Aim and Objectives of Sensing Friends
Sensing Friends provides emotional support for young people in Sussex through peer support groups and one to one support.
Building Bridges Between Young Blind, Partially Sighted And Sighted Individuals and the Community.
Our current work focus’s on building stronger more meaningful friendships between blind, partially sighted and sighted youngsters.
Starting in September 2017 we will be running a course of friendship workshops from Moulscoomb Forest Gardens.
These free workshops are truly fun, with lots of creativity and music. The emphasis is on building stronger friendships between the young participants.
The peer group workshops, staring in Sept 2017, have the exciting theme of The Elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This theme runs creatively through each of these events.
In 2018 our aim, subject to funding , is to carry on our work with the
Please Contact us to find out more.
The Big Issue
Blind and VI children need to have access to other children who have the same issues, and to also be able to develop friendships with their sighted peers – and their sighted peers need to gain a clear understanding, empathy and regard – to get past stereotyping, on an unconscious, hidden level.
Blind and VI children are often part of their blind community which is vital for developing their positive sense of self. However this on its own, can creat invisible barriers with their sighted peers.
Many blind or visually impaired youngsters spend much of their social time adapting to a world that is geared up for those who are sighted. The majority of activities and social stimulation is predominantly biast towards vision. For many young blind or partially sighted individuals, to get past the feeling of being different and experiencing the ongoing pain of unconscious stereotyping from many of their sighted peers, can mean withdrawing from proper integration into the everyday world.
Embracing Diversity- Events such as Sensing Friends can create seeds for young people to accept each other beyond their immediate differences. Many of the experiences blind, partially sighted and sighted youngsters experience can be shared and embraced together. These shared experiences paves the way for warm social connections and contributes to their early social emotional security.
Our mission is to make a positive impact on these young peoples social emotional well being, both in the present and for the remainder of their lives. Sensing Friends does this by facilitating more emotionally rewarding socially inclusive communities, through connections formed at Sensing Friends, now which then ripples onwards to affect their long term future.
Child Lead Ethos
We support these young people by approaching, and being with them, in a person centred way. By putting these young people first, seeing their world through their perspective, we can understand, share experiences, encourage and facilitate necessary emotional change in a way that is understood by these young people.
Much of our work is based around Carl Rogers Core Condition, Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional Positive Regard.
Empathy: When we empathise we see and try to experience, with all the feelings, the other persons view of life. We can then respond more emotionally supportively to that person.
Congruence: when we are congruent we are honest with ourselves and others. This does not mean just saying what we think but rather acting in a very genuine way.
Unconditional Positive Regard: When we offer Unconditional Positive Regard we refrain from judging others or providing conditions of worth. We offer instead acceptance of the person as being valid and important despite any differences we have from them.
Sensing Friends both provides the core conditions and models them for the young service users we support.
Safe Enriching Space- The emotional support we offer is run by experienced trained counsellors, social workers, horticultural therapists, creative art play workers and musicians who elicit enriching external resources and expertise, such as the use of nature, music and creative arts.
Most of this warm support is provided in a natural eco-therapeutic environment, within a calm, safe countryside woodland setting. We provide advice, peer group support and one to one support for young people dealing with these emotional issues.