (centre left) and Laura Nisbet, Registered Care Manager (centre right) with Anthea Sully (right) and Lisa Lenton (left) of ARC England.


ARC members Heart of England Mencap were one of ARC’s successful applicants – they were awarded £1,000 for Forest School training, to enable the people they support to vis0-2it forests and woodlands, learning personal, social and technical skills.

Heart of England Mencap began running their course in September 2015, and their teacher, Katie, has been learning all there is to know about Forest Schools! We caught up with Cath Errington (Fundraiser at Heart of England Mencap) who filled us on the great results of the project so far.

“We made contact with a local primary school, who have their own woodland, and kindly offered it to us to use for our sessions. We had an initial taster session there in January, run by the children, who shared their knowledge with our customers. The first session went really well, with the customers really engaging, and keen to do it again!” 

“Katie is absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity to do this training, and to adapt it so our customers can get the most out of the opportunities. Most of Forest Schools is aimed at primary age pupils, and so Katie has had to adapt the learning to suit the needs of our customers, and this will develop as she learns what works best over the next few months. We are still keen on getting our own space too, but for the moment, we will continue with using the school space while we trial it a bit more, and decide what we need!”

Thanks so much for the opportunity to try something new, which I think will really benefit our customers in the long term!”