New Transgender Easy Read Booklet

27th September 2018  Add comments

This week’s blog is about our new easy read booklet that is focused on transgender support.

 The topic of transgender identity is often seen as taboo. In this day and age this shouldn’t be the case, imagine this coupled with a learning disability. The general response is silence. The assumption is that many people with a learning disability don’t have the intellectual capacity to make complex decisions for themselves, including around gender identity.

This is untrue, like many people without learning disabilities who experience gender dysmorphia it can be frightening to speak out about these feelings. As often the right support and information isn’t available and people are prone to prejudice, intimidation and harassment. In turn, this can leave people feeling isolated, depressed and lonely without the confidence to express their true thoughts and feelings about their gender identity.

At CMG we aim to support people to break barriers and give people the opportunity to express how they are feeling in a safe place. In turn, supporting people to have fully inclusive and empowered lives.

Michael Fullerton has been at the forefront of this publication and has worked in collaboration with people supported by CMG, CHANGE and Choice Support to make it possible. Here is what he has to say.

Michael Fullerton, Clinical Director

“We support a small number of people with learning disabilities and/or autism who identify as transgender, or who may be questioning/confused about their gender preferences. Indeed some people may be internally questioning their gender identity and have not communicated that to others. Or they don’t know how to and/or are fearful of ‘coming out’.

We felt it important to ensure CMG’s support teams were equipped with information, knowledge and a positive attitude to ensure everyone’s gender preferences are fully understood, supported and respected. With this in mind, we met with the Clare Project in Brighton to gain a better understanding of the everyday practical issues and difficulties faced by trans men and women. Following this we decided to ask people we support (who are trans men or women, or non binary) if they would assist in developing an easy read booklet focused on transgender support. This booklet could then be used by people we support, individually or in groups, as well as a guide for support staff to assist with discussions they may have with the people they support.

In order to facilitate the process of collating and designing the booklet, we worked in collaboration with Shaun Webster and Jez Coram from CHANGE ( ). CHANGE held Focus Groups with people supported by CMG and Choice Support, as well as managers of services. The resulting booklet will be available shortly, and be freely available on CMG’s website.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Shaun and Jez from CHANGE and Thomas Doukas from Choice Support for their commitment to this publication”

I will now leave you all with a quote from Stevie Barnett who has recently identified as a trans woman.

Stevie Barnett, C4C (Campaign 4 Change) Member

“I knew from a young age I was in the wrong body, but I was too scared to talk to anyone about how I was feeling. I thought people might laugh at me and be horrible. I started to make the transition a few years ago, and wish I’d done it sooner. If you are feeling confused, talk to someone don’t be scared. I think this new booklet will be good to help people get more support and information. I’m looking forward to reading it”

To find out more about CMG and to see some of our photos and videos follow us on Instagram @Online_CMG or check out our Facebook page

CMG Award Ceremony, Imber Court, East Molesey.
CMG Award Ceremony, Imber Court, East Molesey.
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Manager’s Conference with Damian Hughes, Liquid Thinker

22nd September 2018  Add comments

Each year we hold a conference for the Manager’s from our services. As you can imagine due to the nature of their work, getting them all in the same room at the same time can be challenging. This is why our annual conference is such an essential and useful tool. It gives us the opportunity to brief all the manager’s, exchange information, brainstorm, review and initiate polices and very importantly build morale. This year’s conference had a rather different spin to it compared to previous years. This was a direct action from the feedback we received from the managers the year before. They felt they needed more time to network and connect with other managers.

Winner (Manager of the Year) at last year’s staff awards, Kennedy Phale opened the day and introductions. He spoke about what is important to him in terms of his service and staff and about the day to day challenges that he can be faced with and ways in which to tackle them.

He was followed on by our first keynote speaker, Founder of Liquid Thinker, change management consultant and author of seven best-sellers, Professor Damian Hughes. He uses his experience and background with sport along with change psychology to find the best ways to create a winning mindset.

He spoke about the 5 STEPS to creating a winning mindset:

  • Simplicity – Emphasise the need for leaders to be ever-mindful about communicating one simple message at a time.
  • Tripwires – Generate interest and curiosity, let people discover for themselves. Open the door for people but let them think and discover for themselves. It’s much more satisfying to find the solution to a problem yourself than have someone else solve it for you.
  • Emotions – The way to make people care about something, is to make them feel.
  • Practical – Make our ideas clear.
  • Stories – Tell stories to get people to act on ideas.

I would recommend to everyone to go and experience one of his talks. I think I’m not alone when I say that his words were thought provoking and inspirational, and believe that each and every one of the mangers that were present in that room have taken something away from it. I certainly did.

One of my highlights from the speech was when Regional Director, John Nicholson was asked to be a volunteer. Damien Hughes managed to embarrass him in front of the whole room, he did however earn £10 for his efforts.

After lunch, saw the new addition of the networking/team building activities. People were split in to four groups of 30. It was a race against time and the other teams to get a sequence of pictures from in the right order. This was one of my favourite parts of the day, especially because my team won! The aim of the activity was for people to network and to work as a team to solve a problem.

The second speaker of the day was Polly Falconer, mental health lead. She started her session with a bit of karaoke, which certainly woke everyone up! She told a moving story of the struggles she has faced and how she overcame them. She defined stress and talked about the differences between stress and pressure and how to cope under these circumstances.

The day was wrapped up with reflections on what everyone had learnt from the day and how the managers could take this information back to their staff teams and put it into practice. Our managers are critical to the success of their teams and are the people that drive CMG. We must strive to create a winning environment where talent is natured and developed. Where we communicate a shared vision, and tackle challenges and pressures together.

I hope everyone enjoyed the conference as much as I did. Please see below for moments that were captured during the day.







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8 years of the Notorious Athletics Championships

4th September 2018 1 Comments

Last week saw the 8th year of our notorious Athletics Championships.  I know I say this a lot but we really do have some amazing events throughout the CMG calendar, but I must say the Athletics Championship is by far my favourite. It is a day where everyone comes together to enjoy, support and celebrate the success of people we support. There is always a strong sense of team spirit and togetherness and of course a healthy portion of competiveness. I’m always proud to see so many of our staff rallying together to make it the success it is. Not only does it promote health and wellbeing, it builds rapport within teams and gives the people we support a great feeling of achievement self-worth.

The day included a range of track, field, throwing and team ball games. As well as the egg and spoon race and sack race. A specialist bike company was hired that provides bikes to support a range of different needs. The bikes include hand bicycles, wheelchair bicycles, tandems and recumbent cycles. I loved seeing everyone whizzing on these which such glee on their faces.

At the CMG we put strong emphasis on inclusion. We want each and every person that we support to have an opportunity to participate in the day. Katie and Erren always create an amazing sensory wheelchair obstacle course. This event focuses on the sensory side of engagement. Through touch, sounds and sight. We also hold a wheelchair basketball match, and a wheelchair race which both get very competitive.

Much to our Marketing and Events Manager’s (Lilli) delight, the Zorb Football which she insisted on hiring this year went down a treat, albeit quite a few aching bodies afterwards. Somehow she even managed to coax the senior management team into a competition against the PBS team. I feel like there should have been some kind of briefing beforehand as not until half through the match and one goal down, I realised I was aiming for the wrong goal and playing against my own team. Of course not due to my lack of football knowledge.

We had the pleasure of welcoming the Mayor of Sutton councillor Steven Cook and his wife Pauline Cook to the event. They arrived in time to watch the warm which included lunges and jumping jacks strangely enough they didn’t take part. They spent a few hours watching the various races and meeting some of the people we support. One person was so taken with the Mayors medals, he asked if he could have them. The Mayor asked our health and safety officer (Faye Doncaster) who was running the Zorb football what it was. She promptly replied, ‘positive risk taking’ just as someone went flying out of the arena.

The traditional Tug of War this year was again no mean feat. At the end of a tense and gruelling battle, England finally won. Wales are determined to retake the perennial trophy next year.

I would like to say a big thankyou to Michael (Clinical Director) and Lilli (Events & Marketing Manager) for all of their efforts in organising this day. We are now looking forward to our ‘Let’s Get Physical’ event that will be held at the Tooting & Mitcham sports club on 19th September. This event is to all, please send an email to if you want to find out more.

I will leave you with a quote from the talented Para Olympian and 2 time gold winner (Rio Olympics) Georgie Hermitage MBE, who was invited to present the winners on the day with their medals. It was fantastic to have her, she gave great deal of encouragement and support to the people doing the events. Georgie was very impressed with everyone that took part, especially with one person we support. She recorded his running times and believes he could qualify as a Para Olympian, watch this space!

 “A disability doesn’t define you, you can achieve anything you want with the right support, drive and passion. Never give up!”

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CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL
CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL
CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL
CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL
CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL
CMG Atlethics day. David Weir Leisure Centre, Middleton Rd, Carshalton SM5 1SL

The Importance of Social Inclusion

29th August 2018  Add comments

Each week I send out to all CMG users, good examples of social inclusion that are happening in and around the organisation. I feel very strongly about the importance of promoting equality of opportunities. People can be excluded from society for many reasons, not only people with learning disabilities. It could be due to financial hardship, being unemployed, youth, old age, poor education the list is endless. In the world we live in it seems ridiculous to still have that kind of discrimination amongst us. When people don’t fit in the mould that is deemed as ‘normal’ they can be overlooked. This is completely wrong. Every person should feel valued and important and have the right to employment, adequate housing, health care, education and training.

When I first started working in this sector around 30 years ago, I came across a piece of research that has stayed with me. It’s as powerful now as it was when I read it all those years ago. John O’Brien marked out a framework for what makes a good quality of life.

These are the five areas that he proposed were essential to support people to fulfil their needs:

  • Sharing ordinary places
  • Making Choices
  • Developing abilities
  • Being treated with respect and having a valued social role
  • Growing in relationships

This framework is ever relevant, and reflects what is required to promote and achieve social inclusion. People must be supported to access the wider community and public services, to have real meaningful relationships, to increase people’s choice and control over their lives and to develop people’s abilities and skills. This will in turn increase people’s independence, self-worth and confidence and eliminate discrimination.

Below are some excellent examples of social inclusion from this month at CMG:

  • One person at Upper Selsdon Road is doing a work placement in a high street shop in Croydon. He will get a level 1 qualification in retail at the end of the placement.
  • One person at Valley Road does voluntary work helping homeless people.
  • One person at 111 Masons Hill Road in Bromley has two paid jobs: he works as an office administrator and also stacks shelves at Waitrose.
  • One person at The Ridgeway has got a paid job with Mencap carrying out telephone surveys.
  • One person at Ty Nyddfa House does voluntary work at a greyhound charity shop. She has received a nomination for her efforts and has been invited to an awards ceremony.
  • People at Hillcrest 2 regularly pack boxes of food and toiletries and give them out to homeless people.
  • A person at Hersham Gardens has a job as a receptionist. She has also joined the local Slimming World club and has lost 11 pounds in 3 weeks.
  • Following the Care Home Open Day, neighbours of our Little Orchard service in the New Forest have started visiting the people who live there. They are also giving up their time to help implement improvements to the garden. This includes building a raised bed that will enable people in wheelchairs to get actively involved in gardening.
  • A person at Pineleigh has a paid internship at Deutchebank in Canary Wharf
  • Two people at Catherine House attend a mainstream jujitsu club.

If you would like to know more on how you can help promote social inclusion please get in touch with our inclusion and wellbeing officer

To see recent photos and keep up to date please like us on Facebook page or follow us on Instagram:


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New Dawn’s 1940’s Memorial Garden Party

15th August 2018  Add comments

Last weekend it was a pleasure to have been invited to the garden party at the New Dawn service in Norfolk. Every year during the Summer New Dawn hold their annual garden parties, and they sure know how to have a party! This year in memorial to the soldiers that lost their lives in Horsford, they had a 1940’s themed party. It coincided this year with 100 years of RAF which is rather poignant.

Everyone including the people supported at New Dawn, had taken on board the theme of the day with many people dressed up as soldiers and nurses. Families were also invited to participate in the celebrations and memorial. Each person was given a ration box for lunch, don’t worry inside there was more substantial food, the box was just a prop! Everyone had there drinks in an enamel cup, so for one moment you did feel like it was the 1940’s again, with strict food rationing. Obviously I’m far too young to have known how it felt in the 40’s but it gave me a good taster.

The whole garden was dressed beautifully, with bunting and straw bales scattered around for people to sit on. Towards the end of the day there was a brilliant 1940’s singer, which went down a treat with everyone. There was also a raffle, but somehow I seem to always miss out on the prizes.

The garden parties were started at New Dawn to have a day of celebration and interaction with families, but not only that every year the money from the raffle is donated to a charity of New Dawn’s choice. For the last 4 years they have been supporting the charity ‘Each’ which is a Children’s Hospice. The hospice supports families and care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. This year they have raised £299.05 and in total over the years they have raised £1500. This is a fantastic achievement, and a very worthy cause. Congratulations! If you would like to learn more about the charity please follow this link:

Martin the Home manager told me how they hold regular parties and lunches, but by far everyone’s favourite event is the Christmas Party which has now been running for 5 years. This year the theme will be ‘Glitz and Glam’.

I will leave you all with a quote from Martin, and some photos that were taken on the day.

Martin Rendle-Hunt, New Dawn Home Manager

“Everyone embraced the 1940’s theme and were interacting with one another. Around 20 family members came, it was wonderful to see them having fun with their loved ones”





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The Inspirational Work of Rebecca Garrard

10th August 2018  Add comments

Rebecca Garrard received £50 worth of vouchers from our ‘Long Service Awards’ scheme a few months back, and when I caught up with her recently she told me that she had spent her vouchers on providing essentials to the local homeless people. I think this is commendable, and she should be recognised for her good deeds hence I am dedicating my blog to her this week.

Rebecca has been working within social care for most of her life. Previously she worked in an institution for people with mental health issues, she had been working there for some time and felt she needed some time out and started working in a completely different sector, travel and retail. Rebecca had a friend working as a manager at CMG who asked if she would be interested in helping at the service for six months. She did and has now been with CMG ever since, 10 years to be precise!

Rebecca has always been a keen advocate for the rights and welfare of the homeless. This started through her husband as he has counselled many people battling with drugs and alcohol addictions. Rebecca has now been helping the homeless for 15 years.

In the past Rebecca volunteered at the soup kitchen, and spent time listening to people, mentoring them and giving advice on what they should do next. Now, Rebecca supports individual people she has built rapport with. She told me about one gentleman that lives on the street near her house, who used to be in paid employment and rented accommodation and has ended up on the street because of the system not due to an addiction. He was in full time paid employment when the companies’ circumstance changed. His contract was changed to part time. This meant he didn’t have enough finance to cover his rent, he then applied for benefits. He was put on a waiting list and in this time his landlord terminated the contract, forcing him to move onto the street as he had no family or friends to stay with. He has now been on the street for 12 months and can’t claim for benefits as he doesn’t have an address. He is very unlikely to get much help from the council as he is deemed as low priority being a 23 year old male. Recently, he left his sleeping bag and the only clothes he owns in a bag which were then disposed of by the council. When Rebecca heard about this she bought (with her CMG employee of the month vouchers) him a new sleeping bag and clothes and two further sleeping bags and donated them to the St Trinity Church who help the homeless.


“The rate of homelessness has increased by 50.9% in Swansea, these are really worrying figures that need to be addressed. The Government policy needs to be changed, but in the meantime we can all do a bit to help. Donate food and old clothes to homeless shelters/charities, if you can spend a little time talking and listening to the homeless, everyone appreciates a friendly face and conversation.”

We really have some truly inspirational people within CMG, and I’m proud to have been able to share this story with you. We should all think how we can help people that are less fortunate than ourselves, even if it is just lending an ear for a few minutes.

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CMG’s Annual People’s Conference

1st August 2018  Add comments

Last week it was out annual People’s Conference, at our Lilliputs site in Hornchurch. It is a day to celebrate each and every person and is by far the highlight of the year for most people at CMG.

Apart from the sweltering temperatures, it was a great success, with the most brilliant and inspiring atmosphere. At CMG we do our upmost to ensure the people we support are given the opportunity to lead the most fulfilling and enriched lives as possible. A part of achieving this is by enabling the people we support to have access to a range of different, unique and innovative experiences, this includes many of the CMG annual events.

This event is one of the most significant events in the CMG calendar and is a crucial opportunity for us to listen and engage with the fantastic individuals we serve. It was also an excellent chance to see so many of the individuals, and the dedicated staff members, joining together to celebrate another brilliant year, and have such a great time.

The day, which is an annual event in the CMG calendar, is aimed at engaging with and listening to the views of the individuals they support, and celebrating and recognising each and every person. The day was kick-started with a presentation from Campaign 4 Change (C4C), which is a group of self-advocates which CMG supports, who campaign about various topics relating to them and others with learning disabilities.

They gave a presentation on their new #MindYourLanguage – a campaign aimed at raising awareness of how staff, health professionals and members of social should speak to people with learning disabilities. They also gave a presentation on hate crime, and how people with learning disabilities should not have to experience such things. Two members of C4C have been supported to create a video on hate crime – raising awareness and tackling the consistent rise year on year of hate crime towards people with learning disabilities in the UK.

This was followed on by the notorious ‘CMG’s got Talent’, which is always the most entertaining part of the day. There were 16 different acts, this included a dance group, and people singing: Tom Jones, Bruno Mars, Elton John, Mamma Mia and more. Stevie, from Brighton sang his own song that he wrote and produced with the help of his key worker. It was amazing, such powerful lyrics.

Throughout the day there were various different things keeping people entertained. The excellent banana stilts band did a fantastic job as usual. I’m amazed at how many songs they are able to sing on demand. The song which went down the best was ‘Go Go Power Rangers’ lots of people were up and doing the moves. My personal favourite was a rendition of ‘I would walk 3000 miles’ with a Scottish/Russian spin to it.

As always the circus performers were a great hit, showing off their skills with a great performance and workshops so people could get involved and learn how to use the different equipment. I saw quite a few of managers giving it ago too, and failing if I have to tell the truth.

In the main hall there were makeup and tattoo stations, activity corner, cake and art competition and the animal area. When people had had enough of the hustle and bustle of the day, they could relax in the quiet room.

A number of people we support had their own stalls selling products they had made themselves, this included cakes, canvases, cards, mugs and T-shirts this was a product of our CMG’s Dragons’ Den which was held back in June. It’s great to see these businesses flourishing.

Everyone appreciated the cool refreshments from The Mr Whippy Ice Cream van. It was so popular, Lilli our events manager had to tell the driver to close his window and drive away before he got completely mobbed!

The day was wrapped up with the ‘Open Mic’ session and the prize ceremony. We often have quite a few big announcements such as marriage proposals, birthdays, declaration of love, and divorces. This year was no different, one gentleman from Brighton proposed to his girlfriend, she said yes!

It was a fantastic day and I would like to say a huge congratulations to everyone who made this possible.

I would like to finish this blog with a quote from our Events & Marketing Manager, Lilli Murdoch.

“I feel very honoured to have been part of this amazing event, and to see the people we support having such a great time and being able to express themselves. Role on next year!”

Please head over to our Facebook page to see more photos from the day:





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5 Years of Supported Therapies and Changing Places Awareness Day

27th July 2018  Add comments

Last week it was the 5th year of one of the most creative and thoughtful events in the CMG diary, supportive therapies day. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend, however I received some great feedback and managed to get a feel for the day through all of the wonderful photos. This event was created specifically for the people we support with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

The event was particularly special this year as it fell on the same day as Changing Places Awareness Day. For those of you that don’t know over a quarter of a million people in the UK need Changing Places toilets but there are only just over 1,000 across the UK. The day is to help raise more vital awareness of the life changing difference Changing Places toilets make to people’s lives. Samir from Dyke road Brighton, was kitted out in changing places attire. You can see some photos of him as well as other photos from the day at the end of this blog.

This is another creation of Katie and Erren’s, I’ve said it before they really know how to bring the CMG magic alive. They seem to make their events look so effortless, but we mustn’t forget how much time, preparation and work that goes into organising these events. They’ve once again done a fabulous job, well done!

There were arrange of different activities to take part in throughout the day. Sensory cooking, sensory umbrella making, T-shirt printing, sensory art, smell-o-vision and the sensory stories in the circus tent.

It’s quite clear from the photos that regional directors Lorriane and Amanda had a great time, they were facilitating the T-shirt painting, but seemed to have got more paint on themselves then on the T-shirts. CMG’s very own mascot Henry the horse was spoilt rotten all day, being fed lots of carrots and given lots of cuddles and attention. Henry the horse also, seemed to have been attacked with paint, he had hand prints on his side along with a CMG painted logo.

The day was wrapped up with ‘Pimp my Chair’ which is by far the main event! The amount of work and creativity that each service puts into decorating the chairs is immense. I think the support staff get more nervous about this then the contestants. I’m really sad to have missed this, but thankfully I’ve seen all the photos. There was a Hogwarts express train, football goal, Prince Harry and Princess Megan and even superman. As always there was a bit of rivalry and disappointment as there has to be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. In my eyes they were all winners, but the competition element really brings another level of suspense and excitement.

Once again thank you to Erren and Katie for putting on such a wonderful day and also to all of the Lilliputs staff who make this day possible.

Katie Reid, Healthcare Facilitator

“Pleasing to see so many people attend, and great to see more relatives involved this year too, such a magical day, full of smiles, fun and laughter.”

“Big thanks to all the guys who showcased their ride for the annual ‘Pimp My Chair’ competition. The imagination and creativity that goes into creating the art work year on year is just outstanding!”

Please see below for a selection of my favourite photos from the day and head over to our Facebook page to see the full album by following the link:

Changing places awareness

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Alderwood’s Yoga Project

20th July 2018  Add comments

This week’s blog is about the success of a new incentive that has been started at Alderwood, The Yoga Project. Exercise is a vital part to having a healthy lifestyle, along with eating healthily, getting enough rest and good personal care. Across the board at CMG we encourage and support people to live the healthiest and happiest lives possible and this is a prime example.

Whilst I was visiting Alderwood’s services last week, Anita Smart (Alderwood’s Managing Director) told me about their Yoga Project which was launched last year and how it is flourishing and expanding.

This initiative was started by Anita, as she has been practicing yoga for some time now and she recognised her health and well-being had significantly improved. Once she had the idea to invite people we support to participate, she wondered why she hadn’t thought about it sooner!

Initially Anita only approached a few people to participate, as she didn’t know how they would take to it. Anita introduced D and R to David Cosserat (Local Yoga Teacher), and that was the beginning, the Yoga Project was underway.

The first few sessions were held at the Ecton offices in one of the board rooms. D and R were naturals and managed to master the poses and breathing exercises they were taught. After only a few sessions R was so excited about her new hobby she decided to create her own yoga book so she could practice further in her home environment. With support from David, Linda, Anita and the resources team R created a yoga routine which could be adapted into a book (easy read) for herself and other people to follow. From there onwards interest in the yoga started to thrive. Linda and Anita started to offer yoga sessions to other people they support, most of these people had already had some experience (practising at their own homes) with yoga thanks to R’s visually instructed book.

One person supported at the Rushden service wasn’t able to attend yoga sessions at the Ecton office site due to anxieties, so David brought the sessions to him. David held sessions at this individual’s home. This was such an enlightening experience for L, he completed a six week course with one hour sessions a week.

One of David’s students’ works for Alpro, a European company best known for their organic plant based products. In one of David’s sessions he told her about the success of this new incentive he was part of at Alderwood. She was so interested and wanted to be involved in some way so she contacted Linda and Anita to tell them about some of the community projects her company supports. The company donated funds to help the project grow. The funds went into creating a yoga studio and paid for additional sessions with David.  Now one of the office spaces has been converted into a serene environment to grow the yoga project further.

Almost all of the people supported at Alderwood practice yoga within their own homes following Rebecca’s book and 17 people actively participate. This number is only set to grow.

I would like to congratulate everyone who has made this project such a success, it is an amazing achievement and you all should be very proud.

Please head over to our Facebook page to see what else has been going on at CMG : and see below for photos of Alderwood people in action:

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Determination and Passion are the Pathways to Success

12th July 2018  Add comments

This week’s blog is about the determination and progression of one of our Regional directors, Donna Thompson. Donna has been working with CMG since 2004, she started as a support lead worker and is now a Regional Director in West London.

Donna’s love for the care sector started at the age of 15. She was offered along with her class mates the choice to study religious studies or enrol in a programme to support people with learning disabilities. She choose the latter. Students who enrolled on the programme were placed into a special school to support the students there with everyday learning in the classroom. This is when Donna realised that this was her vocation, this is what she wanted to do. She felt a real sense of gratitude that she had the opportunity to improve people’s lives, to help them grow and achieve their goals.

After Donna finished school she did an NVQ at college in social care, during this time she supported a 20 year old girl through college and to obtain a job. She went onto achieve her HND (Higher National Diploma) in Health and Social Care. After several work placements and jobs including a nurse assistant in a hospital setting and a health coordinator she left her life in Ireland to start working in London.

The first job she got was as an advisor and educator for young adults with mental health needs who had recently left the care system. She guided and supported them with emotional issues, sex/relationship advice, financial and employment support.

It was after this job where she found the role at CMG. She applied to be a lead support worker at Carlton Avenue, one of PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities) services. She told me at that time gaining a job in care was sort after. People in these type of roles had a sense of pride and gratification.

From there onwards Donna’s career took off! After only two months she applied to be a deputy manager, which she got and then was promoted to service manager after only 6 months. During Donnas’ role as service manager she completed her registered managers award with Stanmore college, won 2nd place for home manager of the year and after 5 years of managing the service and gaining an excellent rating for CQC she felt she had got the service where she wanted it to be and felt she needed to progress and further grow her career. This is when she applied and was promoted to regional director in November 2011.

I asked what she loves most about her role and what the biggest challenges are. She told me that she loves to build trusting relationships with everyone she comes into contact with, mentor, guide and develop her managers to become more confident in their role. Donna said she loves hearing about how people we support are flourishing in CMG. She is always overjoyed to find out that people we support have a better social life than her. It gives her a real sense of achievement and pride to know that she is part of that. She loves the flexibility of her role and how every day is completely different, it is impossible to get bored. Donna said at CMG you are never alone, everyone from head office staff to our clinical team all pull together to improve further.  The biggest challenges she says are how other authorities perceive a private care company and the constant battle with this, recruitment difficulties in this climate and the effect this can have on our frontline staff and people we support.

I think that Donna’s career path has been an inspirational one and hope that staff and or people who are considering a career in care can take something away from this.

I will finish this blog with some advice from Donna and some photos of her.

Donna Thompson, Regional director, West London:

“CMG is a company where you can thrive, be valued for your contribution and where you can progress your career. It is true what people say: CMG does grow its own manager’s and they do it right. However, it doesn’t happen by doing nothing. You need to work hard, be resilient, promote yourself, be confident, take all the training that is on offer to you, and most importantly, challenge yourself. It will be worth it!”

Enjoying time with tenants at South Hill







Manager's meeting 'Christmas meal'

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