Whilst societal attitudes towards disabilities are improving, there is still a long way to go, and this has been proven in spades this week.Touch Trust is a charity which has been running since 1996, and has been a safe and treasured haven for those with disabilities for the past 19 years. This week, the Arts Council came to the decision that they were moving away from supporting individuals with special needs, and withdrew the funding for the one place that these people can go to and be treated like equals.
About Touch Trust
Touch Trust provides life changing therapy to individuals with conditions such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder as well as those who are unable to see, hear or speak. Using therapy which revolves around touch, the session workers are able to encourage the guests to use their senses which has an amazing response. Using music vibrations allows the deaf to experience music and the encouragement to interact with different materials awakens all sorts of wonderful feelings in the individuals that they would not have been exposed to at home.
Touch Trust provides both one to one therapy as well as group sessions to all who seek to take a trip there once a week and have fun. This has led to friendships being built, calming of violent behaviour and has worked wonders for improving social skills.
Why is Touch Trust so Important?
In recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the levels of acceptance when it comes to those with disabilities. However, there are still very few opportunities for those with disorders such as severe ASD to engage in activities outside of their homes in an environment which has been specifically designed for them. Even then, these spaces are usually focused at improving the quality of life for children diagnosed with such disorders as opposed to adults. Touch Trust has devoted every inch of its space to ensuring that the environment is friendly and enriching in order to ensure that the guests are being constantly stimulated and kept comfortable at all times.
Many of the individuals who attend rely on Touch Trust as part of their weekly routine – it is a safe zone for them, where they can get away from carers who are with them 24/7 – and without it there could be huge consequences for the mental health of all those who frequent the centre. If Touch Trust is forced to close they will be losing the one place that they can go to free themselves from the constraints of their conditions, and will also be losing those that they consider friends.
How Important is Touch Trust for the Families?
Looking after individuals with severe disabilities can be incredibly time consuming and draining on the body. Every waking moment for many of these carers is devoted to ensuring that the individual in their care is looked after and cared for to the fullest extent of their capacity. This often means that jobs have to be sacrificed, and a lot of time is taken away from others in their families, be it children, spouses etc. Touch Trust provides families with the opportunity to take a break to focus on themselves – to buy the food they need for the week, to take their other children to lunch or the Cinema (where they can focus solely on them and give them the much needed attention that they also require), or even to get a haircut. All basic tasks that families without these constraints take for granted.
How Can I Donate?
You can donate to keep Touch Trust open here. Every donation is important and will help to ensure that the staff are able to continue doing the life changing work that they do. Even a minimal amount will go such a long way and could mean the difference between saving this charity or losing it.