Published: 06/12/2012 06:00 - Updated: 05/12/2012 18:39

Special needs online guide seeks Moray input

PEOPLE in Moray connected with special needs are being asked to join a free online social community.

The Netbuddy website, which was launched two years ago, shares practical tips and solutions for supporting people with learning disabilities and autism.

The guide, which is part of a national online listing, has used the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube to create a large social network following.

And Sophie Cottrell, a spokesperson for Netbuddy, is keen for the service to include details of any events or venues in Moray which are accessible for people with special needs.

"We’re not interested in making a profit from any of the ideas we receive," she said. "Our aim is simply to pass them on. We’re just trying to make life a bit easier for anyone who’s supporting someone with learning disabilities.

She said the site has grown and developed, and is now rich in ‘user-generated content’, which has since been spread around other organisations and websites like Carers Direct, Nursing Times, Family Lives, Learning Disability Today, Enable Scotland and Time Out.

Sophie is keen to hear about any Moray clubs, theatre workshops, live music venues, autism-friendly film screenings, even special needs yoga classes which could be publicised by Netbuddy.

"At a time when so many local services are being cut, we feel sure this is something people will want to know about and be involved in," she said.

Sophie pointed to a recent report which claims that nearly a third of local authorities have closed day services in the last three years, leaving 1 in 4 adults with learning disabilities stuck at home.

"People with learning disabilities face a lack of opportunities that most of us take for granted, including going out, meeting other people and having fun."

"Netbuddy and Time Out hope to make a difference in Moray by providing free, timely information about what’s available for people with learning disabilities.

"In the meantime, they are collecting information about local inclusive events and venues which you can see by following TimeOutWithNetbuddy on Facebook.

Netbuddy director Deborah Gundle said there are a number of things going on around the country for people with learning disabilities, and it is time more people knew about them.

"We are thrilled to be working with Time Out on such an important project, at a time when so many local services are under fire," she said.

"Please help us to make Time Out with Netbuddy a success in Moray by telling us about anything that’s happening near you."

Anyone with information to give to Netbuddy can do so by emailing sophie@netbuddy.org.uk or visiting www.netbuddy.org.uk.

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