Charity’s Move to Waterfoot Will Lead to Cafe Opening

by Catherine Smyth Media

A GROWING charity helping people with disabilities to live more independently will be opening a new café in the former Waterfoot Library.

Valley Supported Living , VSL, has been based in Bacup for 12 years, but in the summer will relocate to Bridge End House, the former library building.

The organisation helps people with learning and physical disabilities to make the transition from the family home to greater independence in homes of their own.

As well as a café – to be renamed The Bridge – the building will also provide office accommodation for VSL, with two additional offices for rent, and an advice centre.

Previously ‘Crystal Rocks Café,’ the charity has installed a new disabled toilet to ensure the facilities are now accessible for all.

VSL General Manager Martin Kemp said: “Being based in Futures Park we have been quite anonymous because no one really knew where we were, but that will all change when we move to Waterfoot.

“In our new building, we will have a direct link with the community through the café and we are looking for someone with considerable catering experience to run it.”

“We are hoping that the community will use the café as a meeting place and want to create an advice centre bringing together expertise on matters such as benefits, care funding and personal budgets, as well as home adaptations.”

It was in 2003 when a group of parents, each with a child with a learning disability, that were approaching adulthood, had a vision for a service to help their children live more independently, in high-quality housing in their local communities.

The charity currently supports seven people in three properties throughout Rossendale and although currently small in number, the service users have a diverse range of needs arising from disabilities including

cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and acquired brain injuries.

VSL tailors the support package to the needs of the individual in order to maximise choice and promote independence; with support ranging from a couple of hours per day to round the clock care, as appropriate.

The charity can provide support with all aspects of daily living, such as personal care, administering medication, cooking and light cleaning duties, assistance with budgeting and managing money and facilitating leisure activities and even holidays for those it supports.

Martin added: “Our strategic plan is to double the size of our core business over the next three years we hope to create another 10 to 15 jobs.

“Several of the adults we support carry out voluntary work, from dog walking at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, to helping in charity shops and garden maintenance services.

“We are keen to partner with other people/organisations to extend the range of voluntary opportunities available to our service users and others with learning disabilities, whilst providing valuable services for the benefit of the local community.”

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