What is advocacy, does it matter? Enjoy this welcome from David Nesbitt, co-Founder of The Nesbitt Centre and a brief introduction to our programme, centre, social enterprises and impact.
Welcome from David Nesbitt, co-Founder of the Nesbitt Centre
We are delighted to welcome you to our new website with this very first blog post!
After 26 years of The Nesbitt Centre providing support for adults with learning disabilities in Hong Kong along with 8 years of creating real jobs for our learners and others via our not-for- profit Social Enterprises, we are excited to take our advocacy and communications to the next level.
Our vision is a society where Persons with Disabilities (PWD) have the same opportunities to develop and use their talents and skills as all other people. Therefore, advocacy via our communications is an important part of our mission.
What is Advocacy, and Does it Matter?
Advocacy is a way that our organization can offer support and create opportunities for individuals with learning and physical disabilities, but most importantly to share these stories with a wider audience to educate and engage our community on the valuable role PWD play in Hong Kong.
First, to repeat our goals and mission
Since 1993, we have been empowering individuals with disabilities to live independently, to care and advocate for themselves with the least amount of support.
We create a welcoming and inclusive environment for our learners to engage their talents and integrate within the community through programmes, vocational education and social enterprises.
Our Centre and its programmes
The Centre “headquarters” are in the Sai Ying Pun Community Centre on High Street, where our members and learners meet according to programmes established for them. For medium to higher support needs learners, we have a broad variety of programmes, including literacy, numeracy, wellbeing, expressive arts (yoga, dance), vocational education and IT.
We are providing work experiences for some of our members in the Hong Kong Country Club, the Ladies Recreation Club, an international school and the Ovolo hotel. Also provided are opportunities for community engagement through a variety of pop-up stalls via several charities and our Social Enterprise coffee shops.
Seven of our learners are taking secondary courses in a variety of subjects, and several will graduate in the next two years.
Our residential facilities
The Hong Kong Government allocated two large flats in the Pamela Youde Hospital Complex to our Centre. We use one as a Day Activity Centre (DAC), and a second as a residence for two of our high functioning SEN staff within our Social Enterprises.
At the DAC, a donor has funded a newly upgraded Multisensory Room, to provide our medium and high support needs students with cognitive and communication development, as well as addressing their sensory needs.
In the near future, we will be offering limited overnight stays for several low-support needs members, to assist with their independent living skills.
Our Social Enterprises
As many readers know, the Centre operates 4 Social Enterprises: the Nest coffee shops at St. John's Cathedral in Central and St. Andrews Church on Nathan Road. Our largest and most visible Café is Cafe 8, situated above the Maritime Museum at Pier 8, with seating for 65 indoors. The Café has also become a “go-to” event space for activities ranging from birthday and drinks parties through to product launches.
Most recently, we opened our fourth not for profit social enterprise, The Nest Bakery, creating different types of jobs for people with learning disabilities, whilst serving up delicious cakes, quiches and wraps. The Nest Bakery supplies cakes and other items to our own social enterprises, but also wholesale to the wider community of local coffee shops and restaurants too.
Some amazing statistics follow:
· At the cafes, coffee shops and bakery, we employ 35 PWD on a full and part-time basis
· At our Centre, we employ 19 able-bodied staff, and at our Social Enterprises another 12 able-bodied staff
· In total, in Hong Kong, we are an employer of 66 individuals, of which 53% are Special Needs adults.
In summary, we have an exciting message to deliver to Hong Kong, especially in trying and troubled times: the Nesbitt Centre has many and varied positive stories of how PWD are engaged, enriched and empowered in Hong Kong.
If you would like to learn more about what we do and or explore opportunities to contribute or collaborate in some way, please enter your email into the website email subscription box and we will contact you shortly.
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