01217793865 info@solihullsolo.org

Embracing Disability, Empowering Lives

Welcome to SoLO. SoLO’s services are delivered by highly skilled and professional people leading to a reputation of being the best provider. Offering Adult and Children’s services of the highest standards our organisation provides the widest range of support. Each one of our Projects is specially designed to add value to the lives of individuals with learning disabilities.

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Find out more about what’s happening at SoLO

Potential loss of funding

My blog is to alert readers to the possible changes that might impact on the following adult’s services: Night Owl Thursday Crew Waterloo Funky Fridays Icebreakers Leisure Links Open Door All of the above services currently are partly subsidised through a grant from the local authority of £70,000 (this is not the total cost of the services).  We have received notification that the Local Authority are going to stop funding this at the end of March 2017. They have invited us to be part of a tendering process for ‘Care and Support at Home and in the Community’ which would require us to work with a larger organisation who will oversee delivery of Home based Care Services (Domiciliary Care), short breaks (either sitting service in the home, or supporting the cared for person to take part in a leisure service), night sitting (an overnight sitting service).  Our contract (if we were successful) would be a small part of the overall provision. In one way this is potentially very positive, in terms of the possibility of us developing services, and we will embrace this opportunity to improve the lives of our members across the borough. The downside and the thing that worries us the most is that these services are likely to be only for people who meet the social care criteria and are eligible for a personal budget. Approximately 300 of our members have moderate learning disabilities and they may not meet this criteria.  This would result in them not having social care funding to access social and leisure opportunities to meet up with their friends.  This could, potentially, change the ‘drop in’ nature... read more

A World without Downs? Surely not!

I watched with sadness the documentary shown on BBC featuring Sally Phillips (best known as a comedy actress in the sitcom Miranda and the Bridget Jones Films) what I didn’t know is that she has a 12 year old called Olly.  Olly was featured on the show, he is a funny, lively young man who also has Down’s syndrome.  Like most 12 year olds he likes to tell jokes, enjoys ice cream, getting messy and enjoys sport. Why did it make me sad?  Because as I watched it, I couldn’t help but think about the many, many friends that I have who have Down’s syndrome (I have changed their names to protect identity, but if I asked them if I could tell you who they were, they would probably answer “Go for it, Janet!”) Anne is a wonderful, theatrical, larger than life character who loves to entertain, sing, dance and once on the stage absolutely owns it. She is the master of one-liners and ad lib and frequently sends me into hysterics with her antics.  She has a boyfriend and a good life.  She lights the room up when she enters and has perfected the art of flicking her beautiful long hair to complete dramatic effect. Sarah is a beautiful nearly 30 year old.  She, like Anne, loves to dance but particularly loves to sing and has a beautiful voice.  She is very caring and looks after all her friends, always making sure they are okay.  She has sisters who clearly adore her and is the love of her parents life. She is great fun to be with and... read more

bag packers – we need you :)

It’s official – the Sainsbury Dorridge bag packs have been announced and we are looking for lovely volunteers to join us. I know there are those of you out there who really love to do this so please get in touch if you would like to be involved. Dates for your diary:  Saturday 3rd and Saturday 17th December Timings:  10.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. If you can spare an hour or two, please let Maria know on m.brown@solihullsolo.org or ring her on 0121 779 3865...

SoLO staff and volunteers please take note

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/wheelchair-bound-blind-teen-dies-11885379 I was so sad to hear about the young man who died recently following an accident in his wheelchair and my heart goes out to the family, friends and teachers at this terrible time. It has really brought home to me how vulnerable our members are and how we all must take heed of this terrible situation and always be super vigilant to protect and safeguard them from harm.  Just 30 seconds can change someone’s life and we don’t want to be in the position of looking back and saying ‘If only…’ I am not making any judgement on the situation or what happened and neither should I without the full facts.  However, it has really driven home to me the constant need for risks to be assessed and all staff and volunteers to be constantly aware of what is happening around them.  Accidents do happen, and we should not wrap our members in cotton wool and not allow them to experience and enjoy life to its full.  However,  let this be a reminder for all of us who are caring for vulnerable people, of the level of responsibility we shoulder and the need to keep our eye on the ball at all times.  A hard task, but...

What you can expect with SoLO


With a plan in place and needs assessed, the next question is what is there to do?  At SoLO we recognise that one size does not fit all and we offer a menu of activities to suit all preferences ensuring that the right amount of support is in place. Enough to keep the member safe, but not too much to take away their independence.

Key Life Skills

At SoLO it is all about outcomes.  Having a lovely time with friends is great, but how much better is having a lovely time that helps to keep those friends, develop relationships, build confidence, increase self-esteem and provide a platform for learning.  All SoLO services are measured by the added value their provide for the member.


We all need friends and the SoLO activity programme gives an ideal opportunity for its members to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones.  It doesn’t matter what level of disability someone has, everyone has the ability to have a friend and be a friend – we just provide the opportunity to make it happen.


Everyone needs to plan and it is exciting to do so.  At SoLO we help our members plan their future in interactive ways, using person centred planning tools that ensure they lead the process and, why shouldn’t they, it is their future after all!

Discover more about SoLO


SoLO operates a wide range of projects and activities to cater for different age groups and different levels of ability.

Our Services


Several times a year we hold amazing events for our members and to raise funds. Everyone at SoLO gets involved and helps.

Our Events

SoLO Voice

The SoLO Voice board is your voice within SoLO.
The Voice Group helps us to provide the best service for all our members.

Find Out More


Volunteer support saves our charity a staggering £230,000 each year and volunteers contribute over 18,000 hours of support.

More information

SoLO Testimonials

Philip Shelton

“I love being a member of Daylight – it is really good.  I love to help out. Every day we do something different, today we went bowling and I had a great time. I love helping the staff and planning what I do myself.  If I didn’t go to Daylight I don’t know what I would do!”

SoLO Volunteer Russell Williams

“I love being a volunteer for SoLO, it has made me feel so proud of myself and since SoLO accepted me to be a volunteer it has changed my life because I make decisions that help to change people’s lives. Being disabled myself, I enjoy helping other disabled people and enjoy doing all the activities as much as they do. I volunteer on two weekday projects, Night Owl and Waterloo. Sometime I volunteer by helping the fundraising teams on different events. If you are thinking of becoming a SoLO volunteer, it will change your life and the people you support. To SoLO`s members you will become a teacher, role model, protector and friend.”

Sandra Ballard

“When my son, who is severely disabled, returned from college, he was very depressed, because, as a young man, he needed to be independent. SoLO has enabled him to use his individual budget for a Personal Assistant who I am confident is well trained, supported and appropriate. Marcus is so much happier now. He can tailor the support he gets to suit his own individuality and seeing him take control of his life shows me how successful he will be when he eventually decides to leave home.  I cannot speak too highly of SoLO”.

Meet some of the SoLO team

Hello I’m Jan Prior.  My life is both enriched and challenged by having a son with special needs. As Chair I bring my experience and skills to shape and lead SoLO. I am supported by a great team of volunteers and staff who add sparkle to all that SoLO offers to enhance our members’ lives. Jan Prior

Chair of SoLO

My name is Janet Down, I am the CEO of SoLO, have been here for 14 years and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. It is a privilege to serve the members of SoLO who constantly inspire me. My aim is always to provide them the level of service that they deserve. Janet Down


I am Deb Jones, Manager of Children’s Services at SoLO. I have been in this role since April 2009 and can honestly say it is the most rewarding and enjoyable job I have ever done.
It is also the busiest and most exhausting -there are never enough hours in the day!

Deb Jones

Children’s Services Manager

Hi I am Paula Burnham and I am the Adults Services Manager.  I oversee all of the activities that SoLO provides for the 18+ age group and I also manage the Personal Assistant service.  SoLO is a vibrant and energetic organisation where the staff have nearly as much fun as our members!!!

Paula Burnham

Adults Services Manager

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