Sutton Support Services was born out of several requests from families following a decision made by Mencap to close their Gateway Leisure Clubs and consequently reduce their Gateway Award Programme. Many participants and their families were naturally concerned for their future progress. It was clear that no provision had been made available to those participants living in Sutton Coldfield and still working towards their Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards. This consequently meant that the team responsible for working on the awards in Sutton Coldfield were made redundant.
As a result of this, two redundant staff, both already running groups for people with disabilities in East View House in Sutton Coldfield, carried out extensive research into the services available at the time. The author and instigator of the Gateway Award Millie Lewis and Karl Newitt, Chairman of the New Horizons Leisure Project, who ran one of the biggest Gateway Award groups in the Midlands based in Mere Green Sutton Coldfield.
Between them Karl and Millie have a wealth of knowledge of working with both youth groups and with people with Learning Disabilities in Sutton Coldfield. Millie was for many years the Special Needs Advisor to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award nationally. In addition to this Millie worked with the Rank Foundation monitoring one of their funding projects. Karl was also responsible for starting up groups in Castle Vale and Sutton Coldfield, Poland and Romania particularly where he was introducing and developing the concept of volunteering in order for people to work with disabilities.
With their extensive pool of knowledge and experience they decided to invest their redundancy pay in setting up a new service that would fill the gap and at the same time provide a foundation for personal growth, the aim being not to seek out opportunities but to create them. At the same time support was needed for those participants working on their awards in order for them to complete. And so Sutton Support Services was created and set out to do all this.
Sutton Support Services
Wylde Green Community Hall
Tel: +44 0121 377 7507+44 0121 377 7507