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Avenues secures Big Lottery grant to launch new project ‘It Takes 2’

Avenues has been granted £300,000 by the Big Lottery to launch our new project, It Takes 2, which aims to match 100 people with learning disabilities with 100 people from the mainstream community who live locally and share an interest or passion.

It Takes 2 is a three year project funded by the Big Lottery Fund which will be managed by Community Futures on behalf of Avenues. The funds were awarded through the Reaching Communities programme, which supports projects that help people and communities most in need.

It Takes 2 will launch officially in the New Year once two community development workers have been appointed. The community development workers will work closely with people with learning disabilities, their support workers, community groups and associations and volunteer centres in their area to establish connections with local people.

The idea behind the project came from research carried out across Avenues, which found that people with learning disabilities had limited networks of people around them. The research found that many of the people we support spend lots of time with their family, paid support workers and other disabled people, but very few have many non-disabled friends. This research mirrors recent findings from the charity, Scope, which found that fewer than 1 in 5 non-disabled people (17%) say that they are friends with someone with a disability. 

The project will work with 100 people over three years across Bromley and Greenwich. People will be connected around things they like to do as peers, rather than on a basis of ‘disability’ or ‘volunteer’ labels. The project aims to build natural supports in people’s lives in the form of friendships that are based on mutual interests and exchange.

Avenues aims to involve people we support from the start so their lived experience and perspective ensure that people with learning disabilities are kept at the centre of the project at all times. Steve James, Avenues CEO said, ‘I am delighted that The Big Lottery Fund chose to fund It Takes 2. It’s a fantastic project that goes right to the heart of Avenues’ mission of challenging and overcoming the disadvantage people face through disability.”