Well this is another extremely proud week for the CMG group as we have achieved our SIXTH CQC Outstanding rating (this includes our subsidiary Alderwood). A massive congratulations to Kim and her amazing team at 111 Masons Hill in Bromley. None of our competitors in England has more than 3 Outstanding ratings so this is a huge achievement for CMG. As a company we now have 98% of services rated as either Good or Outstanding in England. I don’t want to exclude Wales in this as we have some fantastic services there too, they are just rated under a different inspection body, CSSIW. Well done to everyone who has worked so hard to help CMG gain these exceptional quality ratings.
The Masons Hill CQC report outlines how the team ‘empowers the people it supports to have as much control over their lives as possible’ and how Kim, the manager, acts as a ‘positive role model who encourages an open approach to feedback’. This once again demonstrates the power of positive team work in a service and what can be achieved when everyone pulls together under the leadership of an effective manager.
This is what Kim at 111 Masons Hill had to say: “Our service is very busy, vibrant and sometimes very hectic but the team always works hard to ensure each of our lovely tenants live a fun, happy and very fulfilling life. There are many days I sit and think I should work in a circus because I have become such a good juggler but that is the nature of 111! 2017 has had a lot of ups and downs and believe me it has not been as easy ride, but despite this look what we have achieved – an Outstanding! Thank you to my amazing staff team, Deputy Manager, Simon and of course my manager Sheila for putting up with me. It is a pleasure working with you all.”
I’d like to finish this week’s blog, with a quote from Sheila Morgan, the Regional Director who oversees 111 Masons Hill:
“The Outstanding rating is an amazing achievement for Kim and her team. They have worked extremely hard and they give 100% everyday. Kim’s values, high standards and dedication have created a culture where excellence is expected and everyone understands and enjoys their role. 111 Masons Hill is a great example of one that uses creativity to promote peoples’ independence. It delivers great outcomes for people and boosts peoples’ self esteem. I’m extremely proud of Kim and her team.”
This week’s blog is going to be rather different to my usual ones. I want to tell you about a fantastic charity called ‘A Band of Brothers.’ This charity has its origins in Brighton, but is gradually growing throughout the country due to the excellent success it has achieved in reducing the re-offending rates of young men.
This charity was born out of concern at the continuing escalation of self-destructive and anti-social behaviour among some young men in our society and the realisation that any meaningful and sustainable solution would involve shared local responsibility.
The scheme that is run by A Band of Brothers involves older men in our community volunteering to be mentors for younger men in difficult circumstances. These young men have experienced some incredibly difficult times in their lives, often resulting in drug taking, committing of offences and time spent in prison.
I decided to get involved with A Band of Brothers as a volunteer because I would like to try and make a difference. Last weekend, I went on an induction programme considered to be your ‘right of passage’. There is an agreement in A Band of Brothers that we don’t share the details of what happens during the induction weekend, but I can tell you that it was challenging, exhausting, emotional and exhilarating. Before you can become a mentor, you need to go through this weekend, the same weekend experience that the young men participate in too, as part of the programme.
The mentors are from varied walks of life and include local businessmen, tradesmen and the occasional Chief Executive! They act as role models for the local young men by providing them with acknowledgement, challenge and a whole range of other coaching support, both personal and practical, to help them to turn their lives around.
Since I have been involved with this programme, I have been struck by the huge potential that the young men I met have, if channelled in the right way. It reminds me of what motivates me to be at CMG, which is fundamentally to help the people we support fulfil their potential.
I am really looking forward to my journey with A Band of Brothers and would encourage anyone else to find out more about this organisation. It really is providing a sense of community for all who take part. Given the shockingly high rate of suicide amongst men, who often find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling, I think this is incredibly important project.
“If we attempt to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening our own self-understanding, our own freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, we will not have anything to give to others.” – Thomas Merto
We have recently established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee at CMG which includes a number of employees from various roles across the organisation. It was set up to meet a number of aims and objectives, namely; to reinforce the positive benefits of inclusion, to recognise the talent that our diverse workforce brings, to apply the same values and level of understanding to our colleagues as we do to service users, and to review and develop relevant policies and procedures to strive for better practice.
One initiative that is being supported by the committee is the CWTCH welsh language project which is being developed by our Welsh business. CWTCH is the welsh word for hug/cuddle, but has been chosen by the Welsh business, as an acronym for their project: Choose Welsh to Communicate Heddiw (‘today’ in welsh). This project supports recent measures which have been added to the Welsh Language Act for employers in social care to deliver the opportunity for people to communicate in Welsh should that be their preference.
As a Welshman myself, I am really pleased to endorse this initiative! It commenced in September with a commitment for all staff and stakeholders in Wales to be given the opportunity to communicate through the medium of welsh, by learning a ‘word a week’ to extend their vocabulary. Additionally, it is now common place to have your phone call answered with a cheery bore da (good morning) or prynhawn da (good afternoon).
Claire Pritchard, our Welsh Operations Director, is also in the process of undertaking a survey to allow the inclusion and diversity committee to develop a Welsh language policy, inform our statistics around the Welsh language and prioritise which documents would be most helpful if translated into Welsh. If anyone is interested in taking part or receiving weekly updates, please contact Claire: Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the subject of diversity, we held our fifth annual Black History celebration event last week. It was a fantastic celebration of food, dance and songs from around the world and great to see so many people we support and staff joining in the celebrations. A few photos from the event are below.
CMG is aiming to change that with a determined focus on ensuring the needs of people with PMLD are better understood and met.
AS CMG support close to 100 adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) we are passionate about ensuring we provide the best possible health, emotional and social care support to each individual. Support is provided in ordinary housing, in the heart of communities, with the environment specially adapted to meet their physical and mobility needs.
A key concern for us in CMG is that we hear all too often of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) living in clinical, remote and large services, often many miles from the family home. This issue, while highly recognised as inappropriate for people presenting with ‘challenging behaviour’, is not discussed or challenged in the same manner when it comes to people with profound and multiple disabilities (PMLD).
Michael Fullerton, Clinical Director, and other members of CMG’s Clinical Team are proactively engaging at a national level to promote excellence in support and services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).
The most significant nationally focused work is the development of new Service Standards for children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). Michael is co-leading on the launch of these new standards for service providers, and these will be launched at a National PMLD Conference on the 24th November at Manchester Conference Centre. The Conference, ‘Raising the Bar’, will also bring together key leading figures in the world of profound and multiple learning disabilities. Delegates are attending from all parts of the UK, Southern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Katie Reid (Healthcare Facilitator )and Erren Wheatland (Clinical Nurse Trainer) will be talking at the conference about the application of the Standards in a social care setting.
In addition, Michael and Katie are engaged in the National Postural Care Strategy Group, led by Changing Our Lives. This group are developing a set of postural care strategies which will be launched in the spring of 2018.
Leading the way in terms of ensuring a skilled workforce, CMG run an Accredited PMLD Qualification (in partnership with Disability Learning) to support staff and soon to roll out an Accredited Course on Postural Care following Train the Trainer’ Training with Simple Stuff Works.
Michael has also joined the editorial team of the PMLD Link journal, the only PMLD specific publication in the UK.
I know I have talked a lot in previous blogs about CMG’s annual events, but yesterday I attended CMG’s Registered Manager’s Conference, which is our annual event for all the staff in CMG who manage services across England and Wales.
We have run this event for 5 years now and each year it gathers momentum and we receive even better feedback from attendees. This year’s motivational speaker was Olympic swimmer, Steve Parry, who inspired us all by his thought provoking and humorous presentation. Aside from his Olympic goals and achievements, Steve talked about his recent passion for giving children across the country the opportunity to learn to swim though his Pools 4 Schools endeavour. It was fascinating to learn that 49% of children between the ages of 7-11 years are unable to swim 25m and in 2014 there was 400 deaths from downing. Perhaps more importantly was the message that as part of a team you can make great things happen. As one delegate said, Steve ‘breaths success’.
Another thought provoking presentation and workshop was given by external speaker, Andy Bradley, who got us all thinking about the fact that ‘what leaders model shapes what teams do and makes all the difference to the way people feel and perform’. Also ways in which we can all be more in tune with the teams that we work with as well ensuring that we are being compassionate to ourselves as well. Just simple things like how important it is to listen with a quiet mind, which we all practised in his workshop.
Andy also asked us to think about one word that summed up what some large organisations stood for or the purpose of their brand. This was an interesting exercise as the results were not as many of us expected. So for example, MacDonald’s purpose is ‘speed’. Apple’s purpose is ‘beauty’ and Virgin’s purpose is ‘adventure’. This obviously got us all thinking about CMG’s purpose and whilst lots of good ideas were put forward, we all agreed that the best word that represented CMG’s purpose was ‘opportunity’.
We also held a series of workshops in the afternoon. One was hosted by Polly Falconer, the manager of a mental health outreach service which CMG acquired in 2016. Polly has a great deal of expertise in mental health conditions and provided attendees with more of an insight into spotting signs of mental illness and the best ways to support them.
Anita Smart and Linda Fish from our Alderwood business (providers of specialist support for people with Autism who are some of the most challenging people in the country), hosted a workshop on effective communication tools. Alderwood’s specialist knowledge in this area is second to none.
Here is just some of the great feedback we have received from the day:
“Polly Falconer on Mental Health was AMAZING. Her knowledge, the way she presented everything was superb. Very inspirational.”
“The Alderwood workshop was absolutely fantastic – it was nice to have a workshop which was interactive and the information and ideas learnt could be immediately taken back to the service and started straight away.”
“Andy Bradley was my absolute favourite. Not only did we do some mindfulness but he actually gave two hugely inspirational presentations that have made me change my outlook today personally and as a registered manager.”
“Steve Parry was fantastic, a great inspirational and motivational speaker and very approachable. It’s great to have presentations that make you see things from different perspectives. I will definitely stand taller in future and say ‘what a great day!’ everyday.”
“What a great event to bring the managers together and share experiences that are very inspiring and motivating.”
“I thought it was a great day and a great opportunity to meet other managers in CMG. The opportunity to sit back and reflect on my practice and bounce that around with other managers is always a positive thing.”
After a short break for the August holidays, I would like to focus this week’s blog on Health and Safety. We are all reminded of the awful consequences that can result when proper health and safety measures are not put in place – the Grenfell Tower fire is a powerful reminder to all of us of this.
CMG employs a dedicated and highly qualified Health and Safety Advisor, Faye Doncaster, who is responsible for everything health and safety in CMG. Whilst this role encompasses many different ‘hats’, I’d like to cover some of the innovative and inclusive initiatives that Faye and some of her colleagues are working on to ensure CMG is not only complying but engaging people at all levels.
Whilst we already have stringent fire safety checks in place, Faye is currently collating fire safety audits that have been carried out by front line managers in every CMG home following the Grenfell disaster. This includes checking the quality of any cladding used as well as ensuring emergency evacuation procedures and face to face fire marshal training is in place. Faye also works closely with Surrey Fire and Rescue Services and has set up a Primary Authority relationship with them meaning she has access to expert fire safety information and support which greatly benefits CMG.
Another initiative that Faye and colleagues introduced last year is the inclusion of people we support in CMG in health and safety. Faye has formulated a group of service users who receive specialist training and certification in various aspects of health and safety. For example, they have already received training in: fire safety, water safety, first aid and are looking forward to the next session on food safety and infection control. This knowledge not only assists the services in which they live to have stringent, inclusive measures in place, but also brings a rich and diverse range of skills to the service users involved.
Faye also manages health and safety training for service users in CMG who are employed externally in paid/unpaid work or for people who are looking for paid/voluntary manual work. This training includes first aid, hazard spotting, risk assessment, equipment safety and manual handling. This is not only great for building service users’ knowledge base, but also ensures their increased safety and confidence and is also great for their CV’s!
There is also a committed team of CMG Managers who are part of a health and safety sub-committee. CMG has funded IOSH managing safely qualifications for these managers who are also responsible for supporting Faye to review, design and roll out standardised health and safety records and documentation across CMG services.
And as if Faye is not doing enough to make Health and Safety more innovative in CMG, she is in the process of organising a really creative Health and Safety Conference this year (we hold a Health and Safety Conference annually in CMG for all Home Managers). I am told it is going to include a ‘mock civil trial’ with a mock judge and jury presiding over a fictitious case involving staff injury in a service. I can see some interesting role plays taking place!
If anyone has any queries about Health and Safety in CMG, or any staff or service users who would like to get involved in the initiatives mentioned above, please contact Faye on; email@example.com
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.
There are many occasions in CMG when I feel particularly proud of the work that we do and one of those occasions had to be our Supportive Therapies Day which took place last week. This is such a unique event which is superbly organised by Erren Wheatland (CMG Clinical Trainer) and Katie Reid (CMG Healthcare Facilitator) and is a day of amazing and varied, fully accessible, sensory activities designed specifically for our service user with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).
The event aims to stimulate interest, create opportunities and enhance social and emotional wellbeing and it was certainly obvious from the smiles, giggles and interaction of the people we support, that this was achieved. The activities are too many to cover in this blog but I’d like to highlight just a few.
The very messy and fun sensory art corner was excellent and included water pistol/syringe painting, bubble art, rainbow pasta and rice, cornflour mayhem and fluffy slime.
There was also a wonderful sensory story about a Bear Spirit Animal who, in Native American culture, symbolises courage, confidence and a grounding energy to those he meets. The professional re-enactment of the story included flutes, drums and dancing, which evoked imagination and was a rich sensory experience. Everyone also had the opportunity to make their own feathered headdress.
A range of African wildlife was available to handle including a pygmy hedgehog, hissing cockroach, royal python and a lizard. This session saw many people go from being reluctant to enter the room, to leaving with a real sense of accomplishment that they touched or held a reptile/ minibeast.
The hydrotherapy pool that we have at our Lilliputs site allows freedom from restrictive seating for people with little or no voluntary movement. It can relieve muscle spasms, ease pain and increase joint mobility.
The day was rounded off with a disco and the infamous and incredibly competitive ‘Pimp my Chair’ competition which gives people an opportunity to get creative, pimp up their wheelchairs and showcase their ride. The standard was extremely high but the winner this year was JS who converted his chair into a yellow vintage plane (with a rotating propella).
As well as providing an inspirational day for the people we support, what is also integral, is inspiring staff teams to enrich day-to-day activities by encomapssing sensory experiences, enhance social interaction and to ensure life experiences are accessible and inclusive.
As I said, a truly unique and exceptional day and my thanks to Erren and Katie.
Here are just a couple of lovely quotes from the day:
‘It was a brilliant day. My son really responded to the crayon art and enjoyed using the switch to operate the hairdryer to melt the wax. He loved seeing and feeling the animals and was very impressed with the disco and the pimp my chair competition. Thank you.’
Parents of person we support
‘This was my first experience at the Supportive Therapies Day, it was a wonderful experience, particularly seeing how the staff supported and interacted with people they support. It brought tears to my eyes. Just looking at the passion that they have for their work and how they got people involved. The Pimp my Ride Competition was out of this world, what a WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
I visited 14 services last week and was particularly impressed with the service at Willesden Lane in Brent. This is a supported living service supporting 5 people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. The staff team are extremely enthusiastic and positive and there is a real person centred atmosphere in the service which is reflected on how homely each person’s bedroom is and the great photos of the people we support in the communal areas. People who live there come from a range of cultural backgrounds and that is clearly reflected in the way that they are supported including the way in which their individual bedrooms are decorated.
The people we support have busy activity programmes, including in the community and with good support around their sensory needs. When I visited, staff and people we support had just returned from shopping and again I was impressed with the healthy fruit and vegetables which had been purchased.
As you know, I think social inclusion is very important. As well as people from Willesden Lane being out and about in the community regularly, they are also supported to attend the local church, where they have established relationships with other members of the congregation.
I would also like to mention 2 other initiatives which push the boundaries of what people we support with profound and multiple learning disabilities can achieve.
A lady we support at our Chandon service in Ashtead, has started doing voluntary work with animals and a person we support at our Dyke Road service in Brighton is going to be taking on a job as a ‘mystery shopper’ checking out the accessibility of pubs, clubs and shops for disabled people. With support from his keyworker, he will complete an accessible questionnaire after each visit.
We also held the amazing Supportive Therapies Day this week and I will post more on this in next week’s blog. It really is a fantastic event tailored specifically for our PMLD service users.
I’d like to dedicate this week’s blog to Katie Reid, our Healthcare Facilitator, who celebrates 20 years service with CMG this month. Katie started her career on the 7th July 1997 at Ceres House (CMG acquired the Ceres House services in 2004) as a Care Assistant, straight from school. She worked across the services, supporting children aged from 6 months to 18 years of age. Katie quickly made her mark and was promoted to Senior Care Assistant, then Deputy Manager at 289 Dyke Road which supported children with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Katie also helped to manage 283 Dyke Road (supporting children with ‘challenging behaviour’ and autism). In 2002 Katie was promoted to Manager of 289 Dyke road and was successfully interviewed by the Regulatory Body – at this time, aged 22 years, she was the youngest registered manager in East Sussex.
There are 9 people that Katie still supports in her current role that she has been involved in supporting since they were children. In addition, she worked closely with Sammy Boyle, for twenty years, since he was 11 years of age. Sammy lived at 287 Dyke Road and is recently deceased. Katie and Sammy had a wonderfully close relationship.
During her time working directly in the children’s homes, one of Katie’s proudest times is when she supported a little boy to be adopted. He had significant physical and learning disabilities, Katie worked hard with others to support him to use a standing frame and to actually ride a trike. He was adopted by a family in Dorset and Katie stayed with the family during the transition to make sure this was successful, and he was enjoying family life.
In 2006, Katie’s role changed. Given her skill and knowledge base, she moved from being a manager to taking on a new role as Care Co-Ordinator within CMG’s Therapy Team. This was a locally based role in Hove, which in 2009 turned into her current Healthcare Facilitator role, supporting CMG services in a much wider national role. The skills and knowledge Katie is able to offer to CMG staff teams has grown significantly. With a diverse range of interests and maintaining up to date research and evidence based practice, Katie is able to offer a lot of expertise to ensure CMG stay at the forefront of proactive support to people with a range of complex needs.
As if evidence of the many lives that Katie has so positively impacted in 20 years was needed, when we asked for a few testimonials for her, they came flooding in. Each is very moving and demonstrates Katie’s passion, dedication and knowledge. There are too many to show here, but I’d like to include extracts from a few:
“Katie always has a smile on her face and the way she conducts herself with colleagues and the service users is an example to the rest of the team and to me. Katie’s unique knowledge of every service user is invaluable and helps me enormously from a medical standpoint when trying to decide on any intervention or treatment plan. She has excellent clinical acumen and a down to earth and common sense approach.
I hope our professional relationship continues for many years.”
Dr Thomas Gayton, Montpelier Surgery
My son ‘S’ has been at CMG for 12 years. Katie has always advocated well for ‘S’ with other professionals. Katie always has his best interests at heart and always interacts with him well and he enjoys her company very much. I feel that Katie is a valued member of the staff who is always there when advice or support is needed.”
Sue El-Ziftawy, Mother
“I really liked Katie when she came to work with me around living a healthy lifestyle. She was very patient and listened to me. She listened to my suggestions and gave me good advice. Katie gave a hula hoop which I used for a few weeks. The main thing is since I worked with Katie I have lost a lot of weight and I have never looked back. I go for regular walks and I eat healthily. I am more confident and I am in employment and will soon be registering for an English course at college.
Thank you Katie.”
Nicola (Person we support at Perryn Road)
“Katie has an eye like an eagle, and a sixth sense when it comes to the people we support. We have always pushed the boundaries for our service users to achieve and live a quality life, and this would not have been possible without the support of Katie.
Katie’s 20 years in service is the equivalent of 40 years considering the dedication and commitment she gives.”
Romulo Fernandez, Manager, 290 Dyke Road
“While Katie’s role has grown considerably, her passion lies within the PMLD services. She is instrumental in promoting positive internal communication and supporting working relationships between the PMLD home managers and external health professionals. Katie’s knowledge is extensive and not just concerning health concerns as her title would suggest.
She is an amazing individual and her love, passion and enthusiasm for everything that she does is an inspiration to us all.”