A conversation between Jewish Museum London, & Bwalya Treasure, Head of Community Engagement, Langdon
MUSEUM: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT LANGDON AND WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES.
Bwalya: Langdon started in Manchester in 1992 as a specialist College and has now grown into an organisation that supports over 120 people (our Members) with learning disabilities and autism through a wide range of services. We work with our Members to help them live as independent and fulfilled life as possible so they can be their best selves. We do this through supported living, a bespoke person centred employment programme, a social enterprise, Langdon Brady youth group, and a specialist College. We operate in London and Manchester.
MUSEUM: HOW DOES LANGDON CONNECT ITS ACTIVITIES TO JEWISH IDENTITY?
Bwalya: A Jewish person’s identity is often multifaceted, and is shaped by many things including beliefs, family history and lived experience. The heart of our approach to Jewish culture and ethos, is centred around each individual Member we support. Taking their lead, our team has put together a wide range of group and individual activities that give Members opportunities that enable them to live out their Judaism in a way that is meaningful to them. These include one-to-one Hebrew lessons, a mock seder, parties to mark Chanukah and Purim, guest speakers, tu b’shvat tree planting and much more. During the pandemic, when the rule of six was still in force, one of our Members, Naomi, arranged for a Sukkah to be built in the garden of her shared Langdon home, and invited small groups over to experience shaking the lulav and etrog and learn more about the festival.
As she says: “My Judaism is so important to me, and I am so grateful that with Langdon’s support I am not only able to express and celebrate in the way I want, but I can also share my knowledge with others within Langdon.”
MUSEUM: WHY DID YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN PITCH UP: COMMUNITY VOICES?
Bwalya: Langdon is a vibrant Jewish community, and our Members also contribute hugely to the wider Jewish community. Many of them work or volunteer in the community, and our Langdon Brady Youth Club has a strong ethos of social action, working with a number of other communal organisations such as GIFT and Mitzvah Day. Being part of Pitch Up, will give others the opportunity to learn more about Langdon, and think not only about how they can support people with Learning Disabilities, but also how Langdon Members might be able to help them.
For more information visit: www.langdonuk.org
– Garden ornaments, Langdon Manchester
Hi, I’m Daniel Gold and I’ve been at Langdon for 24 years. Being a Langdon member means being happy, independence, and socialising. I made these stepping-stones myself, I painted them, and I’m going to sell them.
– Boydell’s London, 1818.
Hi, I’m Daniel Bourla. I have been involved with Langdon since 2002, first at Edgware and then to Borehamwood. I am now at Harrow, at New Chapters, where I support the team as an Assistant. I look forward to my two days, Monday and Thursday, where I catalogue and book titles into the system, help with deliveries and develop my skills whilst enjoying the work I do there.
I was nervous at first but as the weeks passed I gain more and more in confidence and sense of purpose. As an Assistant, I can help in so many ways, freeing up staff to do their own work and valuing the trust they have in my skills so that I can work independently. Staff here have said that I am hard working and conscientious and that my progress is an example of what it is possible to achieve with the right support. I am pleased that now I can also support Members as they develop their skills at New Chapters. My confidence has grown to include not only the work at New Chapters but also in my other work outside of Langdon.
Hi, I’m Naomi Wunsh. I have been with Langdon for 8 years during which I have also been a Brady Club member and now I am awarded Honorary Member status. I live in a 24-hour accommodation but have independence in that. Where I live, I am always available to chat to other Members if they feel they would like to talk and offer that support Monday to Thursday.
Langdon has a very special place in my heart. I have been shown how to develop independently and have gained so many skills. I enjoy the work I do at Langdon and the positivity it offers. Learning skills and building up my independence has developed my confidence. I have been invited to share support at a Kindergarten, helping the staff there, something I might never have previously achieved. I feel I am living a life that I might never have enjoyed without Langdon and have grown so much within the support of the community.
Hi, I’m Jordan Mizrahi. I have been part of Langdon for just over three years. My parents found out about Langdon and encouraged me to join them.
The help I have received is really good and I could never thank the organisation enough. My life is better for it. I have made friends, joined some of the groups and enjoy the Pub Nites and Coffee Meet-Ups with other Members.
I have been playing guitar for about 14 years. I begged my mum to have a guitar and it has gone from strength to strength. When I started, my teacher said I was really good for a beginner. And now I am teaching guitar to Langdon Members, sharing my skills and passion.
Playing the guitar has a great strength for me. It is relaxing, therapeutic and allows me to manage my stress and keep me more relaxed
What Langdon means to me
Hi I’m Stephanie Slapper. I have been working at Langdon’s Brady Maccabi since January 2022, alongside a team led by Debbie Rees.
We work with Members in Arts and Crafts, although we are flexible to the needs and requirements of attendees, who often want to steer the activity in a new and exciting direction which we are happy to take. The interaction between the team and Members and the inclusivity is positive and exciting. Not only are their skills developed but as the lead team, we too are learning.
Having lost my husband six years ago, I wanted to continue in the vein of his voluntary work. He believed in supporting others, in offering them opportunities. When I was approached by Debbie to be part of her team, I was delighted. To be part of this community, to share the sense of purpose and inclusivity and to see Members thrive is an honour and I am thankful that I can offer the sentiment that my husband enjoyed.