Charlotte Crabtree, Development Manager, tells us more about KeyRing in Leeds.

Describe KeyRing in a paragraph
KeyRing works with people to help them live independent and interesting lives. We support people with things like finding a home, tenancy maintenance and budgeting; finding a job: leading a healthy life and connecting with their local community.

We really pride ourselves on the support that people who live in our networks give each other. We encourage people to give each other a helping hand and work really hard to make sure that KeyRing members are able to build friendships and access mutual support.

We are interested in building relationships with other Leeds based organisations so that we can share experience and look at ways to work in partnership in the future.

What is the background to KeyRing?
KeyRing was set up in 1990 by Carl Poll who asked people with learning disabilities what they wanted from life.  Frequently the response was ‘my own front door’.

From there Carl set up networks of support where people live in the community in their own home within walking distance of several other members.  The network model uses the skills of the local community, as well as volunteers, other members and paid staff.  This gives members are really good variety of support options whilst giving them the independence of their own front door.

What services do you provide?
We have three networks of support in Leeds with a central hub in Leeds city centre. New referrals to the service for people who need support to live independent lives are welcomed.

Who is on the team? (Staff and volunteers)

  • Development Team – Charlotte Crabtree
  • Management Team – Karen Tebbutt
  • Support workers – Tina, Trudy, Kelly, Elvis and Geoff
  • Volunteers – we are always on the lookout for volunteers

What is the best thing about your job?
My job is mainly about telling people what KeyRing do.  The best thing about it is letting KeyRing members do my job for me!  I can honestly say that a member telling how KeyRing changed their lives is 100 times more effective than my PowerPoint presentation!

I also enjoy meeting other organisations who share our ethos of building independence in vulnerable people.  I am currently looking to build our partnership networks as I firmly believe that we need to work more closely together in this sector than we ever have before.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Funding!  Part of my role is to find funding so that we can extend the services we provide.  This can involve lengthy bids and tenders which are not always successful.

If you had a super power what would it be and why?
Tricky one as I can definitely see the pros and cons of any super power.  I quite like the idea of teleportation.  Imagine, visiting anywhere in the world without the travel cost or time. I could also fit in lots more meetings!

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it?
I would give a posthumous award to Carl Poll who, at a time when focus was around the needs of people with learning disabilities, dared to ask what people actually wanted.

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Febraury 2016