Funding and sustainability

Border Links is a self-sustaining organisation. Our day service has grown in reputation since start-up and demand for our provision continues to increase. People with learning disabilities are referred to Border Links by Social Care Agencies, Schools/ Connexions, friends, parents, carers and increasingly through self-referral. Places on the enterprise are funded via individual contracts from local councils, direct payments and increasingly through personal budgets.

We have grown as an organisation through consultation and partnership working with our members, their parents and carers, social care agencies and colleagues from the private and community sectors.

General information

Staffing: All Border Links staff are police checked and fully qualified to carry out their roles. Our team has the expertise to create interesting, community projects and there will always be someone to "listen" and give advice and help if you need it.

Venues: The places that we use for our activities follow current Health and Safety Regulations. They are usually in the centre of the community and are always well equipped, welcoming and safe.

Transport: Where people can make their own way to Border Links we would expect them to do so. However we can arrange transport for people living within our catchment area and will always offer support and training for people who aim to travel independently.

Resources: All equipment, resources and materials for activities are provided by Border Links and are included in the daily fee. You might need to make a contribution towards special events or activities arranged by the group.

Refreshments: If you are with us for a full day, you will need to bring a packed lunch or money to buy your lunch from local shops. We often run Lunch Clubs at our venues - at these sessions everyone pays a contribution towards a two course lunch which is planned and prepared by the group members.

A little history

Border Links is a community enterprise company, founded in January 2006 with start-up grants from DEFRA. Our main aim is to provide local opportunities to support social and economic inclusion for adults with learning disabilities - to enable local people to play a part in the life of their community and experience "real" work opportunities and skills development. To achieve this aim Border Links develops locally based activities and community projects to foster community integration and enhance life and work opportunities for our participants.

In March 2006, working with two local people with learning disabilities, we opened our first Community Club in the Village Hall at Cornhill on Tweed, north Northumberland. Following demand and replication, Border links now works with over 40 people at sites based in Cornhill, Berwick upon Tweed, Amble in Northumberland and Kelso in the Scottish Borders.

In 2006, the Enterprise Team at Cornhill developed a successful vegetable delivery scheme. This trading enterprise has since been replicated at all of our sites and we now deliver baskets of healthy fruit and vegetables to around 70 households in North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. This project provides innovative opportunities to work, and develop skills in a supportive context that is real and has relevance. It has also raised the profile of adults with learning disabilities by enabling their delivery of a community service that supports the local economy and is greatly valued by our customers.

As the enterprise has grown, so too have the work experience and personal development opportunities that we can offer to participants, for example, the increased need for administration support and marketing activity has generated new opportunities for people with learning disabilities to work as members of our Admin Team and our Marketing Group.

Border Links sessions are delivered in a small and local group context. The local nature of the project fosters sustainable friendships, and also provides a visible and positive presence for disabled people within their own communities. While the small group size allows members the time to "get to know each other", and also helps us to deliver highly personalised approaches at all levels of our service. Because we know and listen to our members, we are able to develop and deliver a range of educational and leisure courses, classes and activities to enhance personal independence and respond to personal interests and aspirations.