Person Centred Approaches at Whitehatch (Regard)

5th April 2019 1 Comments

Recently I visited Whitehatch, which is a Regard service in Horley. I was particularly impressed with their person centred approaches and people inclusion.

The manager Jane has been at Whitehatch for the last 3 years and before that at the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). When she first arrived the systems and structures in place at the service were dated and the people living there weren’t doing as many activities as they could have been.

At Whitehatch the mobility of each individual varies, as do their ages and ease of verbal communication. Jane has done a fantastic job in encompassing everyone to lead active and fulfilling lives. Each individual who lives at Whitehatch has their own detailed activity programme, each programme is tailored to the individual. The programmes outline what they will be doing each day of the week. Not only community based activities have been introduced but activities that can also be enjoyed at home such as cookery sessions, reflexology, aromatherapy, intensive interaction with ‘Us on the Bus’, exercises with Linda which is an exercise class primarily for people who use wheelchairs and Music with Maddie and Ron which is a firm favourite with everybody. Each person has their own song, which has been written for them specifically and is sung to them each time.

One gentleman can present challenging behaviour, and has recently been going to the gym. Which he really enjoys and has been trying really hard every time he is there. Previously he wouldn’t engage, and it was a struggle to get him to do any activities outside of the house. Now he also goes swimming once a week.

Communication is very important to everyone at Whitehatch, especially with parents who live far away. Skype is a regularly used app in the house hold with regular calls to one parent in Sweden.

What really impressed me at Whitehatch is the innovative training pack that Jane has created to involve and give the relevant skills to the people supported there on safeguarding. The pack contains:

  • Easy read document on what safe guarding is
  • Dice game – roll the dice discuss the topic on dice e.g discrimination
  • Card game – put the card in the right category, safe guarding issue or non-safe guarding issue
  • What makes a good friend templates
  • Safe guarding buddies – each person at the Whitehatch is linked up with another person to keep an eye on each other. K is buddied up with L who suffers from epilepsy and is unable to speak. K lets staff know when L is up and about and alerts staff if K is having a seizure.

After everyone has completed their training, Jane writes up a report and the training is refreshed regularly.

A development that has come from the safe guarding pack is a path campaign. The path outside Whitehatch has no drop curb, which proves very problematic as most of the people at Whitehatch use a wheelchair to get around. Another issue is that many cars park up onto the pavement leaving little to no room for wheelchairs to pass. These issues were discussed at a residents meeting, and plan was put in place to send a letter to the council and to the local MP. They sent the letter along with signatures from all people living at Whitehatch and photos displaying the issues. The council have now put a fence up to deter people parking on the curb. The head of highways is booked in to see how they can improve the path further.

Sadly, last year one person passed away. S didn’t have any family, so the staff and people at Whitehatch wanted to do as much as possible to give him the send-off he deserved. This was obviously a very difficult time for everyone, Jane created a place in this S’s room where people could come in and write memories about him. His ashes are in the garden with a rose planted on top, Jane managed to find a rose with the same name as S. A bench with a plaque for S has been bought and placed in the garden in memorial. On his anniversary this year everyone at Whitehatch will have memorial tea, he is gone but never forgotten.

Thank you Jane for showing me your lovely service, I think your safe guarding packs could be beneficial for everyone.

Follow the link to find out more about Whitehatch and/or to make a referral

To see CMG’s latest news follow the link, new post alert!










BSL and the Inspirational work of Boo Holmquest

14th March 2019 3 Comments

In this week’s blog I would like to profile the amazing work of Boo Holmquest. Boo is the manager of Hampshire Outreach and all of our deaf services Dimmock House, Forest View and Robin’s way. Her love for British Sign Language (BSL) started at a young age. When Boo was 11 years old her school encouraged all the children to help and support other people. Boo was placed in a school for adults and children with learning disabilities. She was paired up with a four year old girl who had Downs Syndrome and was deaf. This little girl taught Boo how to the sign the alphabet through singing songs and playing games. This is the moment that changed Boo’s life.

Years later when Boo was expecting a baby girl. She was worried that if her daughter was deaf she wouldn’t be able to communicate with her, bearing in mind at this time Boo only knew the alphabet in BSL.  Boo’s daughter was born with hearing, but this didn’t stop Boo wanting to learn BSL.

When Boo’s daughter was small she attended ‘sing and sign’ class which is designed for children at a pre-verbal level, who are deaf or of hearing. Children and parents learn how to communicate together through singing nursery rhymes and learning key words.

During this time Boo enrolled in a BSL course at college, she completed level 1 foundation which covered communication tactics with deaf people, deaf awareness, deaf history and culture and level 2.

Boo was then offered a job working with a toddler who was deaf and had downs syndrome. This little girl’s parents were both hearing and had no experience with deaf people, as there were none in the family. They had no help and support and were struggling to cope. Boo described the little girl as ‘a small ball of anger’ because she couldn’t communicate with anyone. Boo started to work with her on a 1-1 basis and started to teach her BSL. However, after a short time Boo realised this wasn’t going to work. As the only person this little girl would be able to communicate with was Boo.

All the children at the school were at a pre verbal level and Boo took it upon herself to teach all the children in her class, the staff and the parents to sign. This was to create an environment that was completely inclusive for everyone and also to enable the little girl to be able to communicate and play alongside the other children.

Boo was then asked to manage Dimmock House the first deaf service for people with learning disabilities. Now she is running all three CMG deaf services, Dimmock House, Robins Way and Forest View as well as managing the whole of Hampshire Outreach. She is extremely proud of her team, who are all deaf and all use BSL to communicate with each other and the people they support. Sign language is used in all aspects of their job. We have to remember for a lot of people BSL is their first language. Communication is paramount!

V’s story

V was born profoundly deaf. Due to family circumstances she was placed in a children service at the age of 11. Over the years this service transformed into an adult service, everyone at this service including the staff were of hearing. V stayed in this setting until she was 46. Surrounded by hearing people who knew no BSL. V’s only method of communication was via picture books, pointing at different pictures to indicate what she wanted. However, when V first entered the children’s service she knew sign language, which she used until she was placed at the service.

When Boo met her for the first time, staff told her that V would probably only tolerate her for a few minutes. V showed Boo her book, every picture V pointed at Boo signed it for her to see and learn. After an hour they were still communicating through signing, V was grinning from ear to ear and showing the staff and other people there the signs she had learnt through her short time with Boo. It was decided that the best thing for her was to move to Forest View. She has now been there for a year, the staff have been working really hard with her to develop and grow her vocabulary. She is now linking her single word vocabulary to full sentences. She can hold full conversations in BSL and no longer points at pictures to communicate. She has now been armed with the tools to communicate, and is a much happier and contented person now.

What a fantastic story! Boo you have definitely inspired me to learn more sigh language.

We currently have three vacancies at the lovely Forest View, which is located in the picturesque area of the New Forest. This service is predominately for people who are deaf or who have communication difficulties. Click here to learn more about the service or to make a referral.

Boo and her staff

The Inspirational Work of Town Farm Workshop

8th March 2019 1 Comments

In this week’s blog I would like to share the achievements of the Town farm Workshop (TFW), which is a Regard service in Dorset. After my recent visit to TFW I left feeling inspired, their commitment to reaching each individuals potential and demonstration of best practice is phenomena.

Town farm Workshop (TFW) run their own enterprise through weaving, leatherwork and ceramic crafts. These products are all created by the people that are supported there. Once they have finished the production each product is then sold at craft fayres, festivals, annual exhibitions and permanent outlets. Profits from the sales are divided equally, 50% goes directly to the artist and the remaining 50% goes towards buying more resources for example more yarn for weaving.

One of the many great things that TFW do is the way in which they support and encourage individuals to access the community and become work ready. The manager of TFW, Helen is an avid supporter of volunteer work, she has set up individuals to volunteer at Dorset volunteer centre. There are hundreds of projects and activities to get involved with. The centre matches volunteers to their different areas of interest and skill sets. This could include working with animals, gardening, working in café or working as a tour guide. To find out more or to get involved click here to head over to the website.

The Volunteer Centre Dorset has delivered a project Community Credits Scheme which covers Dorset.  The Scheme was set up to support individuals who have learning disabilities to seek supported voluntary placements. For each and every hour volunteered they receive a community credit note which can be exchanged for a health and wellbeing activity within Dorset.

At TFW they have stand-alone courses delivering training to people supported on change management, keeping well, first aid and fire safety.

TFW really know how to be resourceful, they have outside space which they have utilised by growing fruit and vegetables. Last year they won an award for their abundance of pumpkins. I bet they proved popular at Halloween.  Each year their fresh produce outweighs the demand, so the manager Helen has found a fresh food bank where they can donate the excess fruit and veg.

Last summer was a merry one at TFW, they made their very own cider.  Hopefully this year will be as fruitful and I’ll be able to test the finished product. Nothing beats a cool cider especially if it’s homemade on a lovely summer’s eve. Any leftover apples are taken over to the nearby farm, as treat for the pigs. Their lavender patch has proven to be a great addition, not only does it provide a soothing scent it is harvested by the people supported at TFW and used to make scented bags.

It’s not a surprise that TFW are getting behind another project ‘Incredible Edible’. The aim of this project is to turn unloved/unused places into areas to grow fruit and veg. People then can help themselves to the produce. The aim is to show the power of small actions that could help people live happy, healthy and prosperous lives.

Congratulations to all the staff at Town Farm Workshop, I am so impressed with everything you have achieved so far. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and to see what else you can achieve this year and of course to try your homemade cider.


Active Support

1st March 2019 2 Comments

In this week’s blog I will be covering the topic of Active Support, what it is, the benefits and how it can be implemented. At the end of this blog you can watch a video of my younger self, carrying out Active Support with an individual from Brighton. Trust me it’s not one to miss if you fancy a laugh!

Active support is an approach to supporting people with learning disabilities and autism to be involved in everyday life as much as they are able. This includes day to day activities related to cooking, cleaning, shopping; as well as community-based activities which aim to promote access to work and leisure. The emphasis is on accessing ordinary everyday settings and facilities as far as possible. This requires support staff to be active in identifying local community resources and creative in relation to negotiating adjustments to ensure that the activity is accessible to the individuals we support. For example we may be able to negotiate some voluntary or paid employment for someone we support but agree with the employer that a support worker remain with the person at least until the person is comfortable with the role or the work environment. As well as promoting engagement in real and meaningful activities; it should also support people to be part of wider communities and social networks.

Good levels of activity and engagement promote physical and mental health for the people we support. It allows people to remain physically fit and mentally alert, it promotes the development of skills or shared interests, encourages people to make decisions and choices, to have greater control over day-to-day decisions, promotes the development of friendships and relationships, and allows people to develop a sense of worth, self-esteem and understand their value within their communities

Active support has a number of key approaches or strands these include:

Every moment has potential: use every opportunity that you can to involve the person in the activity at hand, if you are planning to go out swimming or to a café; could the person be supported to gather up their swimming costume, towel and purse? What support does the person require to communicate with the pool staff and to pay for the activity?

Little and Often: Some individuals might be able to concentrate on a task for a short period only; other for longer periods. However, it is the engagement in real and meaningful activities that matters, not the time taken to complete that activity.

Graded Assistance: We need to consider the level or type of support that people need to be involved in a task and provide appropriate support. This might be using visual guides or prompts, verbal direction or hand over hand support.

Maximising choice and Control: It is important that support staff understand the best approaches to communicate with and support individuals to make choices and decisions. Staff also require a good understanding of promoting positive risk-taking and the Mental Capacity Act.

It’s important to remember that active support should be an approach that we use with everyone that we support. The approach can and should be adapted to peoples differing levels of need or abilities and indeed preferences.

CMG and Regard will deliver active support training to new staff as part of its week long induction process. The daylong training will introduce staff to the principles of active support and give them an opportunity to practice the skills in a simulated situation.

Please email for advice on how to implement active support in your service or with the people you support.

Case Study – Bosley House – Regard

When L moved into Bosley House six months ago her personal hygiene was extremely poor and her domestic skills were non-existent. Since moving in with the support from staff L has learnt how to prepare and cook meals.

L required support and several prompts a day to make her bed, open her curtains and to do simple tasks such as brush her teeth. L can now use the microwave, oven, kettle, and dishwasher and washes her own clothes. L will ask for the hoover and cleaning products and will clean her home environment almost daily without any prompting.

Since living at Bosley Road L has been on her first holiday to Blackpool and is now planning her next trip to Spain with support from staff. L is involved in all aspects of the planning of her holiday abroad. L is learning small Spanish phrases in order to prepare her for a holiday in a country where people speak differently as L can present challenging behaviour when there is a communication barrier. L does not like loud noises so in preparation for her trip she has been listening to loud aeroplane noises on You Tube to get her ready for the sounds she may hear.

L had very little knowledge into healthy eating but over the last six months has stated that she would like to lose weight. With support L is learning about healthier meals and cooking from scratch and will now buy plenty of fruit and vegetables which has replaced sugary snacks.

It was always thought by health care professionals that L would always have to live in a supported living situation, however after L’s six month review it has now been recognised that with the support and time L could live independently in the future.

This is an amazing example of active support and also what can be achieved with the right encouragement and support from staff.

Case Study –South Hill – CMG

One of our Home Managers at South Hill, a supported living service has undertaken a piece of work to increase the independence of one young woman in relation to handling money. Previously support staff provided considerable support in this area, for example staff would hold the individuals purse or debit card and would make transactions or purchases on her behalf. The young woman was not involved in this process. However, Michelle suspected that the person could develop skills in this area and should have greater control or involvement in relation to managing her money.

Michelle, set out to plan and undertake an assessment of the individuals understanding of money. As the young woman does not use verbal communication, the assessment needed to be completed using photographs. The assessment (which was undertaken with the local authority as part of a wider Mental Capacity Assessment, though planned by Michelle) indicated that the person had a good understanding of where her money came from, how to get money from the bank and understood the values of various coins and notes. Michelle concluded that whilst the person had not previously been handling her money; she had likely learned the processes involved through observing her support workers. Consequently, the person is being supported to have greater independence in relation to handling her money.

At the same time Michelle has been working to improve the communication support provided to the individual; who relies on signing as well as visual communication tools. In particular, Michelle has been working with Tobiidynavox ( to introduce the use of a tablet based communication device. It is likely that the individual will initially use their symbol based software initially.

This is an excellent example of Person Centred Active Support being worked out in a service on a very thoughtful and planned way. It is essential that managers and support view the Mental Capacity Act as a tool to support the independence and decision making by people with learning disabilities.

Click here to see a hilarious video of my younger self carrying out Active Support with someone from Brighton.



Visits to Regard Services

19th February 2019 1 Comments

I am very keen to visit as many Regard services as possible so that I can meet the people we support and the staff who work with them.  So far, I have visited 57 services and intend to visit all of the Regard services by the 22nd March.  I am hugely struck by the commitment shown by Regard staff to the people that they support.  It is clear that there are very strong relationships between staff and the people that are supported and the staff clearly have the people’s best interest at heart.  I am also struck by the commitment, skills and competence of both the Home Managers and Locality Managers that I have met in Regard.  There is clearly a commitment to providing front line staff with the support they need in order to ensure people have the best possible quality of life.  It is also clear from the people I have spoken to that Regard as an organisation is very much valued by both the people who are supported by it and staff who work for it.

These characteristics that I have described are very similar to CMG and it makes me very optimistic that we will be able to integrate the 2 organisations successfully and build on strengths of both.

I saw lots of examples of good practice visiting Regard services.  One example I would like to highlight is the excellent type of work carried out at Restormel House which has a fantastic track record in helping people move on more independently.

The service writes “journeys” for people who have moved on from Restormel.  R moved from Restormel to Regard’s supported living service in Torquay (The Quays), to see his story email

Some other examples of good practice at Restormel House are:

They have been working with the Diversity officer from Devon & Cornwall police to speak to people supported about keeping safe, cyber bullying and hate crime.

One person wanted to visit a theme park to meet his heroes the Power Rangers.  With the help of staff he developed his own risk assessment which involved him thinking about what could go wrong and what he wanted staff to do to support him.

I look forward to meeting you all in person and thank you very much for your continuous hard work and high quality care and support.


Dyke Road Tenants set to Perform at Brighton Fringe

12th February 2019  Add comments

In this week’s blog I would like celebrate and share the great achievements of the 283 Dyke Road tenants. They are a lively bunch, you can usually find them preforming at one of CMG’s annual events or at one of the many events around Brighton.

The house consists of 8 individuals including a budding entrepreneur who was successful in securing funding at CMG’s Dragons Den last year, a DJ who plays regularly in Brighton and a lead singer of a rock band.

The tenants from 283 Dyke Road have recently made two successful movies which they wrote, directed and starred in. One is soon to be released the other was displayed at a film festival in Spain. Follow this link to see the first movie they produced back in 2017:

This year they’ve decided to change their artistic direction. Most of the tenants enjoy musical theatre so they have signed up to perform at the Brighton Fringe Festival. Brighton Fringe is the largest open-access arts festival in England. It embraces every art form and every form of artistic expression, and supports both new and established performers in trying out new work and taking risks.

To get themselves performance ready, every Tuesday the tenants participate in a drama session with Max, a Drama Therapist from ‘Off script’. During the sessions they explore different ideas and themes. The play is likely to involve some of their favourite characters and will take them on a journey where they will try to find their destiny. It will include a street dance performance from the 283 Street Dance Crew (who last year performed at the Brighton Dome) and the amazing DJ Rich (who is also booked to perform at the Blue Camel Club in March).

The tenants are involved in the whole production of the play including making stage settings, props and costumes. Two of the tenants will be in charge of stage management and ushering.

They will be performing at Deer Lodge (behind 287 Dyke Road) on Dyke Road every Tuesday evening throughout May between 6-7pm. Be sure to get down there and check them out!

The tenants have recently decided that they will be setting up their own Facebook page and YouTube channel to showcase some of the amazing things they do! New tenant to the service Josh, is keen to be 283’s social media manager and will be using 283’s house tablet to make updates to the page. Families and friends of the service will be able follow their page and keep up-to-date with 283’s news.

At the last tenants meeting they decided on their vision for 2019, to focus on Friendship, Goals and Good Life! Goals are really important to them, and every year they set 2-4 goals which are displayed on the lounge wall, including pictures of what they have achieved so far.

Congratulations 283 Dyke road, you are doing a fantastic job! We are looking forward to seeing what you can accomplish this year!

The Podcast area of our website is no live, check out  latest one on Sex & Relationships:

  Add comments

The Successful Launch of Two Positive Behaviour Support Initiatives

22nd January 2019  Add comments

In this week’s blog would like to celebrate the success of two new Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) initiatives that were launched at the House of Commons back in October last year.

Positive Behaviour Support is a multi-component framework that can be utilised to effectively understand and support people with learning disabilities, and/or autism, and/or behaviour that may challenge.

CMG along with Consensus, Choice Care Group, Dimensions, Pathway for Care, parent carers and Surrey County Council, joined forces to create the PBS Quality Experience Tool (QET) and the Surrey Coaches Programme, aimed at transforming care for people living with learning disabilities and other associated complex needs.

The aims of the Quality Experience Tool (QET) include advising services what they do well and how they can improve, ensuring inclusive care for each individual by involving families/staff and enhancing quality care and support through sharing ideas, resources and training.

The QET measures the experience of the people being supported by a service through 6 outcomes:

  • Support and service are person centred
  • Staff are well supported
  • Environment meets my physical sensory and social needs
  • Family and friends are involved in my support
  • I have opportunities to progress
  • My behaviour is understood

The Surrey PBS Coaches Programme has been created in response to the national transforming care agenda. The programme is an intensive 8 month course, comprising of 64 hours of teaching and an additional 100 hours of work based assessment. The course offers a comprehensive training opportunity that truly values the talents and skills of support staff across the country.

These two initiatives were launched on 23rd October at Portcullis House with the support of Tom Brake MP.  The launch event featured speeches from Ray James, the National Director of Transforming Care and Viv Cooper, the CEO of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, as well as a Q&A session with all speakers.

Lynsey Way, previously Head of the Positive Behaviour Support team at CMG, spoke jointly with Thomas Moore from Surrey County Council, to discuss the creation of the tool and coaches programme, highlighting the way the collaborative working group had worked closely together for the first time in the sector.

Other speakers included David Miland from Pathway for Care and Samantha Corbit from Dimensions who explained how the multi-component framework will be used to effectively understand and support individuals.

I hope all of our guests enjoyed the day as much as I did, and understood how it will not only help providers to improve the quality of support provided, but will also be a living example of collaboration and community between skilled professionals and families. Surrey County Council were involved in its launch as part of its commitment to requesting every provider in the region to implement the tool with ongoing support and mentorship from the network.

I am delighted that we joined with Surrey County Council and other care providers to officially launch these very important tools and programmes which will essentially help us to provide an even greater level of care for individuals in need across Surrey and the surrounding areas.

It has been brilliant to share best practice, expertise and skills with each of the organisations, which has led to the creation of these truly collaborative and high-quality resources. We look forward to seeing these practices and approaches, which we know first-hand work so well, embedded within other care organisations and transforming the culture of care in the sector.

Head over to our Facebook page to keep up to date on the people we support:

PBS Launch








PBS launch
  Add comments

Raising the Bar II

14th January 2019 1 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!”



A Reflection of 2018

7th January 2019 1 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.


Celebration & Recognition at the Staff Awards

22nd November 2018 1 Comments

We wrapped up this year’s events with the annual staff awards and what a night it was! This night has become a firm favourite in the CMG events calendar and it always feels me with pride to hear about the staff’s wonderful achievements. They are at the forefront of CMG and work tirelessly every day to improve the lives of others, keep a high quality of care and efficiently run the services. This night is for our staff, to celebrate, give recognition and to honour their accomplishments.

Each year the judging to choose the winners for the staff awards gets harder and harder. This is a true testament to the amount of great staff we have. The judging panel is made up of staff and people we support and this year it took 3 hours to pick the finalists.

When I first arrived at the venue there was a bit of confusion and much to Lilli’s (Event & Marketing Manager) horror one of the boxes of awards had disappeared! Luckily, it was found just in time.

A three course sit down and meal and drinks, were followed on by the awards presentation and a disco. Jamie Cotton from the Green, got everyone dancing with his party tunes.

Here are examples of some of the fantastic nominations:

 Lead support worker 1st place

 “Since a new manager was appointed Lily has continued to shine, she has continued to act as a mentor to new staff and remains a dependable and reliable senior member of the team. Lily continues to be an integral part of what makes Lewes Road and the people we support thrive and the service would not be the same without her.”

 Manager of the year 1st place

 “Victoria will do everything she can to make sure that the residents have a healthy and best life possible she gives 110% of her time to every one of them; she will go above and beyond with all the residents.”

 Regional Director of the year

“I admire John’s support and natural caring attitude towards the staff and most importantly the people we support. John is respectful, transparent and works with honesty and integrity. He is kind and caring and has a strong character which we all respect.”

Team of the year

“It takes a special person to work with vulnerable and special people. The staff at the Paddocks work together to bring the best out of everyone. The team are my son’s family, and to see his face light up when they come and pick him up from being at home for a week says a lot about these wonderful staff.”

 “The team support the tenants with such devotion and enthusiasm. One lady moved to Bales court straight from hospital where she was bedbound and unable to walk. Within weeks of being at Bales Court the staff supported her to stand and walk with advice from the GP and Physio.”

I would like to congratulate all of our finalists, and also thank all of the other amazing staff we have at CMG. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.

To keep up to date with our latest events and photos head over to our Facebook page

Staff awards 2018











Members of