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Raising the Bar II

14th January 2019  Add comments

This week’s blog is dedicated to event we held back in November, ‘Raising the Bar II’. This is a completely unique event, where families, carers, professionals and advocates are brought together with the same vision. Improving the quality of support and life of people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) through campaigning, sharing information and providing support.

The previous year (2017) ‘Raising the bar’ and the launch of The Core and Essential Service Standards for Supporting People with Profound and Multiple were created to set a precedent of how people with PMLD should be supported. Following their successes it was agreed to do ‘Raising the Bar II’ in a bigger venue with a larger variety of speakers.

The events were produced and organised by Michael Fullerton (CMG), Annie Fergusson (PMLD Link), Joanna Grace (The sensory projects) and Thomas Doukas (Choice Support).

People with PMLD are often overlooked and/or their needs are not understood, this is unacceptable. We are all the different, but equal. Everyone deserves to be heard, have the right to lead fulfilling lives and have access to high quality support consistently. The only difference is we need to work harder to learn the ability to listen and communicate. To understand the needs, likes, dislikes and wishes of people with PMLD.

The agenda was jam packed with keynote speakers including family members of people with PMLD, who have learnt through their loved ones. These speeches were by far the most heart-warming and the most powerful.

Keynote speakers included:

  • Rebecca Pender (Family Fund, Glasgow) talked about the Power of the Parent Voice and Changing the Narrative of Collaborative Care
  • Elly Chapple (CanDoELLA) about Flipping the narrative – a personal story of hope overcoming adversity in the face of great challenge and tragedy
  • Sandra Archibald (parent) about a Cooperative Working Model of Support
  • Flo Longhorn (Flo Publications) showed us that when you wish upon a star ~ you WILL raise the bar!

Parallel workshops were available to join throughout the day including:

  • Annie Fergusson (PMLD Link) & Sage Savage (Phoenix School) – The use of aromatherapy and massage for individuals with PMLD. A review of aromatherapy explored potential benefits; responding to health and wellbeing needs/priorities; creating meaningful opportunities for learning; promoting individuals with PMLD to have a voice and take the lead.
  • Julie Calveley (Intensive Interaction Institute)– Communication and Intensive Interaction: The use of video for training, observation, reflection and identifying outcomes and progress.
  • Scott Watkin & Stephen Kill (SeeAbility)– How can we prove that not all persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities, should be considered visually impaired?
  • Erren Wheatland & Katie Reid (CMG) – Supporting the Complex Health Needs of people with PMLD in social care. Focusing on the LeDeR programme reporting that the mean life expectancy for someone with PMLD is just 41 years of age.
  • Joanna Grace (The Sensory Projects)– The Mental Health Needs of People with PMLD. Reviewing research findings into the mental health of people with PMLD.
  • Janet Gurney (Us in Bus) – “The Power of Being Heard: Everyday Intensive Interaction”. Looking at practical ways to use Intensive Interaction to ensure that being heard can be part of everyone’s experience – and the difference it can make.

Michael Fullerton, Clinical Director 

“Raising the Bar II was the sole national conference last year focused on the support of children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities. As the main organiser of the event I was delighted in both the range and quality of the speakers and workshops, as well as the enthusiasm of the delegates. There was double the number of delegates from the previous year, with around 200 people which included family carers, health/education and social care professionals.

The key theme was to follow up and impress the importance of the Core & Essential PMLD Service Standards, throughout the UK and Ireland and it was great to hear that despite the challenges and barriers, that there is excellent work going on in all our countries. The Conference has helped enormously to aid networking, particularly I hope for families, but also in ensuring we can all work closely together to enhance the quality of life of everyone with a profound and multiple learning disability.

We agreed at the end of Raising the Bar II that we would have a detailed review of the Core & Essential Service Standards during 2019 as well as holding another Conference later in the year. This conference date is now set and will be at the same venue (University of Birmingham) on the 25th October 2019. Tickets will be available shortly, so please save the date!”


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A Reflection of 2018

7th January 2019  Add comments

Happy New Year to you all. Every year seems to pass faster than the last, how is it 2019 already! In today’s blog I would like to reflect on some of the accomplishments and successes over the last year at CMG.

CMG along with Change launched the Staying Safe Online Booklet for people with learning disabilities and have developed with people we support and Choice Support two further easy read publications. These are due to be launched at the national LDE Conference on 23rd January 2019. These are focused on Transgender Support, and Pornography.

The Clinical Team facilitated their first Relationship and Sexuality group workshops for people supported by CMG and are now planning a Podcast on the same topic.

The Service User Parliament (self-advocacy group) decided to change their name and focus and are now Campaign 4 Change. They have started a #mindyourlanguage campaign to ensure that when staff in health and social care speak to or about people with learning disabilities it is always in a respectful manner. They gave a powerful presentation at our annual People’s Conference.

Through the collaboration of CMG and 5 other care providers, saw the development and launch of the Quality Experience Tool and Surrey PBS Coaching Programme at the House of Commons.

At CMG healthy lifestyles and promoting well-being throughout the company are very important to us. We started a Health and Well-Being steering group, to further develop this ethos at CMG. On the back of this Andy Bradley (Compassionate Mental Health) ran 2 sessions on ‘Nourish Yourself’ for our support/lead support workers and a ‘Health & Well-Being’ Newsletter was created (for a copy please email including advice from members of staff on how they have improved/maintained their lives through exercise, healthy eating and life style choices.

Throughout the year we’ve held various events for the people we support to encourage and increase participation, healthy lifestyles and physical activity. We held:

Ageing Well, focused on excellent support for people as they age. I even gave a session on Thai Chi!

Supportive Therapies, a day for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, a day focused on ensuring creative sensory and therapeutic support.

Athletics Championship, people entered and participated in many different sports including track, field, Zorb football and inclusive cycling. Winners were awarded medals by Paralympic Champion Georgie Hermitage.

Let’s Get Physical, at Tooting & Mitcham FC which included a 5 a side football tournament, circuits and interactive health & well-being stalls.

Raising the Bar II, CMG organised alongside other national stakeholders as the only national PMLD Conference to ensure the PMLD Service Standards are embedded throughout the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands.

Other events that were held across the year include Driving up Quality, The People’s Awards, The People’s Conference, Family Conference, Manager’s Conference, Black History event and The Staff Awards. To find out more about these events and/or to see pictures please head over to our Facebook page: or alternatively look through previous blogs.

CMG’s learning and development team are always finding new ways to support staff to develop, reach their potential and provide training to ensure the people we support receive the best possible care. Last year saw the launch of the ‘Outstanding leaders programme’ where 15 home manager’s looked at best practice, leadership style and how to create outstanding services. Other novelties include the new face of the learning management system, Regional Director Programme focused on team building and problem solving and the diversity and inclusion committee.

In March we were proud to announce that CMG won a 2018 Skills for Care accolade award. Nominated in the ‘Best employer support for registered managers’ category. The award recognises organisations, employers or individuals who can demonstrate their commitment to providing excellent support to their managers.

At CMG we believe in developing are staff and offering everyone an opportunity to move forward and grow. Take a look below for some of our staff promotions in 2018.

70 Support workers were promoted to Lead support worker

15 Lead support workers/Practice leads were promoted to Deputy Manager

2 Support workers were promoted to Deputy Manager

6 Deputy Managers were promoted to Home Manager

2 Home Managers were promoted to Regional Director

As the world of Social media is ever growing and changing, as well as Facebook and Twitter we now have an Instagram page and are doing regular Podcasts. Podcast topics have included financial abuse, staying safe online, hate crime and the latest one ‘Christmas’. If you haven’t already check them out on SoundCloud by following this link:

In 2018 CMG open 9 new services and in February acquired ‘Homes Caring for Autism’ based in Somerset and Wiltshire, now known as CMG SW. It included 10 specialist services which support some of the most challenging people with autism in the country. In November Penny Meadow day centre in Marks Tey, Essex was acquired and CSAC LT, 5 residential properties for people with complex needs in Clacton.

As a company we now have 11 CQC ‘Outstanding’ rated services (CMG 4, Alderwood 8). Hersham Gardens which is a relatively new service gained their ‘Outstanding’ rating at the end of last year. This is an amazing achievement, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of Dan Ismail and his team.

I would to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year, and I would like to give a special thank you to all the staff that work at CMG for their continued commitment and hard work.

annual conference. Lilliputs, Hornchurch.

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