I know I talk a lot about CMG’s annual events but I really do believe that no other provider comes close to putting on the kind of events that CMG holds. We have an extensive annual events calendar which includes conferences and award ceremonies for staff and a conference for family members. This year we will have also hosted three external, national events. One was the STOMP conference which took place at Westminster in June (Stopping the Over Medication of People with Learning Disabilities, Autism or both). In September we have organised an innovative Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Festival in Surrey (tickets sold out within a week!) and in November we are co-hosting an event to help raise the standards of care for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in Manchester (www. pmld-raisingthebar.eventbrite.co.uk).
But perhaps the most rewarding events we hold, are those for the people we support. In last week’s blog I talked about our Supportive Therapies Day, which hosts an amazing array of accessible sensory activities for our PMLD service users.
Last week we held our really popular Service User Conference attended by over 300 staff and service users. This day started off with a fantastic band, The Top Bananas, who performed some great pop classics whilst on stilts. Within minutes both staff and services users were dancing and singing along. It was interesting talking to one of the band members afterwards who said it was his favourite event of the year as the audience is so brilliantly receptive and don’t have the usual inhibitions that others have (or don’t need a lot of alcohol to get warmed up!).
The day also includes an ‘X-Factor’ style talent show which is always extremely popular and allows people we support to perform any song they like and the judging panel give comment. The audience can then vote for their favourite act. We also have an ‘open microphone’ session where service users can get on stage with me and say exactly what they like. I remember one year, when a service user used the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend!
We also have a circus show where people can join in and learn some juggling skills, hula hoop and plate spinning. A hotly contested cake and art completion also take place along with henna tattoos, make up and nail painting for those who wish to take part in quieter activities.
My thanks to Sue Pym who organises the majority of our events calendar and always to such a high standard.
Here are just a few of the photos from our Service User Conference. You can see more on our Facebook page.