This Learning Disability Week, Healthwatch Portsmouth are proud to be raising awareness of a Portsmouth-based social enterprise, that enables, supports and trains young people with learning disabilities into sustainable pathways of employment.

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is defined by the Department of Health as a “significant reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), which started before adulthood.”

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There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Approximately 2.16% of adults in the UK are believed to have a learning disability and approximately 2.5% of children in the UK are believed to have a learning disability.

People with a learning disability are less likely to have a job than the general population.

The statistics on this are that:

  • 6% of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in England are in paid work
  • 17% of all adults with a learning disability in England are in paid work
  • 52% of people aged 16 to 64 with any type of disability in Great Britain are in paid work
  • 76% of people aged 16 to 64 in the general population in England are in paid work

Lily & Lime LD

We wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a social enterprise that supports the learning disabilities community right on our doorstep. We spent some time with Lily & Lime LD Training Manager Chris Hillman, and Staff Member Ewan, to talk about the importance of raising awareness of learning disabilities, and the brilliant work that they are doing to support and train people with learning disabilities into sustainable pathways of employment.

We asked Chris, what is Lily & Lime LD?

“Lily & Lime LD is a not-for-profit social enterprise located on the 3rd floor of the central Library in Portsmouth Guildhall. Lily & Lime LD was established in 2015, we opened in Portsmouth in the November, and we hold sites across the city. We are one of many workstreams in the organisation who continue to train, enable, and support young adults with a learning disability or an additional need to sustainable pathways of employment.”

This Learning Disability week, can you tell us about the importance of raising awareness of learning disabilities?

“I think organisations like ourselves and some of the other organisations in the city, are working really hard to provide opportunities for people with learning disabilities, and with opportunities awareness creates itself. Our main aim here, is to help our team to thrive and not just survive.”

Lily & Lime LD was established to help create and develop pathways into the world of work for people with learning disabilities, while raising awareness and allowing our team members and trainees to showcase their talents and abilities. By doing this they are proving to companies and organisations around the city, that they can thrive and not just survive in the workplace. We hope that by attaining work and financial independence, it can be a real strive towards independence in other aspects of their lives and allow them to feel like an important part of society, that we all know that they are.”

Can you tell us about the people who work here?

“We currently have 17 staff, 3 part time employed staff, 2 on an apprenticeship programme, with 4 starting in September. Our youngest team member is 14 and our oldest is 67. The day-to-day range of duties are to run the facilities to the best of their abilities. We have individual learning plans, catering training, barista training and food prep, along with independent support skills, such as money management and how to change a lightbulb. Our perfect goal as a management team is to sit back and watch the team thrive.”

Meet Ewan!

Ewan is a staff member at Lily & Lime LD, who has been working here for 4 months. He is a budding actor and loves interacting with the customers.

“I have been working hard. I like to go out with my mum and dad, and I also like coming to work to see my friends again because it’s been a very long time since I saw my friends.”

Ewan, what do you like about Lily & Lime LD?

“It is a café but it’s a social enterprise where we want people to be safe, it’s about who we are as a community and what we do for everybody. It is good to see our customers back and to see them face to face again and happy.”

What is your favourite drink to make Ewan?

“My favourite drink to make is a hot chocolate.”

What would you say to people who are in Portsmouth and fancy a hot chocolate?

“To come to Lily & Lime LD and if I made them a hot chocolate, it would be special, for example if it was summer, I would make some decorations with their drink.”

Lily & Lime LD are open 10am -3pm Monday – Friday and are located on the 3rd Floor, Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, PO1 2DX.

You can contact the Lily & Lime LD team via:

Phone Number: 02392 345674

Email Address: info@lilyandlime.org.uk