The John Graham Centre –providing indoor and outdoor activities and opportunities for adults who have a learning disability.
Established in 2003, The John Graham Centre based on a farm in the village of Blean just outside Canterbury provides a warm and welcoming day service both indoors and outdoors for adults with learning disabilities.
- THE FARM - helping to look after all the farm animals, sheep, pigs, cows, goats, donkeys, plus small animals- chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs.. Learning the care needed – feeding regimes, exercise, grooming, cleaning out and making new beds in the animal houses. For many people, getting to know animals and working with them instills great personal satisfaction, feeling valued, helping to develop /improve expressive speech and communication skills, confidence and a general feeling of wellbeing.
- HORSE RIDING – a small riding arena gives opportunity for horse riding indoors, plus outdoors in fields and woodland under the supervision of a qualified instructor. Also learning the overall care of the horse, feeding, grooming, leading horses in and out to grazing . Stable management, care of equipment, cleaning tack learning to clean out the stable and make a clean bed for the horse.
- GARDENING – large areas for learning about growing vegetables and flowers. Very therapeutic and rewarding activity for many people, helping to learn the importance of vegetables in our diet, learning new skills, working in a team or individually. Also, opportunity to join a small community gardening group helping local residents.
- LOGGING – helping a local farmer in the village to bag up logs, meeting new people, integrating in the local community.
- SWIMMING – in Faversham, Herne Bay, Whitstable public swimming pools – regular weekly sessions very much enjoyed. Again, integrating locally, developng/maintaining social skills, team building exercises.
- FOOTBALL- joining organized Group to participate in courses organized by the Go Ability Trust and run by the KFA at Polo Farm Sports Centre in Canterbury with qualified football coaches.
- SOME OTHER ACTIVITIES – may include - Travel training – individual or group, depending on need. Crabbing – dependent on weather and tides, very popular, much enjoyed social time in community. Outings – visiting places of interest locally – we have complimentary passes to Canterbury Cathedral. Spring /Summer – Cycling -we have our own cycles/tricycles plus we may cycle with a local club in Canterbury, using organised cycle tracks.
- COOKING – a large well-equipped kitchen gives opportunity to gain or further develop skills – preparation of food, cooking, learning about good and not so good foods to eat, gaining confidence and increasing independence in health and safety in the kitchen. Small groups of 4 to 6 or individual support, depending on ability. All take part, discuss planning, developing individual portfolios to refer to or share with family/friends.
- ART AND CRAFT – very popular department, creative and therapeutic. Group or individual projects, depending on choice. Good socialising skill development, hand eye coordination, team building, helping each other, developing friendships, gaining confidence and progressing independence skills.
- MUSIC AND DANCE – always popular, encourages personal expression, fun sessions, choices, aids personal development/confidence, mobility. Opportunity to take part in dance projects organised locally in partnership with The Go Ability Trust.
- SIGNING CLASSES – classes held weekly in Makaton/BSL signing popular sessions, fun and learning in the further development of communication skills
- LITERACY – for those who wish to further develop reading and writing skills, individual or small group sessions held weekly
The John Graham Centre is a family run independent enterprise working closely with students, their families, professionals, voluntary bodies and the local community.
Prior to attendance a taster day is offered free of charge, this enables the prospective student to get the feel of the Centre and is an opportunity for staff to assess the level of ability and support that will be required.
Health and safety is paramount, staff must complete a high level of Core Training plus specialist courses as required. All staff have enhanced DBS plus two referees prior to commencing their employment.
The John Graham Centre has a full-time health and safety officer on site plus a full-time quality assurance manager.
The John Graham Centre is both progressive and forward looking, the inclusion of skills for life is present in every activity that we do – social skills, communication, speech development, self-confidence, self-value, the well-being of each student is paramount. During 2018 each student with support of staff will be developing/updating their personal portfolio for their own reflection on goals achieved, plus providing evidence that they can share with friends/family/professionals of their very valued progress along the life-skills pathway.
The Centre’s mini buses can collect adults with learning disabilities from:
- Herne Bay