Now or never – five key principles for the future of social care

A man in an office

Social care finances have been permitted to get to such a dire state that the quality and capacity of the sector has been undermined. There is no easy solution, but Sense has developed five key principles which should inform the Government’s decisions.

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Why I set up my own technology group

Hands holding a smartphoneHello my name is Sarah Leadbetter and I’m one of Sense’s Digital Champions, which is part of the Online Today project. I started to run a tech group in Leicestershire for people with sight loss and other disabilities, to discuss and support using accessible technology.

I’m partially sighted myself, and I wanted a group to discuss different types of technology, for example, what apps are good to use with voice on my smartphone.

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My volunteering experience at TouchBase South East

A woman standing in a cafe
Leila volunteering at Cafe 55, TouchBase South East

Leila, who is deafblind, is a Sense ambassador and volunteers at the community cafe in TouchBase South East. TouchBase South East is one of Sense’s flagship resource centres in Barnet, Hertfordhire. The centre supports people who are deafblind and those with complex needs. In this blog, Leila talks about how much she loves volunteering.


Wow, I’m really happy to volunteer at Sense’s Touch Base South East cafe in High Barnet.

Clare Webb helped me and I’m happy to work there on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.

I started volunteer work at Touch Base SE cafe on January 2017. The lady names are Tracy, Dada and Monica. They are very nice and friendly. Sadly Monica now have leave sense so we have a new chef lady whose name is Jasmine, she is very nice and friendly. Tracy gave me an apron with cafe 55 on it I am very happy, also I will have ID soon.

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How to make yoga accessible for people with visual and hearing impairments

Man assisting seated man with yoga position

My interest in teaching Special Needs Yoga started when my second son was born with Global Developmental Delay – an event which shaped my life and my yoga journey. I realised the potential for Yoga to enrich the lives of people with sensory impairments, and I’ve observed the therapeutic benefits that help many individuals.

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The importance of making activities accessible for older people

Hands weaving paper strips
An older person weaving paper and text

Alex McEwan is an artist who has led a number of Sense arts projects that focus on supporting people with disabilities, harnessing creativity and nurturing confidence. In this post, Alex talks about a project for older people, the bonds they formed, and the incredible access granted by the British Library when project participants visited last year.


We’re constantly told the ‘good’ news, that we’re all living longer. That’s great if the extra years we’re being given are fulfilling, but for many the reality is loneliness and exclusion in a fast-paced world.

Sense asked me to organise an arts project that would focus on the enormous benefits of taking part in a communal activity. With this brief in mind, I set about creating TEXTtile, a ten week arts project aimed at breaking down isolation and connecting local people. Participants were based in Islington, London, were over the age of 55, and had sight and hearing loss.

The importance of making activities accessible for older people has never been more poignant, and will only continue to gather momentum. Older people often live with the challenges of sensory impairment, and many live with additional challenges, such as reduced mobility. But being older, or having reduced hearing or sight, should not spell the end of creativity.

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Spring Budget 2017: Short-term relief for the social care sector

A woman supporting a man with a saucepan

The Chancellor of the Exchequer certainly made us wait, but at long last it seems like the government has recognised the true scale of the issues facing social care today.

Over the years, spending reductions have taken their toll, nudging the state of adult social care finances towards tipping point. The latest figures estimated the care sector was due to begin the next financial year with a deficit of at least £1 billion, an unsustainable situation which experts warned could lead to its collapse.

So it was with a great sense of relief that we welcomed the government’s commitment to spend an additional £2 billion on social care over the next three years, with The Chancellor guaranteeing £1 billion for immediate use in order to stabilise the sector for the next year. This sum of money should effectively see the sector through the next twelve months and divert the demise of the sector which many believed was imminent.

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Now that’s contrast!

People wearing yellow high visibility tops and hard hats walking through a building site
A ‘Hard Hat Days’ tour of the TouchBase Pears site

One of the most important things, if not, the most important for VIs (visually impaired) is contrast.

At one of the recent ‘Hard Hat Day’ site tours for Sense’s TouchBase Pears community hub being built in Birmingham, I shared with visitors how important accessible design is to those who are visually impaired and those who will use the building. I covered contrast, lighting and the realities of being visually impaired and the importance of toilet design.

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It’s now or never for social care

Woman assisting man in shop

Social care is on the edge of a financial cliff, with years of cuts and under investment impacting on the stability of the sector, calling its long-term sustainability into question.

Which is why, ahead of the upcoming Spring Budget, we’re calling on the Government to take action by immediately delivering the substantial cash injection, of at least £1 billion, needed to prevent the collapse of the adult social care sector.

In the short term, this will not only bring some much needed stability to the sector, but more importantly, will offer some relief to the thousands of people across the country currently worried that the vital social care services they rely on are in jeopardy.

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How can we truly transform care for people with complex needs?

A woman and man touching via fingers

Ahead of tonight’s Dispatches ‘Under Lock and Key’ programme on Channel 4, I’ve been thinking about where we’ve come with the NHS Transforming Care programme and how much further we still have to go.

It’s now nearly six years since BBC Panorama broke the story of the Winterbourne View scandal and three years since Sir Stephen Bubb’s review on transforming the commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.  Yet still, we are in the situation where there are over 2,500 people with learning disabilities and/or autism currently in inpatient settings, 63% of whom have been there for two or more years¹.

Whilst I don’t deny that for some people, care in an inpatient setting is something they need for their safety and care, for many others this is not the case and something has to change.

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As a deafblind film critic, accessibility is everything

Michael McNeely in front of the Tornto International Film Festival banner

My name is Michael McNeely, and I am a deafblind film and accessibility critic based in Toronto, Canada. Upon hearing about the Accessible Film Project, I wanted to get involved and show my solidarity. Just like the filmmakers involved in the project, I too face my share of challenges with regards to watching and learning about films. However, I have found my way to being a film critic and to directing a short film with my friends here in Canada.

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