Respect for All, based in Rochdale, provides specialist mental health and emotional support, which reduces isolation for people with a variety of conditions including the learning disabled, Autistic and Asperger’s community.

Respect for All (RFA) also offers counselling and play therapy to individuals’ families and carers. These carers and family members often have access to fewer support services, which is what RFA uniquely offers. They also offer counselling for bereavement and loss, abuse, domestic violence, depression and relationship issues.

The service is for children, young people, and adults in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. All of the organisation’s counsellors have either personal or professional experience of being individuals with a variety of disabilities and learning difficulties. Counselling is offered in English and British Sign Language.

RFA’s belief is that that each person is unique and has potential. They show respect to individuals through taking the time and effort to communicate with clients at a pace and in a way that is both helpful and empowering.

The organisation works closely alongside other voluntary organisations, advocacy groups, social services departments, learning disability teams and children’s services and has an established and growing reputation among other professionals in their ability to raise awareness of the hidden support needs, and social dangers experienced by our client group.

Respect for All provides a clear and accessible service and support to less verbal and non verbal members of the community, using expressive methods such as TaSSLeS (Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners) and whatever works for each individual to meet the specific needs of the individual and group.

The organisation is proud to continue to provide mental health and emotional support, which has aided a reduction in social isolation for the individuals they support.

Participants were able to understand themselves better and were able to set life targets to challenge themselves to be present in the community. Through personal disclosure, beneficiaries were also able to share emotional problems that they may not otherwise have had help with. Friendships have also been forged, enabling the participants to keep in contact with each other outside the group environment. This helps individuals’ general wellbeing too, creating great social experiences for individuals.

Participants of the groups also exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers to allow them to keep in touch with each other, creating opportunities to create social events of their own to maintain friendships with others that accept and understand their unique perspective.

The confidence gained by these individuals is enormous, they are now confident enough to continue this successful programme themselves because they have formed solid friendships and noticed a difference in their general wellbeing, as well as gaining valuable skills.