Relaunching our Varied Abilities Forum

People sitting on chairs in a room listening and watching two presenters speak
Published: 16 May 2024
Filed under: Regeneration and Housing

On Thursday 9 May we relaunched our Varied Abilities Forum, formerly known as the Disability Forum, at the Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, Walthamstow. The Forum is for Waltham Forest council tenants and leaseholders with varied abilities, so they can connect with the council and share ideas for improving housing services, experiences, information and knowledge in a safe space. 

During the morning session residents heard from two keynote speakers offering advice on how to access information, advice and helpful services specific for them. In the afternoon residents could take part in three interactive workshops, these included:  

  • An aromatherapy session where Rachel Statter, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager from our contactors Aston Group, explained the unique properties of essential oils and how they should be used. Residents were also able to blend their own essential oil blends and lotions. Promoting wellbeing, health and mindfulness. 
  • Cost-of-living advice from the Department for Work and Pension. The session was informal and fun as residents discussed and learnt about maximising working-age benefits, disability employment advisor services and flexible support funds. 
  • Discussing safeguarding and mental health capacity in a safe space was the final workshop and was run by Carlynne Preville, Manager of Independent Living Service from the council. 

Grace, a Sheltered Housing Scheme resident and attendee of the Varied Abilities Forum, said “My Independent Living Service Manager told me about the event and passed me the flyer. I used to go to the Disability Forum, but I am so pleased I came along today to meet lots of different people. The workshops and lectures we heard about today are very important, so residents can know their rights and feel empowered to be bold and speak out. It also encourages more disabled people to come along and attend these forums in the future.” 

Find out more about upcoming Varied Abilities Forum events by signing up to our newsletter. 

Split image - left hand side is an image of a lady standing in front of a presentation. Right side is residents doing mixing essential oils on a black table cloth.

Left: Grace, a Sheltered Housing Scheme resident. Right: residents taking part in the aromatherapy session.