Panorama documentary

24th May 2019 1 Comments

I was shocked and appalled when I watched the recent Panorama documentary about the abuse of people with learning disabilities in a hospital. It showed what can happen in a service for vulnerable people, when a cruel rather than a kind and caring culture develops. I can only imagine how distressing it must be for a parent or relative of a loved one who has a learning disability. You may be wondering “is my next of kin safe?”

I wanted to reassure you that we are constantly vigilant, because we know that there is always a risk that a culture of abuse can develop in a service. We carry out very regular audits of quality in our services, and people are frequently visiting them. I visited 10 services in East Sussex yesterday and am in services most days of the week, as are other members of our senior management team. We train our staff on the importance of reporting any concerns about the care provided to people we support. We also have an independent whistleblowing line that staff can contact anonymously –and those referrals come straight to me.

I don’t believe this issue is happening anywhere in CMG and Regard, and I know that the vast majority of our staff are caring people, who have the best interests of the people they support at heart.

However, these cultures can develop, and we must be vigilant. I would encourage you to let us know if you have any concerns when you visit your loved ones. We take complaints very seriously and investigate them quickly and thoroughly. We have a Relative Liaison Officer, Helen Woods, whose job is to ensure that there is really good communication with families, that you are listened to, and any concerns are addressed. Her e-mail address is

Sometimes it’s not as obvious as what was shown in the documentary, but, for example, staff can start treating people with challenging behaviour as “naughty” and introduce punishments that might be applied with an unruly child. Some abuse is obvious and some isn’t. The best guide is our conscience. If someone sees something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they must act on that feeling. Staff and families must report anything that worries them. Staff should speak to, or e-mail someone senior, and can choose to remain anonymous if they like. They can also report any concerns to our independent whistleblowing line (08000 915 0804). It is the responsibility of all of us to keep the people we support safe, and we will ensure that anyone who whistleblows and does the right thing is protected.

In CMG and Regard the people we support come first, we want them to be treated with dignity and respect at all times and to achieve and fulfil their potential.

It is time for the Government to act. Not enough has been done in the eight years since Winterbourne View. Hospitals like the one we saw in the documentary should be closed. I spent a large part of my career closing long stay hospitals, and I know it can be done. Over a 20 year period we moved around 50,000 people out of hospitals into the community; I can’t believe it’s impossible to achieve that for 2,000 people. There will need to be some hospital beds for the most complex people, in my estimation around 500 in England. The rest should close.

The Government should identify which hospitals will remain open, and should put in place the necessary programme to ensure that they are state of the art centres demonstrating best practice. All the other hospitals should close; each hospital should have a closure plan with a timescale and a named person responsible who is personally accountable to the Department of Health and Social Care. 20 years ago I was personally accountable for closing a particularly challenging hospital and I went up to the Department of Health every 2 months to report on progress.

There is a lack of accountability in the current system with too much talking, and not enough action. I also have to question CQC who rated that hospital as “good” on all 5 areas. When the CQC rating system was introduced, I liked it. More recently I’ve become concerned that it focuses too much on paperwork and not enough on the culture of the service and the outcomes achieved with the people being supported. You can have a pretty institutional service where people supported have dull lives, but the paperwork is in place, and you can get a “good”. On the other hand, you can have a vibrant service where the people supported live full and active lives, staff are highly motivated and person centred, but there is a minor issue with paperwork and you can get a “requires improvement”.
I think there needs to be much more focus on the culture of services, how staff interact with people being supported and outcomes rather than ticking boxes.


Sarah Ghent and her Outstanding’s

20th May 2019 1 Comments

This week’s blog I would like to share great practice from Sarah Ghent and her Outstanding’s. Sarah is a Regional Manager in the Dorset and Hampshire area, 3 out of 5 of her services have been rated by CQC as Outstanding. Firstly I would like to congratulate Sarah on this amazing achievement and secondly, I would like to share her secret with you all.

I recently caught up with Sarah and she told me how previously when every CQC inspectors arrived, staff would scarper, which I’m sure many managers have had the same experience. It is natural to feel apprehensive when an official inspector turns up unannounced, however instead of running for the hills we should be shouting about all the wonderful things we do to improve the lives of others and ensure quality.

Sarah’s style isn’t making her staff recite the outcomes, but changing the perspective of her staff by asking them to share their day to day experiences at work. Sarah draws in on each experience the staff have with the people they support. For example when giving medication she asks staff how they administrate, the time and how it is recorded. Or she’ll ask staff how they communicate and include families with the support of their loved ones. The staff generally don’t realise they cover all 5 outcomes (Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive, Well led) in their daily routines.

Sarah holds sessions with staff using flip boards with an outcome on each. Staff have to write down examples of the different support they give and daily tasks and put them into the right area. These sessions equip staff with the right tools to feel confident when speaking to inspectors. This process takes away the fear and gives them the opportunity to share their fantastic work.

Another addition Sarah made, is creating journeys/story boards for each person they support. All achievements not matter big or small are logged with pictures. This is a great resource to share with inspectors, not only does it act like a prompt for staff, if gives the inspector a clear vision of what life is like for the people supported.  These stories/journeys are also shared with families.

On one occasion when a CQC inspector arrived at one of the services, Carla the home manager had already planned to support someone on an overnight stay in Derby. She felt so confident her staff could cope with the inspection, she didn’t return to be present. She was right the service gained ‘Outstanding’ in 3 areas.

I’m really impressed with Sarah’s methods and feel we can all learn something from the way she empowers and supports her staff.

Sarah Ghent, Regional Manager

“I love what I do, it’s all about making a difference to people’s lives. I am lucky I have such a great group of managers who all support each other. We all work together, share information and celebrate our joint successes. I believe upskilling staff and including them on decision making is the key.”






Please head over to our Facebook page to see our latest news and posts:

Or check out our latest Podcasts:





Visual Aids at Ty-Nant

11th April 2019 1 Comments

In this week’s blog I would like to share examples of good practice at Ty-Nant in Wales, specifically the work they do around autism.

Ty-Nant is comprised of 7 self-contained flats, and is specifically designed to support people with autism spectrum disorders. Each person receives 1-1 support in their individual flats. Ty-Nant staff use the TEACCH approach, which is specifically created for the needs of autistic people. People with autism often find it difficult to process change and moving from one task to another. Ty-Nant staff use a range of different visual aids to organise the environment and daily tasks of each individual, making it easier for them to complete their daily routines.

Active support is practiced at all levels, as the needs of the people living at Ty-Nant are varied. B doesn’t like to be prompted to do a certain activity or a daily task, however if she is left to her own accord she will just sit in her room for hours and not progress through the day. The staff introduced two clocks to her room, one which is set correctly and another which you have to change the time manually. She has an activity/daily tasks schedule on the wall with timings. Once a task/activity is completed the staff change the time on the manual clock to the time of the next task. When the real time clock reaches the same time on the manual clock, B checks her schedule to see which task needs to be completed and completes the task independently.

When B goes shopping, she takes her visual shopping list with her. This means she can do her shopping independently, with very few prompts from staff. These visual aids are also really useful in terms of communication especially in public spaces, as B is partially deaf and it can sometimes be difficult for her to hear what staff are saying.

IP is relativity new person to Ty-Nant, when he first moved in he would throw large quantities of food away from his fridge/freezer. This lead to him being supported to do daily shops which he wasn’t keen on. The team devised with IP’s input, a visual meal planner & shopping list. These included all the meals IP would like to eat that week, and what ingredients needed. This has increased IP’s control and independence, but also gives him clear guidance on what he will be eating and when. Not only has the food wastage dramatically decreased, IP is now more socially included. He now often visits other shops and cafes whilst on his way to do his weekly shop. A simple yet important shopping list has opened up many more opportunities for him.

One very complex gentleman was supported to go on holiday to Cornwall last year. The holiday went perfectly, they visited the beach, museums and went for long walks. He even ate out restaurants with his support staff, which is completely unheard of for this individual. Sara (Home Manager) said this was due to pre planning and assessing all possible risks beforehand. She also said it’s due to her amazing staff team.

Sara Robinson, Home Manager – Ty-Nant

“I’ve been working at Ty-Nant for the last 12 years, I started as a support worker and then was promoted to lead support worker and now I have been the manager for the last 5 years. My staff team are what make Ty-Nant what it is, they are brilliant communicators and are all there for each other. Each member of staff are passionate about improving the lives of the people they support, helping them reach their potential and achieve their individual goals.”












Follow the link to download a copy of our new easy read ‘Transgender’ publication.








Person Centred Approaches at Whitehatch (Regard)

5th April 2019 2 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 1 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 1 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 16 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 1 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:


The Successful Launch of Two Positive Behaviour Support Initiatives

22nd January 2019 1 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

Members of