Easing fears and finding friends

A day of team building activities at the Frank Chapman Centre has been the latest initiative to help friendships blossom for The Albion Foundation's Disability participants.

The trip aimed to increase confidence, communication skills and ability to work in a team for the students.

"With their disabilities, a lot of the pupils find it hard to find friends, let alone make conversation with people," said Ajay Gill, a Disability Coach at The Albion Foundation.

"The whole day is about building relationships and building their confidence."

The charity's partnership with Sandwell College and Bristnall Hall Academy has allowed peers to coach one another in order to share life experiences and help the youngsters on their journey.

"There is so much that they can take back from this," said Hindi Lal, a teacher at Bristnall Hall Academy.

"A lot of them have problems socialising, so it is really good for them as they are making friends, learning new skills, and learning how to work alongside each other."

The sports course that the students at Sandwell College attend wouldn't have previously been available to pupils of their ability, with the course aiming to boost their core employability skills.

"Learners at this level have never had the chance to get onto sports courses because they wouldn't get into mainstream," said Steven Poole, a lecturer at Sandwell College.

"The course will have done wonders for their confidence and self esteem and they are putting skills into practice in a working environment that people in the past have thought they are not capable of doing."

The partnership has blossomed as hoped, with the teenagers expanding their friendship groups and enjoying each others' company.

"It's very nice to be working with friends that I don't see everyday at school," said Harry Sheppard from Bristnall Hall Academy.

"My friendship group is bigger and I have added them on Playstation so I have more people to speak to."

The students from the College have also assisted at the Foundation's SEN, Secondary School and Easter Festival throughout the time of the course.

"I have improved my confidence, communication and skills working in a team," said Shane Jones, a student at Sandwell College.

To find out more about The Albion Foundation's partnership with Sandwell College and Bristnall Hall Academy, please contact