One-O-Four, in The Hornet, was decked out in red balloons with drinks and canapes on arrival for the 100 guests made up of young adults and their parents and carers, as well as Think18 contractors and volunteers. Special guest Craig Gershater, bailiff to the City of Chichester, came on behalf of the mayor and welcomed everyone to the party and the charity’s trustees reflected on how far the charity had come since its launch in 2019. The highlight of the evening was the live performances from the young adults with learning disabilities, who treated the audience to Valentine’s-themed songs and dance from The Lion King and Bryan Adams. The uplifting finale was Adele’s Make You Feel My Love, with Bella Denison-Foster singing the lead and the young adults with learning disabilities singing and communicating in Makaton. Ticket sales, a raffle and sales of gifts made by the Think18 young adults raised £1,500 for the charity’s ThinkOut day service.
Run by Think18’s Hilary Freeborough and Louise Collins, ThinkOut aims to help young adults achieve their dreams through developing positive relationships with workplaces and local projects in and around Chichester, usually in the form of volunteer or work experience placements. The young adults have a weekly one-to-one mentoring session to explore how they feel and support with their next steps. Activities are designed to promote and develop effective communication, independent living skills, exercises to develop motor skills, strength and balance and a daily walk to enhance ‘green’ health and well-being. ThinkOut works closely with the Chichester Communuity Development Trust and other local communities.
Think18 supports young adults aged 16-35 with moderate to severe learning disabilities across West Sussex. The charity was founded in 2019 by Chiddingfold resident Tessa Denison when her daughter Rosie, who has Down Syndrome, turned 18 years of age. Tessa recognised a lack of social activities for those who are vulnerable in adulthood, so Think18 was formed to bridge the gap. Her hope is to expand to a national charity to reach out to more vulnerable young adults helping their self-esteem, confidence and adult development and ultimately to ‘make friends, have fun’.
If you are interested in a volunteer role with the charity or would like to make a donation then please email [email protected] for more information. If you have a ThinkOut opportunity within the community the charity would also love to hear from you.