As the dust settles on another election campaign and we
return to comparative normality, I have been thinking about what I would do if
I was Boris Johnson today. I can’t deny
that Brexit will dominate much of the coming weeks but what about our domestic
policy, what else would I want to achieve and what would success look like?
Discussions on improving the rights and services for
disabled people was notable for its absence during the General Election
campaign. This just serves to exacerbate the feeling of exclusion and not being
valued by society. It goes without
saying that the priority for me would have to be taking urgent action to
redress the inequalities and injustice that disabled people face on a daily
basis. It’s a glaring injustice that needs to be addressed. I’m calling on Boris to put disability at the
heart of their government, enabling disabled people to live fulfilled and
This year I ran my first marathon and what a difficult choice it was. The decision to run it was tough considering I had not done much long-distance running before. Fundraising was fun but still a challenge as was, of course, the training. Rain, sun or snow I had to be out there putting in the miles. In fact, the easiest part of the whole thing was deciding which charity to run for.
that time again. In just over three weeks the nation will go to the polls. And
as parties have frantically prepared their manifestos and refined key messages,
the third sector has found itself in a familiar chaotic state. Complete
confusion about the Lobbying Act. Letters to write to all prospective
parliamentary candidates. Hustings to organise…
This week is National
Adults Safeguarding Week. The aim of the week is to create conversations
and spread awareness about keeping vulnerable adults safe from abuse.
Adult Safeguarding, as defined by the 2014 Care Act is “working
with adults with care and support needs to keep them safe from abuse or
neglect.” It is an important part of what many public services do, and a key
responsibility of local authorities.
Organisations take different approaches to implementing this into everyday support. We asked what safeguarding means to a selection of senior managers, as well as our Sense User Reference Group (SURG). SURG gives people living with complex disabilities the opportunity to share their views of Sense and our services.
In 2018 we all became worried about loneliness. It is not a new problem. But last year and thanks to the Jo Cox Commission, the Minister for Loneliness, the Campaign to End Loneliness, the disability sector working together, and countless other organisations, it has become an urgent one. We also have our first Loneliness Strategy. 2019 is the year in which we seek to tackle the loneliness epidemic.
Sense, Birmingham Botanical Gardens & artist Justin Wiggan have been working together on ‘Sensory Beings: Internal Garden’ funded by Grow Wild. Everything we do at Sense is inspired by the people we support. Sense Arts creates a more equal platform where everyone has the time and space to take part, in whatever way they want. Sensory Beings: Internal Garden is the next chapter of Sense Arts Inclusive Arts Strategy, ‘Space to be Different’.
Our sport & physical activity programme started in 2014 and has been growing ever since. We have worked with Sport England over the last five years supporting more people with complex needs to be active. This recent funding has come about following our work to date and our ambition to reach more people with complex disabilities who currently aren’t able to access opportunities due to a number of limitations with provision, society, and perception to name a few.
The Sense Awards are a highlight of the year for many of us, myself included, and this year’s event was no exception. Our annual awards, now in their 16th year, are about recognising and valuing the people around us and the difference they make, whether they are a staff member, volunteer, an individual we support or their family carer or sibling. It’s important that we take time out as an organisation to recognise everyone’s contribution and celebrate their successes.
year’s awards were very special again and below are just some of my personal
On his first day in office Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised “we will fix the social care crisis once and for all”. Nearly three months later we’re still waiting for a solution. This week the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which set out the Government’s plans for new laws and policies, only made a vague promise that “Government will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care”. Meanwhile more disabled people and their families are reaching crisis point without the right support.
In the State of
Care report published this week, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who are
responsible for regulating health and care services, concluded that many people
are struggling to access the care that they need. The State of Care report
analyses CQC inspection data, as well as service user experiences and focus
groups to provide an annual picture of health and care services. Although the
quality of many services remains stable, there are considerable challenges
around people navigating the system.
Right by Exeter Central Station, supported by a Roman Wall,
sits a 120-year-old chapel. While this sounds like something out of The Da
Vinci Code, the mystery is solved as soon as you walk through the front door. Cafe
55 feels more like someone’s living room than your standard café. There are
books on the wall and the hypnotising smell of fresh chocolate brownies. It
took a generous Sense supporter to leave a gift in their will before the café
could start and, it has taken the centre manager, Jane, nearly 10 years to get
it to where it is today.
Officially open in 2010, Café 55 started as a trial project funded
by a supporter’s gift in their Will. Jane was hired to run the project and
initially it was open one day a week. As it grew more popular, they expanded to
three times a week. The idea behind Café 55 was to create a safe space for
anyone (connected to Sense or not) to come, relax and eat. It was to provide
work experience and life skills to people supported by Sense.