International students from Canada visited Shinewater Court, our service for people with physical disabilities in Eastbourne, on 5th June as part of their studies to learn first-hand about a service for people with disabilities.

The students from Queen’s University Canada are currently studying for six weeks in the UK at the university’s UK campus, the Badar International Study Centre, in Essex. The 15 students that visited Shinewater Court are completing the programme Global Heath and Disability while over here, as part of their degree courses including Nursing and Physical Health. The students are looking to work with individuals with disabilities on completion of their degrees. The visit to Shinewater Court was an opportunity for the students to enhance their understanding of disability and meet professionals and people with disabilities similar to who they could be working with in the future.

On their trip the students were given a tour of the centre and were then introduced to service users and staff for a Q&A and open discussion about living with disability. The service users shared their experiences and staff discussed how they support the service users.

The visit was enjoyed and found to be beneficial by the students, as well as service users and staff at Shinewater Court.

Service user Glynn said: “Wow, fancy them coming all this way to see us and ask us about our disabilities! It was great to be able to share my story.

Service user Suzanne said: “It was great to have other people here and who wanted to listen to me and my feelings about my disability.”

Service Manager Anita Cobb, said: “The trip was a wonderful opportunity for us as a service - for the service users and for the students - it gave us all an insight into each other’s lifestyles and experiences.”

Director of Queen’s University Canada Global Health and Disability programme, Beth Richan, said: “Visiting The Disabilities Trust’s Shinewater Court provided our students with the opportunity to learn first-hand about various innovative community-based and residential support services offered to people with complex and challenging disabilities. Learning from residents and staff about innovative ways to improve quality of life for people with disabilities allowed us to understand how theories learned in lectures are applied in practice. We appreciate the time they took to share their knowledge and experience and to welcome us so warmly!