Primary school offers Hand of Friendship to Adults with Learning Disabilities

Pandemic restrictions made it very difficult for Cabrini House residents to safely use public outside space for exercise until a local school stepped in to help

Cabrini House, based in Orpington, a residential home for 23 adults with learning disabilities is run by the charity Diagrama. During the pandemic safely visiting outdoor space and maintaining social distancing had been a real challenge until neighbouring Holy Innocents’ Primary School offered help.

David McGuire, Chief Executive, Diagrama, said: “We had been working really hard to keep our residents and staff safe during the pandemic.  On the 10 May we were told to ‘stay alert’ instead of ‘stay at home’ as the national lockdown lifted. We did not know exactly what ‘stay alert’ meant, but we could leave the house to exercise more than once a day and spend time in local parks. Cabrini House decided to use the nearest park, either early in the morning or in the evenings to avoid meeting any crowds. The second time we visited, the park was so busy that we were very concerned that after all the effort we had made to keep our residents safe, something as simple as visiting the park for much needed outdoor exercise, might actually put them at risk.”

Cabrini House needed an alternative way to for their residents to safely exercise outside. The answer was the playing fields of their neighbour, Holy Innocents’ Primary School. David McGuire approached the school to see if they might be able to help by allowing the residents to use their facilities when the students did not need them and he was amazed by the generosity and kindness of the school’s offer.









Ryan Langford, Headteacher, Holy Innocents’ Primary School, said “We were only too happy to help. During the school holidays we gave Cabrini House the exclusive use of our playing fields and once the students returned in September, Cabrini House was given permission to use the facilities at weekends and during the evenings, so that the residents could reap the benefit of outdoor exercise without the worry of meeting lots of people. We hope that this is just the beginning of a valuable friendship between the school and Cabrini House.”

David McGuire, continued, “Imagine if you asked for sugar and your neighbour gave you not just sugar but all the food you wanted whenever you were hungry. This is what Holy Innocents’ Primary School did for us and I have no words to explain the relief and delight that this display of community spirit means to everyone at Cabrini House.”