The George Steven Centre provides support for adults with learning disabilities.
The George Steven Centre provides a safe and secure environment for adults with learning disabilities to learn new skills and explore relationships within a structured programme.
The centre is a continuation of the service that was first established in the town in 1982 by local social worker and Salvationist George Steven. He identified a need for more support for adults with learning disabilities locally and The Salvation Army believed in this community work so much that it opened the Kilbirnie Centre in 1989.
The service eventually relocated to its current site on Craigton Road in 2003 and was named the George Steven Centre – in honour of George who died two years later.
The centre is run in conjunction with North Ayrshire Council and operates the following four projects:
- The Day Centre
- SMART (Support in Maintaining A Realistic Tenancy) Approach
- The HALO (Holistic Approach to Lifestyle Options) Initiative
- The Training and Employability Base.
Centre manager Joanne Graham said: "Within one of the largest and well known organisations, covering 131 countries sits one of the most forward-thinking, unique resources in social care. A place like no other, a place where we have become accustomed to the laughs, the joy and the ‘family’ atmosphere ... a place of hope, development and learning. A unique resource that supports adults with learning disabilities to achieve their outcomes in life, to be included within their communities and to be respected ... that place is The Salvation Army's George Steven Centre.
"I am privileged to manage each and every aspect of this service. I thoroughly enjoy the diversity and challenges that each day brings. As we move into 2018, we are continuing to build connections with our partners in order to offer meaningful opportunities for our service users.
"The service is split into four main projects; - The Day Centre, The SMART Approach, The HALO Initiative and the Training and Employability programme (which houses the Blend In Cafe). Each of these projects are being developed in partnership with our key stakeholders in order to offer a tailored needs-led service with choice and inclusion – to make the ideology become a reality which is sustainable now and in the future."
Another feature of the George Steven Centre is the Blend-In Cafe, which is open to the public and doubles as a training space where service users can learn the skills involved in serving customers and keeping a kitchen tidy.
The cafe is a hit with locals in Kilbirnie for its quality food and affordable prices. Evelyn Fleming has been a regular cafe customer for the past six years and said: “It’s a pleasure to come here and have lunch. We’re usually in a couple of times a week and the staff and service users are always so welcoming.
“The food is delicious and it’s great to see the service users develop as they spend more time doing their day-to-day duties.”