Interns with learning disabilities and autism in North Wales donate to local NHS COVID-19 Response Fund

A group of interns from Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH, a transition to employment programme, have donated funds to support the North Wales NHS COVID-19 Response Fund. 

Interns from the programme that supports young people with learning disabilities and autism into employment, have donated to the Awyr Las charity to support the fund. 

Changing lives 

The Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH site at Ysbyty Gwynedd is an innovative partnership that began in 2017, helping to change the lives of young people with learning disabilities in North Wales with the support of the NHS. 

DFN Project SEARCH programmes across the UK are a way of helping people with learning disabilities get long term careers as well as helping businesses form a more inclusive workforce. Today it is running over 60 UK schemes and has supported more than 1000 young people into work.

The interns, who are based at Ysbyty Gwynedd, part of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, raised the money through fundraising efforts during the programme towards the project’s graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, the ceremony was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Instead, the money raised will now go towards supporting frontline NHS colleagues and patients, helping in the fight against COVID-19. 

Claire Cookson, CEO at DFN Project SEARCH, says: “With programme graduations being more challenging this year, it’s truly heart-warming to see our programme partners and interns turning the situation into a positive by donating and helping to make a real difference to support the fight against the current global pandemic.”


The interns’ charity donation will be used to purchase items for both patients and staff: Including items for wobble rooms and hospital wellbeing areas; games to help patients stay active on wards; hospital volunteer expenses; help towards the staff wellbeing and support service created when lockdown first began.

Angela Kenvyn, Engage to Change project manager, says: “Although things feel different this year for everyone, it’s great to see the team come together and do what they can to support the community, and we hope the donation will make it a little easier for frontline NHS staff, patients and local community get through the crisis.”

The contribution will also help to buy wellbeing boxes and rainbow packs for dementia patients and mental health service in the community, along with important equipment including blood pressure machines for heart failure patients having to isolate at home, and additional kit for providing training for re-deployed nursing staff and care home staff.

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