by Carole Hodgson
Hello, I'm Carole Hodgson, I've worked for MacIntyre for 14 years and I lead on the MacIntyre Inspired 4 Training (i4t) group in Chesterfield.
I4t is part of the Lifelong Learning provision here. The group has been active for almost 15 years and we still have a couple of the original members with us. We’ve got staying power up here in Chesterfield!
Valuable skills and experience
The aim was to establish a group of people who, with support, train others. These will include staff teams, others who have a learning disability, external partners and organisations. The group demonstrates that people with a learning disability have training skills and extremely valuable experience to offer.
You may have seen social media posts about our work with organisations outside MacIntyre, including Beyond Words, National Trust and more recently our local hospice, Ashgate Hospice. We meet once a week and pack loads of things into our sessions! The group recognise that they have to commit to regular attendance and without exception, that commitment is given.
I joined i4t in 2012, having gained an educational qualification through MacIntyre, which helped prepare me for the planning and training aspect of the role.
A learning curve
I have to confess I didn’t really know a lot about i4t, I was a support worker in a Lifelong Learning hub. But I like a challenge and this certainly was one of those. I hadn’t been a trainer before and it was a bit of a learning curve!
The i4t team to me are what MacIntyre is all about. They and their work follow every strand of MacIntyre's DNA.
They challenge themselves to create the workshops we deliver, using their endless creativity. The group may need some support, but essentially the workshops are all their own work.
One of our most requested workshops is Great Interactions and because the team think that the best way to have learn is by having fun, they decided a game is the best way forward. That game is Snakes and Ladders so they set about making a giant Snakes and Ladders board!
Improving by learning
Everyone takes part in the workshops and we have feedback sessions when we regularly learn what we can do differently
The team want their work to be seen by as many people as possible.
I took on the lead of the group in 2021 following the previous leader's retirement, and now work with colleague Donna Wardle.
I think we are doing well. At a recent workshop, one of the attendees, the mother of a young lady with Down Syndrome, gave us this feedback:
Seeing the work that the i4t group do gives me hope that there are great things out there for my daughter to be involved with!
We’ll take that!
But enough from me. Who better to tell you about Inspired 4 Training than Allan, Connor, Kim, Lisa and Paige: