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Transformation Fund: Disabled learners

This is one of  9 supplementary reports about projects funded in 2009/10 as part of the Labour government's £20 million ‘Transformation Fund’ (TF) to support innovative informal adult and community learning projects across England. Each report captures  outcomes for different learners, in different settings, enagaged in all sorts of learning opportunities. More than a million people participated in a wide variety of learning activities.  

The fund received 1,416 applications and there were 314 successful projects, which comprised: 74 small projects with grants of £10,000 and under, 213 medium-sized projects with grants of £10,000–£100,000 and 27 large projects with grants of £100,000 and over.  

Ths publication explores projects for disabled learners. Some of the projects were aimed specifically
at engaging disabled people in lifelong learning. These projects targeted, among others, people with sensory impairments, mental health difficulties and acquired brain injury, as well as wheelchair users and
people along the autistic spectrum. Other projects engaged disabled people alongside their non-disabled peers, providing many examples of how bringing people together can break down barriers and promote social inclusion. The projects included:

  • museum clubs for people with learning disabilities 
  • painting and gardening for men with acquired brain injury 
  • hearingimpaired people working with instructors to make water sports accessible
  • a wheelchair dance group and
  • a theatre piece on bullying where professional artists worked with learning-disabled adults

Projects' evaluations shpowed that they contributed to people’s sense of wellbeing, and often to their mental and/or physical health.. The projects helped to cross divides and reach out to people, engaging traditionally hard-to-reach learners who would be unlikely to enrol on a course of formal learning

A separate document, The Transformation Fund on informal adult and community learning: The Projects, is also available to download. This contains a list of all 314 Transformation Fund projects, ordered by project code, project name (where relevant) and organisation. For the full set of supplementary reports see the NIACE website: http://shop.niace.org.uk/tf-summary.html.


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