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Venturesome team


Charities Aid Foundation


 18 November 2016
Beyond Words

In the 1980s Professor Sheila Hollins looked for pictures to help people with developmental learning disabilities to understand their feelings following trauma. Almost nothing was available. Children’s picture books were on offer, but they could not help people talk about or understand adult feelings and adult experiences.

Sheila had noticed how much pleasure her teenage son, who had a learning disability, got from silent movies and children’s picture books. She had also found that by drawing pictures she could help her son to understand and prepare for what was happening in his life and that this reduced his anxiety.  She decided that she would put picture books together herself and publish them. She began work with her son, illustrator Beth Webb, and psychiatrist Dr Lester Sireling, creating two books - When Mum Died and When Dad Died, published in 1989.

Over 25 years later, this has grown into Books Beyond Words – a community interest company with a back catalogue of over 50 books, a network of book clubs and a training programme for professionals and supporters on how to use these books most effectively to help those with learning difficulties to navigate difficult issues.

Venturesome is delighted to have been able to support BBW with the next stage of their expansion through a £60,000 unsecured loan, which BBW will use to invest in sales and development of their book club network.

Beyond Words

“This loan shows a confidence in us. CAF Venturesome have listened to our story and have seen that we are an organisation ready to expand. The finance will allow us to invest in a programme of growth that will help us to develop a sustainable income model for our core work. It gives us great hope to be able to support many more people with learning disabilities.”

Sheila, Baroness Hollins as a cross bench member of the House of Lords

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