'Small Sparks' Many people with disabilities find it hard to engage with their local community, partly due to a lack of awareness and understanding, which can lead to people living lonely and isolated lives. We believe that it is vital for people with disabilities to access their community, build relationships and have the same opportunities as everyone else which is why we set up Small Sparks. But we need your help to keep it going and provide more life changing opportunities for the people we support. Small Sparks allows individuals to get involved in organising projects, becoming active members of their communities; whether by setting up a community gardening scheme, starting a car valeting business, or establishing a community choir. John, supported by United Response at our service in Ipswich, has a passion for recycling and gets a real sensory experience from taking glass bottles to the local recycling centre. Thanks to Small Sparks, John was able to set up his own local recycling round collecting glass from his neighbours. Julie, manager of the Ipswich service, says: ‘John loves the act of recycling and he has got to know his neighbours much better. People now take the time to talk to him if they see him, and one even sought him out at the local shop to ask if he would take her bottles too.’ John is making friends and lasting relationships, providing a valuable community service and supporting the environment – all at the same time. Another one of our services in York hosted a sign language event in their local community. The workshop was such a success they were approached by a local primary school to run two paid sign language workshops for them. Two members of staff and three people we support ran the training and hope to turn it into a sustainable project that will aid communication and increase the confidence to talk to others in the community. Projects like these, made possible by Small Sparks, are incredibly valuable and have had an enormous and lasting impact not only on the lives of people we support but amongst the local community too; forging many new and long lasting relationships.