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CKUK Common Knowledge

16 March 2015

CKUK (Common Knowledge) is a charity based in Glasgow that provides a range of innovative online learning, peer education, drama and safe social networking for people with learning difficulties over the age of 16.

The organisation runs a wide variety of programmes to offer people with learning difficulties the best quality learning, information and experiences available.

In 2014, CKUK was awarded £2000 via the Baillie Gifford Community Awards Fund towards a summer trip to Ardentinny Outdoor Activity Centre for ten young people with learning difficulties.

The young people involved had been so inspired by a group hill walk some time earlier that they decided they wanted to try more outdoor activities – and the trip didn’t disappoint.

They took part in a number of activities which tested their resolve, both physically and mentally, including a night walk, canoeing and gorge walking. They also took part in team building games and search and rescue activities.

The challenges were far from easy and many of the young people had to overcome personal fears (of height, or water) – which they did, with lots of encouragement from their peers and group coordinators.  

Coping with these daunting outdoor tasks and achieving their goals is a fantastic achievement and helped build the young people’s confidence and self-esteem.  What’s more, group activities gave them an opportunity to develop their team building and communication skills.

One of the unexpected yet most rewarding benefits of the excursion was the experience of sitting down and eating together regularly. Most of the young people had fixed eating habits and were challenged to eat healthier; and they embraced this and tried new, more nutritious foods!  Chatting and socialising with friends and peers at mealtimes was a simple, but extremely worthwhile experience. 

All of the participants had an enormous amount of fun on their outdoor adventure and enjoyed making new friends.

Shirley-Ann said, “We did a night walk and I led it. I never thought I could be in charge like that… It’s my best experience ever. I’ve got closer to my friends and made new ones. That’s the best bit.”

Lesley said, “I exceeded my expectations. I’d love to be here again or be here all the time!”

CKUK are so delighted with the success of the trip that they now plan to incorporate a residential weekend as an annual activity.

The young people are similarly keen to enjoy more outdoor pursuits that they have started on their own plans to fundraise towards the costs of their next adventure.

“I liked being part of a team. I did lots of challenges I didn’t think I could do.” - Graham

Marilyn Salvin, Director, CKUK said, “People with learning difficulties face many challenges in life, very few are positive experiences and are almost never rewarding. This means few will embrace a challenge or take a risk. The Ardentinny experience however has been both rewarding and positive for the young people we work with. It enabled them to try new things and face their fears with new found confidence and a determination to succeed.”

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