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On the 2nd and 3rd October, the Getting a Life (GAL) programme really got going in Norfolk. Thirteen young people and families met in Norwich and Dereham to find out more about the programme and talk about what they want to do in their lives.

Group Photo

They met Linda Jordan and Nicola Gitsham (GAL programme managers) who described the purpose of the programme. They were also joined by Helen Goddard (GAL lead, Norfolk) and Christine Burke and Jill Davies from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD) who spoke about their plans for the young peoples’ workshops.

Thirteen families met over the two days, and it was great to meet the young people, and their mums and dads. The young people and their families worked out what needs to happen to create a meaningful outcome from the Getting a Life programme.

The meetings showed that young people know what they want and have many different dreams, including:
Staying in a pub with friends
Being a film-maker
Being a postman
Having their own restaurant

Families talked about their dreams as well, which included things like travelling the world, going skiing, getting a more interesting job and having more freedom to do what they want.

The young people and their families also mapped out the things that get in the way of having a full life. These were:
People were experiencing discrimination within the social care system and in mainstream society.
Two young people were denied the opportunity to work or do voluntary work due to ‘Health and Safety’ reasons.
Not having a voice
Young people’s aspirations are not being listened to or taken seriously. This led one person to not having the work experience he would like to do.
Lack of person centred planning
Few young people had plans and most people at the meetings had not heard of this approach.
Lack of information
Families do not always get all the information about the options available, how the process works and what is available locally during transition.

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website © Getting A Life 2009

New beginnings in Norfolk