Personal Development and Skills

Personal Development and Skills is a programme that has been designed to enable people with a learning disability and autistic people to build confidence in managing their own lives. So, it provides opportunities for growth through skills development, including travel training, sports, arts and employment.

We offer people with learning disabilities and autistic people the following services

Development in both life and social skills

The chance to benefit from a wide range of work experience opportunities

Access to performing and expressive arts groups

A wide range of opportunities to work outdoors with our partners

The chance to take part in multiple sports and good health initiatives

The importance of what we do

When a person with a learning disability or an autistic person leaves formal education we help them think about what comes next. Because some are ready for employment, but others are not.

To put this into context, there are over 5,000 adults in the community who have limited, or no access to a social or life skills network. This means they often lack the skills to do important things in their life, such as managing money or being able to use public transport. And this hinders their freedom and limits their potential.

Our Personal Development and Skills Programme addresses this, offering sessions that are designed to develop a person’s life journey. We deliver a range of skills-based sessions that enable greater freedom and activity-based sessions to enhance confidence, help create friendships and develop practical and emotional skills.

Our approach focuses on building on what people can and want to do. So, we work in partnership to set goals, celebrate progression and explore new opportunities. All designed to help achieve greater independence and self-esteem. We look forward to welcoming you to Talkback.

Neil Sainsbury

Find your path

The programme’s vision is to offer people opportunities so that they can:


Lasting and meaningful friendships


In new-found freedom and confidence


New pathways and support future personal growth


And be a part of something special

Our services for people with learning disabilities and autistic people

Life skills

Developing life skills is at the core of what Talkback does. From embedding skills, where people are learning how to be safe in their home or the community, through to more advanced sessions in travel training, managing bills and employment. 

Social skills

We understand that improving social skills and making new friends is not easy. Our social groups create an environment where people feel comfortable to express ideas and opinions. 

Work experience

Our work experience groups offer opportunities to build skills in retail, hospitality, and customer facing roles. Each group combines practical experience with theory based sessions to help you identify the most suitable pathway for the future. Whether it be volunteering or paid work.

Working outdoors

Our outdoor working group aims to build skills, engage people in work-related activity, and promote positive physical and mental wellbeing. With a clearly structured day that includes a wide variety of horticultural tasks, the group encourages the values and benefits of work.

Expressive arts

Our expressive arts groups use a range of traditional techniques, including drawing, painting and working with clay; as well as incorporating music, physical activity and mindfulness techniques that build confidence and an ability for members to express themselves.

Theatre group

Our weekly theatre group works towards two performances a year, one in the summer and one at Christmas time. This ensures that the group is constantly evolving and has a clear aim to work towards.

Sport and good health

Our Sports Groups offer people the opportunity to engage in regular activity that helps them live a healthier life and make friends. We believe that sport should be fun and that a healthy diet can be achieved by developing a better understanding of food and nutrition. 

Sports activities include multisport team games, Boccia, seated volleyball, goalball, Kwik Cricket, badminton, Polybat, table tennis, ball skills and parachute games.

Our Personal Development and Skills booklet

If you’d like to find out more about how we help people with learning disabilities and autistic people develop life and social skills then you can downland our booklet below.

Download our Booklet:

I enjoy chatting to customers each week. I also enjoy learning to use the microwave. I enjoy the social side of working in the cafe, as well as learning new skills.”

Focus on
The Accessible Workshop

In 2021, as part of our programme, we launched The Accessible Workshop, which covers a wide range of woodworking and practical skills. It teaches people how to plan and manage projects, as well as how to market and sell. 

Each individual works to clear and structured plans, with each project treated as a commissioned piece of work. 

The income generated is then reinvested back into the enterprise, or is used to aid charitable partners that we work with.

From basic safety awareness around the home, through to repairing, creating, up-cycling, and developing employment skills; The Accessible Workshop creates realistic progression pathways.

The Elfie Selfies

Some of our members of The Accessible Workshop popped in to take advantage of the clever work one of our Arts Groups prepared and got

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