Finding meaningful, engaging and fun activities that develop new skills, interests and friendships is often difficult for people with learning disabilities.  Because of the shortage of these opportunities Symbol have established what we have called The Hop Yard services.  These offer something new, diverse, exciting, innovative and fun in the form of a wide range of activities for children and adults of all ages.  These experiences are available during weekdays, evenings and even at weekends. The Hop Yard is a great place to spend time, learn new skills, meet new friends and it evens serves as a possible route to employment. We are supremely flexible and individual in our approach to what we offer.

Find out more by taking a look at:

How does it work?

The service is coordinated from 2 bases; one in Lenham and one on the Isle of Sheppey.  These sites act as launch pads for work in the local community as well as venues for a number of interesting activities.

Out & About - The Hop Yard team will work with individuals to identify activities that they would like to do in the community and will then support them to go along and take part. This might be just on their own with a support worker from the Hop Yard staff team or possibly with a group of friends who wish to go out and have fun together.  For example, it might anything from going bowling or swimming, to perhaps a regular cinema trips or even theatre trips to London's West End. Maybe it’s just shopping and a coffee on a Saturday morning.    We even run what we call the ‘Out Out Night’ where people can join us on our famous nights out; a chance to have fun and try out some fabulous new social events.  Even geography is not a barrier!

Site based activities – We are able to support people to explore a growing range of activities including:

  • The Pen and Ink Studio which offers a vast array of creative arts activities such as pencil, pen, paint, textile design, sewing, fashion in fabric, print, wool crafts, felt, silk, paper mache, sculpture and model making plus many more.
  • The Music Hall which is all about all things music, performance and film. Participants can learn or just mess about with instruments, make music on the computer, record their own music, learn to use their voice, production and acting skills
  • The Horse and Cart is our equine centre at the Dray in Hollingbourne.  Here participants have hands on experience in horsemanship, all stable and yard duties and of course participants can learn to ride in our safe arena.
  • The Ham and Pickle is our catering studio where participants can learn to cook and prepare for their own use and for sale. Where possible we use ingredients from our own land in order to help us understand the benefits of fresh food and home cooking.

Funding – Our fees are dependent upon the exact nature of the support required.  For some people costs will be directly met by the Local Authority.  All the programmes and individual support that we offer however also attract Direct Payment Funding so anyone in receipt of direct payments, DLA or a personalised budget or even just wanting to spend their own money, can do so to pay for The Hop Yard activities. We operate as a fully inclusive agency under direct payment arrangements so we can provide customers with an invoice and they can pay us by direct debit or bank transfer in order that the right trail for audit is in place.   We do our best to keep our costs close to or within the direct payment allowance. People buying these services do not have to pay any national insurance or employers costs or employ anyone at all.


Telephone:    01622 859216

Email:             info@symboluk.co.uk