All of us have struggled with the impacts of Covid-19 on our lives, but for people with learning disabilities, who can feel isolated at the best of times, it has been especially hard. Here at Blue Apple - a Hampshire charity which transforms the lives of people with learning disabilities through drama, dance, singing and film - it’s been a time of sudden changes, as we have adapted and moved our regular groups into online sessions. This has ensured our members with learning disabilities can continue to safely access and enjoy all the personal benefits they get from arts activities.
Despite now being online, our sessions are the highlights of many people’s weeks - brothers Harry and Archie from Winchester are enjoying our drama and singing classes. Their mum Lizzie told us: "You are all doing the most amazing job and I appreciate it, the boys love it and it gives me enormous pleasure seeing them so happy and engaged. Thank you."
However, we are concious that there are a lot of other people with learning disabilities who have not had the benefit that participation in our activities has brought. It has been particularly tough for young people who are still in full-time education - they have missed the vital social interaction of friends and participating in group activities.
With your support we will pilot an online summer school for young people aged 15 to 18 with learning disabilities. Over the course of what would normally be the long summer break from school, we will offer two mornings per week of drama, singing and dance all delivered online by our experienced and engaging facilitators. This will also mean that nobody is limited by the ability of being able to travel to a session.
Who are we?
Founded in 2005 and based in Winchester, Blue Apple is an inspirational and ambitious theatrical company that supports performers with learning disabilities to develop and present high quality productions for the widest possible audiences – performing and touring theatre, dance and film within a variety of large and small scale venues around Hampshire and the southern regions, as well as nationally and internationally.
Blue Apple is committed to the development of integrated and progressive opportunities within the arts for people with learning disabilities, to raise the ceiling of expectation and advocate for the development of a more inclusive and equal society. The increase in confidence gained through stage performances has helped Blue Apple participants to enhance their social, personal and artistic skills and achieve public recognition for their talents.