Learning difficulties development fund (LDDF)

This article provides information on the work of the Learning Difficulties Development Fund and the projects it supports.

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Learning Difficulties Development Fund (LDDF) and Valuing People Now Projects 2022 to 2023

The Learning Difficulties Development Fund is money given by the Learning Difficulties Partnership Board (LDPB) to projects and groups that support people with learning difficulties and the work of the Valuing People Now project.  The aim of the funding is to help people who have learning difficulties with things like:

  • personalisation
  • employment and education
  • housing and support
  • transport
  • crime and safety
  • health and wellbeing

The LDDF fund is £100,000 which we share between all successful projects.

How to apply

You can apply online by visiting the Supplying the South West Portal website.  Applications are open from Tuesday 15 March until Tuesday 12 April 2022.

The Learning Difficulties Partnership Board decide which groups or projects get the funding.

For any queries about the LDDF contact Kate Dowling, Commissioning Officer

How we monitor our funded projects

Our LDPB has a co-chairperson who is part of our Community Care and Housing Department. Their role is to get people involved in the work of the partnership board and ensure our pledge to support the aims of the Valuing People Now Paper of 2001.

They monitor any project that has been given money from the LDDF fund to make sure that they do the work they promised.

Projects funded in 2020 to 2021

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic the LDBP gave nearly £100,000 to local projects and organisations to help with learning difficulties. These projects ended on 30 September 2021.

16 Co-operative Ltd

Coaching for Employment

This is a programme of individual support to help jobseekers prepare for paid work and find a job. The programme will help people in different ways depending on their needs.

It may help to:

  • develop skills and understand more about working
  • complete a vocational profile and look for a job
  • apply for work or think about becoming self-employed
  • start a new job and settle in

Read more on the 16 Co-operative Ltd website.

This organisation has also been awarded funding for 2021 – 2022 and will be run with Boss Employment CIC but the new project will be called “Engage for a Wage”.

Building Circles

Friendship and socialising opportunities

A new befriending scheme with social events and cookery workshops.  An experienced volunteer coordinator will recruit volunteer befrienders who help people with learning difficulties socialise in the community.

Read more on the Building Circles website.

Brandon Trust

Disability and hate crime

The hate crime service run workshops for young people with learning disabilities to help them understand:

  • what disability hate and mate crime is
  • how to say no
  • how to not be a victim
  • what a good friend is
  • how to report

The Brandon Trust website has information on hate crime.

Circles South West

Circles of support and accountability

This service gives emotional resilience to people with learning difficulties who have sexually harmed others.

Trained volunteers meet them every week to help identify risk, keep them safe in the community and be accountable for what they do.

Read more on the Circles South West website.

This project has also been funded for 2021 to 2022.

Milestones Trust

Community express

On-line music and art and craft sessions that are inclusive for adults with learning difficulties.

When possible, there are also sessions at:

Avon Valley Railway give discounted train rides where you can listen to musicians and look at the scenery.  

Expressions arts

An inclusive and accessible arts workshop for people with learning difficulties.  This is run by a project manager who is a fine artist.

The Milestones Trust website has information on their community projects.


The opportunity for 4 people with learning difficulties and/or autism to set up a small enterprise.

The project involves making and packaging an organic candle and will provide City and Guilds accredited training and work experience in employability skills.  Read more on the Organic Blooms website.


Know your rights

A self-advocacy project for people with learning difficulties and/or autism.

It helps them to:

  • take the lead
  • know their rights

The project can help them to work with an advocate so they can give their views on health, housing, education, work, relationships, and families.

The Wecil website has information on advocacy.

This project has also been funded for 2021 to 2022.

Wiggly Worm

A Kitchen Challenge

Weekly sessions for people with learning difficulties to explore and develop food skills.  This can improve awareness of healthy eating and encourage people to make better choices about the food they cook. 

Read more on the Wiggly Worm website.

This project has also been funded for 2021 to 2022, under a new project name of ‘Getting Cooking Online’.

New funded projects for 2021 to 2022

These projects will run from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Brandon Trust

Elm Tree Farm Shop

The project gives people with learning difficulties the chance to work at the Elm Tree Farm Shop (a sustainable enterprise serving the local community).  Training will be provided and the work is paid.

Read more on the Elm Tree Farm website.

Design 4 Life Ltd

Accessible Technology

A community support service for people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

The LDDF has given funding so they can have an accessible technology table. This can be used by adults using the service to help them communicate their health and wellbeing choices to their family, carers and health professionals.

Read more about this technology on the design4life website.

KeyRing Living Support Network

Top to toe ‘our health matters’

This project provides workshops on specific health topics to educate people with learning difficulties on their own health and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. These will take place across South Gloucestershire.

Read more on the KeyRing website.

Step and Stone

Unlocking Confidence

Step and Stone are a community interest bakery who want to support people with learning difficulties into work. Working at the bakery people with learning difficulties can develop new skills and confidence.

Read more on the Step and Stone website.

Swan Advocacy

Be Heard in South Glos

Be Heard in South Glos is a self and peer advocacy project for people with learning difficulties.

The project will include:

  • self-advocacy workshops
  • peer-advocacy groups
  • one-to-one advocacy ‘coaching’
  • accessible self-advocacy toolkits
  • advocacy training to other organisations and agencies (non-instructed)

The project aims to empower people with learning difficulties to become more independent and develop self and peer advocacy skills.

Read more about Swan Advocacy on their website.

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