What the VALUES project means to clients and their caregivers

VALUES is one of VAL's core projects and over the last 22 years has supported hundreds of people with learning disabilities in Leicester and Leicestershire. We asked the project's clients what they thought about VALUES and what it means to them.

VALUES support comes in the form of weekly sessions covering activities such as sports, arts, cooking, social and leisure activities, support to volunteer and to find employment. We also provide travel training, to help people learn to get to their activities.

We have a sandwich kiosk run by people with a learning disability with support from staff and VALUES also runs several clubs that are open to those who have support from other organisations or that can attend independently, such as discos and sports clubs run in association with Leicester Tigers.

My son has been attending groups at VALUES for several years now and during that time has become one of the family. He is always fully supported and has a lot of fun whilst also learning important life skills and socialising with young people of his own age which he is unable to do at home. He has learnt an awful lot and as a parent I am able to leave him there knowing that he is safe and secure. If there are any issue they are always dealt with quickly and I am always informed about what has happened.

There are several support staff that have been at VALUES for many years and the continuance and knowledge of the support that they can offer to people with different difficulties has to be some of the best that I have seen.

I am very grateful to everyone at VALUES for their support over the years, not just to my son but also to me. They have been a lifeline for me on many occasions and I would be lost without them. Let’s hope for another 20 years!

Parent of a VALUES client

What would our clients be doing without us?

A person with learning disabilities smiling at a table with a pie they cooked

Farzana says she started coming to VALUES “because I was so bored at home, nothing to do… VALUES “is so nice, I enjoy it”.

Callum told us that he’s not enjoying his lockdown: “(I am) bored and fed up… I want to get back to VALUES”. He is missing being supported to go to the gym or do cooking.

I used to be at home a lot before I started at VALUES. I was often nervous and anxious but now I have more confidence. People have said to me that I have come out of my shell more.

VALUES has made me more independent and have taught me how to get to my volunteering. I’d like to come to VALUES more.

Diane, VALUES client

Confidence is a common outcome

VALUES runs a sandwich kiosk, the Sandwich Station, which is open to the public and run by people with a learning disability with support from the staff. Kayley says “Working in the shop is building my confidence. It’s helping getting me ready for moving to supported living.”

Kayley is building up the confidence to make her own sandwiches when she moves away from her family home to her own flat – a big step for her given her Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and visual impairment.


People with learning disabilities performing on stage in a pantomime
Damien front and centre of the drama group


Damien has been attending the VALUES drama session since it started 10 years ago. He still spends rehearsals in the corner, too shy to speak out much and hardly even looking at anyone. But once a year during their annual performance to staff and family members Damien stands on stage and sings and dances, looking like the most confident man in the world.

Since Chanee has been volunteering at VALUES she has become more positive & her confidence has grown immensely she has learnt new skills from this she now has her first paid job, she is now employed by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire as a Kitchen Cleaner, which has made her feel independent and a lot more confident having her own earned money.

It also gives her a sense of responsibility by being part of a team (a member of staff), she has also made new friends and she says that she is having fun, which if Chanee is happy then that makes me happy.

Mother of Chanee, VALUES client

Nowhere else to go?

Many of the people we have supported over the years have been able to become independent in their volunteering role or even employed role. However, for most, ongoing support is imperative.

One example of the need for ongoing support for all activities is John (not his real name), who has Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome. Without the specialist interventions that we provide, referred to as Positive Behaviour Strategies, John’s behaviour is aggressive and he is unable to attend parties and other large gatherings.

John’s dream was to meet Leicester Tigers’ player Harry Wells. Thanks to our interventions he was able to do this at the launch of our sports club earlier this year, surrounded by dozens of people.

VALUES is good because it helps me to stay out of trouble, I have been a part of VALUES for 8-9 years! And VALUES is good with learning skills that might help in the future which will give you confidence!

Before I joined VALUES I had no friends but now I have a lot of more friends! The support is great! I enjoy the activities! If I didn’t have VALUES then I would be in my house!

Tom, VALUES client

Added value

A person with learning disabilities smiling and driving a canal boat

In addition to the weekly activities VALUES runs, we love to go on day trips, have parties and even go on holiday together.

We run fundraising events to try and include our clients on a low income, such as Lee who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go on holiday or drive a boat!

If VALUES wasn’t here

VALUES makes me feel like I have the confidence to do what I want to do, without VALUES support I don’t think I would have the confidence to do different activities within the community or by myself.
Bhavin, VALUES client
I would be stuck if I did not have VALUES.
Divyesh, VALUES client

More about VALUES

Find out more about the VALUES support service, the kinds of sessions they offer and how you can get involved.

Find out more