The BEAM Community Hub came about as a direct result of our success up to that point. By 2007, it had become abundantly clear that we needed an outreach facility to accommodate two separate groups of adults with intellectual disability.
These groups were made up of:
– Those who had moved from successful Rehabilitation Training
– Those living in the Community who did not require such a strict learning environment
The Community Hub is an umbrella for a broad range of programmes and initiatives aimed at these key groups, maximising their participation in their respective communities, and focusing squarely on ability rather than disability.
Chapters is a post-training programme to support those who have completed their Rehabilitative Training, empowering them to take a full and active part in their community by making full use of what their area has to offer them
The focus of Chapters is not about full-time formal training, but is more about accessing their community with BEAM as a backup support.
Members involved in the Chapters programme develop their own PCP (Person Certified Plan) and staff support them to access activities in the community in line with the needs and wishes outlined in the PCP.
These activities range from attending courses in Muinebheag Vocational School, Bagenalstown Resource Centre or in BEAM. They also have the opportunity to access other areas such as the Library, Sports Clubs, attending Cookery Classes, Woodwork Classes etc.
Barrow Valley Enterprise Centre
Our Enterprise Centre looks to stimulate as much as possible a mainstream working environment, where members attend on given days during the week. The work undertaken is typically project-based, and all projects are based around not-for-profit organisations.
In this way, our members are actively helping their broader community through a range of diverse and interesting projects which foster effective team work.
The Enterprise Centre also offers members the opportunity to further expand the skills they have developed so far in their training. And as each project has a time period attached to it, members know in advance just how long the project will take.
Projects completed to date include a tourist brochure for Bagenalstown and an Autism Diary Cover. The Centre looks forward to helping out other community groups in need over the months and years ahead.
Embracing Assistive Technology in our training and development
As trainers and facilitators we are required to make use of strategies and resources that engage, motivate and encourage active participation and learning by all service users. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by embracing advances and developments in modern technology.
We refer to this as Assistive Technology, and it plays a huge role as to how BEAM will deliver future training and development. It is a more significant advantage for people with intellectual disabilities, as they can use assistive technology for their daily activities to a greater degree than the general population
It is vital that people with intellectual disabilities are able to benefit on an equal basis from the rapid development of ICT, to enable them to partake in an inclusive and barrier-free information society.
In particular, we draw on the benefits of e-Learning and m-Learning, both of which involve significant capital outlay, but this expense is more than offset by the savings in the implementation and delivery of training.
This is especially true when the training is to be delivered to a large and geographically diverse group of people, where huge savings can be made in travel cost alone.
Looking to the future, we may be able to deliver training to an even wider audience by offering course places to the broader community as well as our own members.
What is e-Learning?
Quite simply, e-Learning is electronic learning, and typically this means using a computer to deliver part, or all of a course whether it’s in a school, training centre, place of business or a full distance learning course.
e-Learning can be self-paced, asynchronous learning or may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. It is particularly suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but it can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used.
Key benefits include the ability to cater for a wider geographical area, while it can also be adapted very easily to develop personal and individualised programmes for members.
What is M-Learning?
The term M-Learning or Mobile Learning refers to the use of handheld devices such as smart phones, tablets and any other handheld information technology device that may be used in teaching and learning.
We can develop mobile learning in any number of formats, whether it be a short information video that can be watched on the mover, or an interactive app that utilises all of the functions of great e-learning.
We fully appreciate that e-Learning and m-Learning are not the sole answer to all member difficulties, and we recommend the implementation of blended learning e.g. a member who comes to the service one or two days per week for face to face contact with staff and other members, but works directly through an e-Learning or m-Learning process for the remaining three days.