Welcome to Puzzles


• To identify and engage adults with learning disabilities and help them develop their life, work and softer skills and reduce their feelings of isolation

• To encourage members to improve their health, confidence, well-being, and social skills by building friendship groups and support networks in their community


In May 2019 a group of parents decided to volunteer themselves to form a new Autistic group called Puzzles. Our purpose is to provide help to families supporting adults with Autism, people with a disability and those with a long-term health condition. We aim to bring families together to share experiences, meet others and spend social time with others who understand them. We want our members to be safe and feel comfortable. Based in Medway we deliver a range of weekly social, recreational and learning activities to adults with Autism, their family members and their friends to improve their physical health and mental well-being. We currently have seven trustees on the management committee with skills covering a range of areas including support work, working in a disabled school, networking with other charitable organisations and running support groups for adults with learning and behavioural disabilities and those suffering with long-term health conditions. Our Chair Paul Harper was awarded the MVA Barry Clout award for outstanding contribution to the volunteering sector and was chosen to be a baton bearer for the Commonwealth Games, while Puzzles received four other nominations in the Kent Charity Awards.


Social isolation is a real problem especially in disadvantaged communities across Kent and Medway and in particular to those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those who are or feel socially excluded and those suffering from behavioural disabilities, learning disabilities or long-term health conditions. The majority of our members have difficulties in socialising and need to be carefully encouraged to join in with others in new activities, in a way that is safe for them to do so. Chatham and Sheerness both feature in the 20% most deprived areas in England for both income and education deprivation and many individuals have low skills and lack confidence. In Chatham, 9.9% of the resident population of working age unemployed, higher than the 7.8% regionally (National Statistics, 2001).

A report created in March 2019 highlighted the need to develop these skills and integrate them with every day activities to help engage people who were most isolated and were affected by increased isolation caused by lockdown restrictions. This report was based on our engagement with 21 small local charities and our large network of partnerships with Medway Parent and Carers Forum, Kent Pact, Megan CIC, Kent Autistic Trust and local NHS and Council services that we engage and work with across Kent. There is limited support in the area for people with disabilities, greatly affecting their mental health, and the activities available simply do not suit the needs of the people we are working with as our members would struggle to access everyday activities. Local charities like ours are a vital way to get those with disabilities, or health conditions, to participate in activities, sports and general well-being sessions.



• A hub where public, service users, carers and family members can come, be supported with their life issues, relax and have a tea or coffee plus take part in small group and support activities such as board role play, game nights, gaming etc.

• Providing employment support and advice including writing CV’s, interview skills and assisted job searching, benefits advice and help with PIP/DLA applications, universal credit, direct payments and training around Autism, FASD, First Aid etc.

• Telephone support where adults can call in for advice on autism or other mental health related issues, book a service or be sign-posted alongside a sensory room for our more needing autistic members, a safe place for time out and relaxation; providing rest bite and a chance for the parents and carers to have a break, with one to one advice and guidance and rest bite activities including gaming, arts and craft etc.

• Increasing the capacity for Information on activities, services and general information on Autistic friendly places, provide advice on benefits including DLA/PIP, Universal Credit, direct payments etc.


• Weekly trips to venues like bowling, ice skating, tobogganing, skiing, trampolining, climbing, cinema, karting, laser tag, Medway Park (multi-sports), swimming, theatres and day trips

• Supporting adults improve their physical health through engagement in a range of new sports and recreation activities covering football, exercise groups, bowls, badminton, swimming, pool, table tennis, ten pin bowling, yoga, archery, trampolining, beach games, watersports, crazy golf, indoor climbing, wildlife parks, walking, boat trips

• Setting up four disability pool teams, two in Medway and two in Maidstone and we are in the process of setting up a disability football team for next season

• Alpaca assisted therapy at Lower Bush Alpacas – these sessions are primarily for children and young adults with additional needs including emotional, behavioural, communication and sensory difficulties and diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder


• Engaging new and existing members through social media activities including Facebook, a website, twitter and a monthly newsletter which is uploaded to our social media platforms and sent out to all members by email

• One to one outreach helping engage teenagers and adults with Autism or other special needs and support them out of isolation on a one to one basis, giving them encouragement to take part in our engagement activities and make new friends

• Improving their life skills and getting them out on public transport, ordering their own food, carrying out daily tasks

• Monthly coffee morning for parents and carers as a support group outside of our normal online forums where we talk about disability, carer topics and have regular guest speakers

• Engaging people from other disability support groups across Kent and Medway


Our charity and its staff makes the following lasting positive differences to the people we support:

• Improve the social skills of those who are most isolated within the community to build friendships, engage support networks and learn ways to overcome and deal with the barriers they face

• Identify and engaging adults with learning disabilities and those who are most isolated within the community to reduce their feelings of isolation, help them develop their life skills and to improve their softer, social skills i.e. confidence, motivation and self-esteem

• Support families of adults with autism to participate in new sports, social and recreational activities to help them to continue to become healthier, happier and less isolated

• Encourage participants to improve their confidence, physical health and mental well-being in order to reduce their isolation and to help them feel more a part of their community

• Enabled our members to play sport fairly and competitively through disability leagues

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