Four tenants at a specialist care and support setting in Coulby Newham near Middlesbrough have been enabled by specialist social care provider ubu to undertake rewarding voluntary work.
33-year-old Mark Buckton, who has learning disabilities, is indulging his love of animals with work at Ormesby Hall police stables, Upsall Hall Rural Centre and Newham Grange Country Farm.
As well as working with the Cleveland Police horses at Ormesby Hall, Mark helps with an assortment of animals at Newham Grange, including llamas and reindeer.
Mark is assisted by the ubu team to undertake a number of tasks including feeding and cleaning out the animals. Dennis Nassau, Doung Phan, both 63 with learning disabilities and who require a high level of support for day to day activities, have recently started voluntary roles at Fairy Dell Park.
Fairy Dell Park is a wooded beck and park on the southern edge of Middlesbrough; the area is a mix of natural woodland, laid out parkland, ornamental lake and flood defences lakes. The work requires Dennis and Doung to wear high visibility fluorescent jackets, which makes them feel very important, and they use a litter picker. A third tenant, John Britton, who is 57 and has Down’s syndrome, has recently joined Dennis and Doung working at Fairy Dell Park.
Middlesbrough Council's adult care team has supported the initiative and provided the high visibility jackets and litter picking scoops. ubu's aim is to help people to live as independently as possible so they can gain confidence, self-belief and make a valuable contribution to society. It supports over 100 people within the Tees Valley area. Christine Skelton, ubu team leader, said: "It is fantastic that all four tenants have found rewarding voluntary work. "Mark has shown real enthusiasm for his role with the animals, and Dennis, Doung and John have blossomed since they began working at Fairy Dell.
All four have much more confidence and self-worth. We are very grateful to everybody who has contributed to making this happen. "ubu is all about helping vulnerable people in all aspects of their lives and enabling them to live a valuable life within their community and this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved." Cllr Michael Hudson, Independent Councillor for the Coulby Newham ward said: "This project has shown that like any other citizens of Middlesbrough, people with learning disabilities can have an active role in maintaining and protecting their own community. "The staff are excellent and are a very dedicated working team. I would like to thank all those involved for their support and wish them the very best for the future."