The Elfrida Society is a long established charity working with people with learning disabilities. It is named after Elfrida Rathbone, who was born in Liverpool in July 1871 and worked in London. She was a pioneering champion of the rights of people with learning disabilities. The Society works to the values of trust, care, choice and opportunity, which reflect the principles that underpinned Elfrida Rathbone's work. We not only provide vital services and projects for people with learning disabilities, but also employ them, and two of our current trustees have learning disabilities. People with learning disabilities are fully involved in our policies and projects, and how the projects are run.
Our mission is ‘To Connect People, Make Lives Happier and Have Fun! – Working with People with Learning Disabilities'.
At the Elfrida Society, we provide services to help with seven main parts of life. This is based on what people who have Learning Disabilities have told us is most important to them:
These are the parts of life we provide help and support with:
Our services lead to good 'outcomes' for people with learning disabilities. We deliver services working towards 7 key outcome areas which relate to all 7 parts of life:
A good outcome is 'what people get' out of having a service, something that makes a positive difference to life. It might be one outcome or more than one outcome.
For example, a good outcome might be having good 'information and advice' about rights.
Outcomes people get from our services which relate specifically to the parts of life we provide help and support with are:
All our projects deliver these services in different ways, we make sure they all result in good outcomes through monitoring and evaluation processes:
Our work matters because people with learning disabilities are largely segregated from people who do not have learning disabilities, excluded from opportunities for connecting with others and do not have equality of opportunity to much of what society has to offer. We raise awareness of the needs of people with learning disabilities and of discriminatory practices, systems and social structures which pose barriers to inclusion. We work with people with learning disabilities individually and collectively to challenge barriers, create alternative solutions and develop opportunities for increasing social inclusion and the development of skills, confidence and self-esteem.
Elfrida is an organisation with a vision for a better world, social justice and equality of opportunity.
To achieve this we work in the following ways:
Our work is informed by the social model of disability, underpinned by key legislation including the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equalities Act 2010
The social, political and economic context in which we are working creates significant challenges for organisations like ours to survive and thrive.
To achieve our aims, we must act with integrity, know what to expect from each other as colleagues and what we should do when things do not go as we hope or expect.
This is how we work with each other:
The Society's activities include:
Highlights of the last year include:
- Collaborating with local schools, colleges, employers and Mencap to pilot a new approach to facilitate, and support, young people in securing successful work placements. The programme was led by a steering group of young people with learning disabilities, who made a series of short films to represent their experiences and that of their peers.
- Securing long term funding from Middlesex County Cricket Club to run weekly cricket sessions, making cricket, and the multiple benefits that physical activity brings, more accessible for people with learning disabilities.
- Co-producing drama performances and contributing towards short films in partnership with ‘Mind The Gap’ professional theatre group, providing the opportunity for partipants to develop skills and experience in creative projects.
- Collaborating with other Elfrida organisations to co-host a centenary celebration event at the House of Lords in November 2016 to recognize the breadth, variety and longevity of Elfrida Rathbone's legacy.
- Working with and advocating the right of families with learning disabilities, in particular parents, to enable them to enjoy a family life everyone is entitled to and the wellbeing and confidence that provides.