The Maldon Pioneers
The Maldon Pioneers Association (MPA) was registered with the Charity Commission as an unincorporated Charity, (No 295993) in 1982. It was set-up in recognition that there were a number of Maldon adults who were not eligible to attend the Essex Social Services courses for adults with learning disabilities because their disabilities were not regarded severe enough to qualify. Although ESS initially provided financial support and some activity input both were withdrawn in 1993 and the Association took on the role for organisation and fundraising. It is now managed by a committee of trustees, all of whom are volunteers.
The Association's members are known as 'Pioneers', they are over the age of 18 years of age, with mild to moderate learning disabilities. Typically, they attended special school or special needs groups in a mainstream school but then found, on leaving education, they were unable to obtain regular paid employment. This can lead to an over-dependency upon parents and carers which together with a lack of social interaction and personal development, negatively impacts on health and wellbeing.
The Association’s primary aims are to provide social support, encouragement and supervision by offering a variety of activities which promote social, environmental and educational opportunities. It helps Pioneers to build friendships and enhances their involvement with the local community. However, it is stressed that the Association is not a registered care or support provider.
More recently MPA has employed an Activities Organiser who arranges the weekly activities and the annual holiday, if one is planned. However, delivery of activities is dependent almost exclusively on the support given by volunteers who accompany Pioneers on all activities and without whom the Association would cease to exist. There are currently around 20 active volunteers although their level of involvement per week varies considerably.
Regular activities include a weekly group meeting and a drop in session during term time and an annual 'Summer Scheme' in August. Visits to local events and attractions are made during the year and we travel further afield during August.