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How to help Reach Learning Disability in Big Give Christmas Challenge

Posted onPosted on 2nd Nov

Reach Learning Disability, a charity that helps people with learning disabilities from bases in Mansfield, Southwell and Newark, is taking part in a special Christmas funding campaign to boost its online services.

Now it is asking people to join the Big Give Christmas Challenge, a national matched-funding scheme that doubles donations to charity for one week, from 1st to 8th December.

Reach is aiming to raise £40,000 towards its work to support people with learning disabilities to participate more fully in the online community and embrace the digital age.

Money raised through the Reach Learning Disability, My Place Online appeal will help fund online learning, social activities and resources delivered by expert staff to enable people with learning disabilities to feel confident to use online services safely ­— and help to reduce the risk of feeling lonely and anxious.

Maria Williams, Reach Mansfield centre manager, talked to one client, Matthew, and his mum, Gillian, about how Reach’s online services have made such a difference to them in recent times.

Before lockdown, Matthew attended Reach Mansfield several times a week.

“It has been brilliant to keep in touch with my friends from Reach Mansfield, but it has also been good to see other clients from Southwell and Newark who I usually only see on the Reach holidays,” he said.

“It has all helped with my independence when planning to be ready for the Zoom sessions.”

Gillian added: “Reach has been an absolute godsend. Lockdown has been isolating for all of us, but especially for Matthew as he isn’t able to go out on his own. The Reach Zoom sessions have given him an opportunity to carry on seeing his friends.”

Steve Shatwell, Reach chief executive, added: “We’ve all experienced isolation in some form this year. Sadly, for many people with learning disabilities the impact has been profound.

“We are asking people to support our Big Give Christmas Challenge and help us to expand our online support, courses and activities — and, of course, to help address loneliness and isolation in the coming year.”

During the Big Give Christmas Challenge, donations made online are matched by a national charity champion and local pledgers. This year Reach’s charity champion is the Monday Charitable Trust. Local pledgers include first4care, Mansfield Rotary Club, the Mary Robertson Trust and private individuals.

To get donations doubled, people need to go to the Big Give Christmas Challenge website — — from 12pm on Tuesday, 1st December to 12pm on Tuesday, 8th December and search for Reach Learning Disability, My Place Online appeal.

Alternatively go to for more details. For an e-mail reminder from Reach nearer the time, people can contact Laura on or 01636 819066.