Learing Disabilities

Active  – Day Activities for people with Learning Disabilities

An award winning service for people with learning disabilities

 Essex County Council Supplier Recognition Awards 2018  

About the project

Active is a multi-activity project for people with Learning Disabilities. We have a range of opportunities to choose from to suit your needs.

  • Allotment Project
  • Upcycling
  • Catering
  • Conservation
  • Music
  • Arts and Crafts


>About the Project
>Conservation Group
>Singing Group
>Ace Arts & Social Group
>Ace Upcycling
>Awards & Certificates
>Social Events & Training
>More Information

Do you have a learning disability?

Would you like to be a volunteer?

A volunteer is someone who gives their time to do things to help other people.

Sally Panrucker our Learning Disability Officer can help you by:

  • Providing a one to one service for people who want to volunteer
  • Taking you to see the volunteering activities.
  • Giving training for volunteers
  • Answering any questions or problems about volunteering
  • Arranging ‘one off’ fun volunteering sessions and social activities

There are individual and group volunteering activities.
These groups provide support for people with learning disabilities but are open to everyone to join.

We run a range of different activities ranging from Community Art Projects to Indoor and Outdoor Sports Days to Discos and Trips out.

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Conservation Group

IMGP1320 Would you like to work in a group?
IMGP1322 Do you like to be outside?
STA62522 Are you interested in local wildlife and plants?

The Conservation Group is a small group of people with an experienced support or project worker.

The group runs a range of different projects including:

  • Scrub clearing
  • Fence building
  • Pruning
  • Making bird boxes
  • Wildlife monitoring

The Conservation Group meets every Thursday morning at Waltham Abbey and Chigwell (Alternate weeks)

Transport is provided.

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Singing Group

IMG_0685 Do you like singing?
IMG_0681 Would you like to make new friends?
Frank Foster Home009 Would you like to join a local singing group?

The Singing Group has worked with the Loughton Youth Theatre and visited older peoples homes for a sing song.

We also perform at local events. 

  • We sing lots of different songs
  • We can choose the songs we sing
  • Sing in a group or on your own
  • The idea is to have fun

The Singing Group meets every Friday afternoon in Waltham Abbey.

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Are you interested in gardening?
Allotment 2008 032 Do you like working outside?
Allotment 2008 024 Do you like to grow vegetables and plants?















The Allotment Group is a group of 8 people working with an experienced support worker.

We volunteer with residents of an older peoples housing scheme to grow plants and vegetables.

On the allotment we do:

  • Digging
  • Seeding
  • Planting, and lots more

We have fun and learn new things.

The Allotment Group meets every Monday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm in Loughton.
Transport is provided.

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Ace Arts and Social Group

  Would you like to make
new friends in a friendly place?
DSCF0370 Do you like to meet people?
Do you like to have fun? 


The Talk and Sort Group meets every Tuesday from 2pm until 4pm at the Jack Silley Pavillion, Epping.

We run a range of different activities ranging from Community Art Projects to Indoor and Outdoor Sports Days to Discos and Trips out.

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Ace Upcycling Project

New to VAEF, Ace Upcycling!

Ace upcycling is a small group of young people with Learning Disabilities guided by a skilled team of staff and volunteers, working in partnership with Epping Forest Reuse. We transform donated pieces of furniture for resale to the general public at affordable prices.

This service is chargeable to participants, £25.00 half day and £50 for a Full day.

Please contact Sally Panrucker for further details. spanrucker@vaef.org.uk 01992 564 032



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Awards and Certificates

The Jack Petchey Foundation

Established in 1999, The Jack Petchey Foundation gives grants to programmes and projects that benefit young people aged 11-25.

Click on the logo to visit The Jack Petchey Foundation website.






Volunteer Centre Certificates

IMGP6309 The Volunteer Centre has many ways for you to earn award certificates during the year.

Individual Volunteering

Copy_2 of IMGP1329 IMGP1345  IMG_0730

Do you have a support worker?

This can be a fun thing to do with your support worker.

You will get initial support from the Volunteer Centre.

What next? How do I apply?

If you live in the Epping Forest district and have a learning disability, you can phone Sally on 01992 564 032.

If you would like, someone can phone for you.

Social Events and Training

STA62171 STA61812 bowling_person2 STA62080

We organise fun things during the year such as canal boat trips, bowling, picnics and more.

IMGP4214 CNV00022_000 DanaandSue recoveryposition

As well as on the job learning we run training courses to help with your volunteering.

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For More Information

If you would like to join any of our groups please contact Sally.

tel : 01992 564 032 or

email : vbadmin@vaef.org.uk


Quotes from service users

‘I have an Autistic son who has attended the Supported Volunteering Group for people with Learning Disabilities for many years.  This invaluable service has enabled my son to join in with the working volunteering groups and also join them in the social activity sessions that the group offers on a weekly basis. This service has made such a difference to my son’s quality of life, he is able to be a part of a team which has helped considerably with his confidence and self worth. He has been encouraged to learn new skills and try new activities he is also able to socially interact with other people in the local community safely with the support and guidance that his individual needs require.’In my opinion The Supported Volunteering Group plays a vital role to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our local community are given the opportunity to enlarge their life experiences and feel a valued member of our community. As a parent of an adult with a learning disability I am very grateful to Sally Panrucker and her team for helping my son achieve many new goals in his life and for all the advice and support that is also there for the families when needed.’

‘As a Senior Employment Advisor working for Essex Cares, specialising in finding paid work for People with Learning Disabilities, I find the support we receive from VA Volunteer Plus scheme invaluable, within the Epping Forest District there is nothing else that can offer the support and placements that we need to evaluate someone’s commitment and ability to find and sustain paid work.I work really closely with the Organiser Sally Panrucker she is really professional and dedicated and the preparation work that is done in a customer’s/service users voluntary placement is key to helping them understand the requirements and commitments needed when entering the working world, working with VA not only gives them this and valuable experience but also references and chances to socialise and develop skills in their chosen field.’