A man who manages a programme which provides 27 different activities for more than 200 people with learning disabilities in Sussex has won a regional award for his leadership.
Bob Leeves, who works for learning disability support provider Outreach 3 Way, manages the Out There! Programme. The service provides sports and leisure sessions for people with learning disabilities in Crawley, Horsham, Burgess Hill, Worthing, Littlehampton, Ferring and Chichester.
Bob, who was announced as the winner of the Frontline Leadership category at the South East regional awards ceremony of the Great British Care Awards, is now in the running for scooping the national award in 2013.
“There are so many benefits for the people who attend the sessions. The activities have physical benefits but we are also able to reach people who have been isolated for a while. It’s very much about socialising and meeting new people too. We are there to help people as much as we can,” said Bob.
“Winning this award is great for myself, but it’s also absolutely brilliant for the whole team. If we didn’t have the regular volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to offer the activities we do. Coaches from leisure centres also help run sessions, which works really well. It’s definitely a team effort.”
The service offers 27 activities in 15 different sessions per week across Sussex, which about 230 people, aged 18 to 30, attend. Four full-time staff members run the programme alongside about 50 volunteers across the county. Current activities for people accessing the programme include swimming, cooking, horse-riding and arts/music.
Bob has worked for Outreach 3 Way, which is now part of national support provider Dimensions, for more than six years. At first, activities were run in the community and after a few months. In 2010, Bob and a team at Outreach 3 Way worked on a tender to widen services to the different locations where the programme currently operates.
Reflecting on how the service has grown, Bob, who is also a trained football coach, said: “It makes me feel really proud of what we have all managed to achieve here. It has been great that I have been able to use my passion for sport in this way.”
Bob, who was nominated for his dedication and skill makes a difference to the lives of hundreds of people with learning disabilities, also recently worked with the Special Olympics Board to set up a Special Olympics Club locally.
Simon Livesley, Operations Director for Outreach 3 Way, said he is pleased that Bob and the Out There! team have been recognised for their hard work. “The programme offers an invaluable service to people with learning disabilities in the Sussex area, opening up opportunities for people to take part in many activities and socialise in different settings.
“The Paralympics this year proved how inclusion in sports can have a positive impact on people’s lives. I’d like to congratulate Bob on winning the award and wish him luck for the national awards ceremony.”
Bob will attend the national awards ceremony next year, when he will find out if he has won the national accolade in the Frontline Leadership category.
For more information about the Out There! Programme, including the activities that run on a weekly basis, visit www.outreach3way.org/out-there-west-sussex