Those with learning disabilities are disproportionately affected by the restrictions and new way of living. The Sunnybank Trust is helping to promote inclusion one radio show at a time.
The Sunnybank Trust is a charity that works with and for adults with learning disabilities across Surrey.
The charity provides a range of services including social clubs and activities, an advocacy service and a transition programme for young adults who have left education and are starting out in the world.
Operating for over 30 years, the charity continues to provide essential support in the community.
Before lockdown in the UK, Sunnybank’s first-hand experiences had shown that people with learning disabilities had to fight harder than anyone else to participate in everyday life.
Their members faced barriers at almost every turn; when shopping, making friends, visiting the GP, accessing the benefits system, navigating public transport, making sense of official letters filled with jargon, to name a few.
Since the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown swept the nation, it became evermore apparent that those with learning disabilities were disproportionately affected by the restrictions, COVID and the new way of living.
In April, a twice-weekly radio show aptly named Sunny Sessions was launched in collaboration with Surrey Hills Community Radio.
Through these shows, those isolated in the community are given an opportunity to connect with others, receive important information and advice in an easy-to-understand format as well as having some great songs and conversation along the way.
The launch of the Sunny Sessions radio show has been key in the charity’s aim to continue supporting the learning disability community throughout the pandemic.
The radio show’s weekly themes reflect the real issues experienced on the ground by the Sunnybank Advocacy team who support members daily with their healthcare, housing and financial needs.
A true collaboration that has allowed the Sunny Sessions show to deal with real issues in real time; the beating heart of the learning disability community.
Dorothy Watson, Sunnybank CEO, comments: “We have seen in these difficult times how those with learning disabilities have been forgotten.
“Through the Sunny Sessions shows, we have been able to inform our members of the important information needed to keep themselves safe in a way that is clear and understandable.
“It has been wonderful to see how the shows are growing thanks to the ideas and contributions from our members and wider. For some, it has been a real life-line when other essential support services and people have been withdrawn.”
Sunny Sessions DJ Jon Andrews says of the show: “I believe radio can and should be inclusive. I always like to find ways to involve the listeners through requests and shout outs as well as talking openly on air about disabilities and how it impacts their lives.”
With many people spending Christmas alone this year, the Sunny Sessions show will air on Christmas Day from 12 to 2pm, providing companionship to those who need it most. Tune in to the festive show to hear some truly special Christmas messages from a number of celebrity guests.
Listen to Sunny Sessions radio show every Monday and Thursday at 11am to 12 noon on Surrey Hills Radio. Listen to the Christmas Show on 25 December at 12 noon to 2pm.
For more information on The Sunnybank Trust, visit their website here!