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.

Rebecca Garrad, ALLT Y CHAM FARM HOUSE

“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: https://www.facebook.com/CareManagementGroup/

 

 

 

 

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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:

https://www.facebook.com/CareManagementGroup/?hc_ref=ARQoMcdo9L1G3AvATXX4hWHn8zjxU16KKSIR_bOHOC8lvp5aENkJsbolE7JoA_GZg2c

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 : https://www.facebook.com/CareManagementGroup/ 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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CMG in Bloom!

27th June 2018  Add comments

After a long winter, which seemed to have lasted forever summer has finally arrived! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. What a wonderful time of year!

One of the many things we take great pride in here at CMG, are our gardens! Last week when I visited one of our new services in Reigate, Luke who is a keen gardener and had moved in that very day was out in the garden pulling out weeds. I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Most people within CMG know that I’m a weed fanatic. I will often arrive at a service with a weed I have freshly dug from the ground, shaking it at the manager, “What is this?”. It has become such a thing at CMG that we now do a monthly weeding competition. Anyway, enough about weeds.

When I was recently at the Droveway in Brighton, imagine my glee when I saw the garden had been pruned into a world cup fashion, it is amazing! The four guys who live there are big Brighton fans, and often watch the home games, as they have season tickets. They are equally enjoying the World Cup, especially now with their football pitch garden. You can see some photos at the end of this blog.

There are so many people we support that have made huge efforts in their gardens, including Wayne who lives up in Wales. He has a fantastic vegetable patch with the biggest marrows I’ve even seen. He has had such a successful year of growing he has started his own business, selling his fruit and veg to local people. Impressive!

It’s lovely to see that the local people to one of our services, Little Orchard in the New Forest have been giving up their time to help implement improvements to the garden. They have helped build a raised bed that will enable people in wheelchairs to get actively involved in gardening. This is a product of the Care Home Open day which was held on 21st April. Many of our services opened their doors to the general public to enjoy a day of celebration and festivities.

A few years ago we started CMG in bloom competition. Services enter the competition choosing one of the following categories: most improved garden, best person involvement, or best presented garden. Once all the entries are in, normally during the August weeks our judging panel select a winner from each category. The judging panel consists of staff members and people we support.

With all these keen gardeners maybe next year we’ll enter Chelsea Flower show, dream big!

Summer solstice has now passed and the nights will start to drawing in, so get out into your gardens and make the most of this beautiful weather!

Wayne with his marrow

Flowers ar Willesden Lane

S enjoying the sun in her garden

Football Garden at the Droveway

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Learning Disability Awareness Week – Improving healthcare

22nd June 2018  Add comments

This week’s blog I would like to hand the reins to inspirational young lady, Mary Woodall. Mary has been supported by CMG for just under two years now. The work she has achieved since then is amazing. She is a leading member of campaigning for change, which is a self-advocacy group within CMG.

Mary has been proactive locally in promoting road safety, one example of this she campaigned and succeeded in getting a zebra crossing added to a busy road in her neighbourhood.

She is passionate about promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities, and is actively involved in the supported loving network (national network) which does just that! The network focusses on supporting people with learning disabilities to have personal relationships, and promotes the rights around sexuality.

Next week Mary will be attending the National Learning Disability and Autism awards where she has been nominated for the People’s award. The award celebrates people who give exceptional encouragement and support for individuals with learning disabilities and or autism. She deserves to win this, we will all be rooting for you Mary!

Learning Disability Awareness Week – Improving healthcare blog, by Mary Woodall

As it is learning disability awareness week I would like to share my thoughts on how the health needs of people with disabilities are treated.

I am aware that too many people with learning disabilities die too young, because their health needs are not picked up early enough, or treated properly.

A problem is that people with learning disabilities are thought of as a last thing, that their needs are not as crucial as people without disabilities.

Also, with changes to the benefit system, some people don’t get as much and don’t have jobs. All this affects their health and wellbeing.

I would like to see people with learning disabilities getting better health support, and for all doctors and nurses to be trained in understanding people with learning disabilities and autism.

I would also like to see everyone with a disability having a Hospital Passport, and for the hospital staff actually reading these, so they know how to treat the person.

Lots of people with learning disabilities can’t read or write and need help to make the right choices. It would be good if health issues were always clear and easy for everyone to understand.

It’s quite unfair that too many people with disabilities are not treated quickly enough when they have health issues, and I would like to see health services improve a lot, with better understanding of the people they are supporting.

Mary Woodall

 

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The Celebration of Ageing Well

14th June 2018  Add comments

This week’s blog is about our ageing well event which took place at the end of last month. It was the 2nd year we’ve hosted it, and it was initially created to celebrate and embrace the older people we support.

At first I was rather apprehensive as the weather was forecast to be terrible, which was not an ideal situation considering the event was set to be on the Effingham’s playing fields. Fortunately for us the sun shined for most of the day.

It was a fun filled day packed with all sorts of entertainment, activities, music and games.

The 1940’s and 1950’s theme was so strong, with all the decorations, bunting and people dressed in their vintage attire. It felt like you had travelled back in time.

There were a range of vintage garden games including splat the rat, coconut shy and hook a duck. Which were all thoroughly enjoyed!

Stephen Adamson, CMG’s sports ambassador led the walking football. This was very popular with everyone who attended I even caught some of the regional directors joining in.

Michael Fullerton (Clinical Director) was slightly in the wrong era with his ‘Peaky Blinder’ outfit, but looked great never the less. Michael ran a very important session on mindfulness, explaining the benefits of mindfulness for mental well-being, and to gain more enjoyment from everyday life. Mindfulness can help to:

  • increase your awareness of your thoughts and feelings
  • manage unhelpful thoughts
  • develop more helpful responses to difficult feelings and events
  • be kinder towards yourself
  • feel calmer and able to manage stress better
  • manage some physical health problem, like chronic pain

Another person who I’ve been looking forward to see in action for a long time is Joanna Grace. She runs sensory projects nationally and internationally to promote inclusion. She works with people predominantly with profound and multiple learning disabilities or people in the later stages of dementia. On the day she was doing a sensory story session of how flowers grow. She did this using different sensory objects and tools. Working on touch, smell and sounds.

I’ve been doing tai chi for some time now, so when Katie approached me to do a session I was more than happy. For those of you that don’t know, it is a low impact (perfect for the older generation) and health promoting exercise combining deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements.

It can help people aged 65 and over to reduce stress, improve posture, balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs. It was great to share my knowledge with others, hopefully they have taken a few moves they’ve learnt to practice at home. You can see some pictures of me in action at the end of this blog, thanks to Lilli who always seems to catch a photo of me.

The day was finished off in true CMG style with lots of singing and dancing. Vintage singer, Tania Rodd was fantastic she sang classic songs from the 40’s and 50’s including songs by Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and more. Quite a few people we support got up onto the stage and had a sing along too.

It was such a great day, and there was something for everyone. There was even therapeutic massage, which I seemed to have missed out on.

A would like to give a big thank you to Erren Wheatland (Clinical Educator)and Katie Reid (Health Care Facilitator) for all their efforts in creating this wonderful day, it was well thought out and planned. They really know how to bring the CMG magic alive.

Pam Hirsch, Regional Director Said: 

“Many congratulations to all of you involved in organising such a fun day. I really look forward to next year’s event, which I wouldn’t miss for the word!”

Cheryl Bishop, Regional director said:

“Thanks Erren and Katie for such a brilliant day yesterday. I know that everyone from my region really enjoyed it as did I. Roll on next year!”

Please head over to our Facebook page to see more photos: https://www.facebook.com/CareManagementGroup/

Joanna Grace doing sensory stories

 

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi
Showing off my Tai Chi skills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M and the bearded dragon

 

 

 

 

 

Mary & Elmi
Mary & Elmi
Tania Rodd, vintage singer
Tania Rodd singing her heart out!

 

 

Erren & Nicole
Erren & Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

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Importance of Employment – Joint Blog with Sharon Allen, Chief Executive of Skills for Care

7th June 2018  Add comments

Sharon Allen, Chief executive of Skills for Care, and I have decided to do a joint blog about employment for people with learning disabilities as it’s a subject we both feel very strongly about.

I think that helping a person to get a job can often be the single most important outcome that we can help them achieve.  Not only does it give them more money, it enhances their social network and, in my experience, most importantly has a massive effect on their self-esteem.

In CMG we have an active programme of supporting and encouraging people to get into employment. Sometimes this requires us having to be quite creative to find the right match between an individual’s skills and aspirations and a suitable employment opportunity. Every month for a number of years we have tracked the number of people we support in both paid and voluntary employment. We find that voluntary employment can often be a very good stepping stone into paid employment. Charity shops in particular seem very welcoming of people with learning disabilities.

We also take our responsibility seriously as an employer. We’ve actively identified opportunities within our organisation to employ the people we support. This includes employing people as receptionists at our Head Office in Leatherhead, as administrators, cleaners, trainers and also as paid quality checkers. We also pay the members of our self-advocacy group, Campaign for Change, (They used to be known as our Service User Parliament but decided to change the name).

We also try to create a culture of celebration recognising people’s achievements in a wide range of areas, including employment. One of the most important ways we do this is through our annual ‘People’s Awards’ in which people we support receive awards in a range of different categories including health, sport, education and employment.

The following brief description of the winners of this year’s employment category will give you a feel for the sort of activities the people are supported to engage in:

First place was given to a young man who has been working at a very prestigious and traditional club in London, in the house keeping department. He was nominated because of his positive, enthusiastic and can do attitude towards his work. Since he started there his confidence has grown day by day.

Second place was given to one of CMG’s paid staff, he has a cleaning role and is said to be ‘a man on a mission’ whenever he is working. No one can get in his way until he has finished his jobs. His registered manager has said that this job has empowered him in many ways. He is more confident in socialising and communicating with others and his travel independence has increased.

Third place was given to another person employed by CMG. He has a care-taker role at Head Office and was nominated for his dedication and unswerving commitment to his employment. He is so enthusiastic whenever he is working. He is saving up his wages to buy something special for himself.

Employment is about so much more than just a wage. Whilst, getting paid for the work you do is important, employment also helps define who we are as a person, builds our social networks and is a significant element in whether or not society values us.

For people with a learning disability and/or autism a job can be the gateway to all of the above and a big boost to their personal self esteem.

Thanks to Peter both for sharing what CMG is doing to support people with a learning disability and/or autism into the workplace, which as he says is something we share a commitment to for all the excellent reasons articulated.

At Skills for Care, as the strategic workforce organisation for adult social care, we are starting our own journey towards employing people with a learning disability and/or autism, which can only be strengthened by our relationship with CMG. We know we have much to do and learn to make sure we can apply everything we have learnt from employers, and people with a learning disability and/or autism themselves.

From our work in the sector we know that employers working in social care can act as role models for organisations in the wider economy. They can show by example that we know the value that people with a learning disability and/or autism bring to our workplace.

To be good employers we have to recognise that our employees with a learning disability and/or autism might need additional support to make sure that they are able to do their job well at all times.

Skills for Care’s work on workforce productivity https://goo.gl/yf416j shows that there are five main factors associated with productivity. These are culture, leadership, employee wellbeing, learning and development and digital technology. All of these factors will apply to the employment of people with a learning disability and/or autism as well as for the whole workforce.

The culture of organizations needs to value the importance of each and every one of our employees – whatever their role (and perhaps status) in the organization is or their additional support needs are.

Leadership in organisations needs to show staff teams how people with a learning disability and or/autism make a positive contribution to organisational life. We need to find ways for people with a learning disability and or/autism to use their leadership skills.

Employee wellbeing for people with a learning disability and or/autism could include additional supervision, a different pattern of breaks, co-worker set-ups and help with accessing or understanding other employment benefits such as pensions and wellbeing initiatives. All of this well-being support must be done sensitively and discretely.

Learning and development needs to include everyone. Just because someone has a learning disability and or/autism doesn’t mean they can’t learn. Everyone’s preferred learning style is different whether you are disabled or not.

 Digital technology in our organizations needs to work for everyone. We must never assume that someone with a learning disability and or/autism wouldn’t be able to use technology as part of their work contribution.

It’s not enough to give someone a job. As a responsible employer we need to support and empower our employers and the 1.45 million strong workforce, including learning disabled colleagues and/or colleagues with autism.

 

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Dragons Den CMG Style!

1st June 2018  Add comments

Last week we hosted our first very own Dragon’s Den, based on the hit BBC 2 programme. The idea first came to fruition when Michael Fullerton suggested doing something to promote small businesses and personal start ups within CMG. The idea took off from there!  I have always felt very strongly about the importance of supporting and encouraging people into employment. Not only so they can earn money for themselves but also to increase their independence and confidence. We advertised this event all across the organisation calling for anyone who had a passion that could be turned into a business or an entrepreneurial opportunity.

Michael Fullerton (Clinical director), Andrew Wasley (employment officer) Simon Tobin (person we support and trainer) and I made up the judging panel. Each person had 30 minutes to present their ideas to the panel and suggest an amount they would like the dragon’s to invest.

I am so impressed with all of the candidates. Each proposal was well thought through, with clear market strategies and a plan of what funding and other support they wanted from CMG. A key strength with each proposal was the obvious talents of each person. This demonstrates that with creative support, people can maximise use of their natural skills and interests to benefit themselves and their communities. For the majority of the population it is quite a daunting thing to stand up and give a presentation to a panel of judges, let alone ask for financial support. Imagine all of this with the added difficulty of a learning disability.

Each candidate was successful and was offered a monetary sum, and help with marketing and advertising. The candidates that had products to sell have all been offered their own stall at The People’s Conference (26th July).

Once a month for the next year Andrew Wasley will be getting updates from the candidates and their home managers to report back how their businesses are going, and to offer any additional support.

The day was such a success it now has been firmly placed into the CMG events calendar. I’m excited to see what next year will bring.

“The six people, who stepped forward with a wide range of exciting enterprises and opportunities did not disappoint. I look forward to seeing how each enterprise evolves” Michael Fullerton

Please see below for pictures from the day:

Artistry by akmd (card business where people can colour in their own cards), The dragons offered £150 towards her £1000 request, support with approaching local independent shops and a stall at the Peoples Conference, social media to tie in with her blog and a card stand and honesty box at Leatherhead.
‘Cakes and Bakes’ was awarded the full request of £156.64, he was also offered marketing support and a stall at the People’s Conference.
“Playing party music in Hampshire” awarded £175 to cover lights, CD’s, T-shirt design and CD covers. He was also offered social media coverage and the design and distribution of flyers internally.
“The Pesky Dragons” Michael, Andrew, Peter & Simon
“Design & Print Business” was awarded £150 to buy canvasses and paints together with social media coverage and a stall at the Peoples Conference. The Dragons gave suggestions of selling prices and locations such as local markets and for him to sign his work. He will also have a stall at the Family Conference and the People’s Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

“Windsor Vegetables” was offered his full request of  £150 to get stocked up for the next 2 seasons with seeds and gardening equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Gourmet Cakes” Gourmet Cakes was offered the full amount of £110 for equipment and start up ingredients and she was also offered a stall at Peoples Conference and internally printed flyers.

 

 

 

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