Charity workers travel to Romania to share skills in learning disability support


A trio of charity workers will be heading to Romania to share their expertise in supporting people with learning disabilities.

Learning disability specialists Ben Ellis, Felicity Onens and Louise Bolton work for Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities. The team will be heading to Nicoresti in Eastern Romania to spend 5 days with staff at the charity Crosscause.

Crosscause is based in the town of Nicoresti in the east of the country. The 11-member team supports 16 young adults with learning disabilities, all of whom grew up in state orphanages.

The plight of Romania’s orphans first hit the headlines in the late 80s, when images of children living in appalling conditions were broadcast to the world. Now Ben, Felicity and Louise will be sharing their expertise with people working with one of the country’s most vulnerable groups.

“The staff are incredibly dedicated, but they have very little access to training,” says Ben. “We want to help by sharing what we’ve learnt about supporting people with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.”

All three previously trained as support workers, working alongside people with learning disabilities to help them live with as much independence as possible. Together they’ve equipped many UK-based support workers with the skills they need, but this will be the first time they’ve carried out training abroad.

“At Hft we practise Person-Centred Active Support, which means making sure the people we support are at the core of everything we do,” says Ben. ”It’s important that the individual has a say in how they live their life – whether it’s about the food they eat, the place they live, or what they do with their time.”

The trio will be running workshops on communication, safe handling techniques, and autism. They’ll also be looking at the looking at the triggers and consequences of challenging behaviour and how it can be managed.

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About Hft

Hft is a UK charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance

Subject: Staff & Volunteers

Location: National