How our inclusive sports day created opportunities for disabled people to be active

A smiling man with a woman playing table tennis

There are so many benefits for disabled people to be active; increased confidence, making social connections, reducing loneliness, and increased motor skills, to name a few. These are all benefits we’ve witnessed first-hand through our Sense Sports sessions.

But there are also barriers to participation that exist. From perception about what disabled people are capable of, through to practical barriers such as accessibility of venues, transportation, and familiarity of the environment.

So as a new Regional Sports Co-ordinator, having been in post with the Sense Sports team less than three months, I was excited and admittedly a little nervous to be organising my first inclusive sports event, to help raise awareness about inclusive and accessible sport and activities.

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I always leave a Sense Holiday looking forward to doing another

A smiling man and boy

I first heard about Sense from my dad who has volunteered with with the charity for years. He told me about how good they were and thought I should give it a go, so I did! That was around 2012, and since then I’ve volunteered on several Sense Holidays. I’ve been to lots of great places all over England with Sense – from little cottage holidays to activity centres and lots more.

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As CEO for Sense, I was proud to join fundraisers running the Royal Parks Half

A smiling man in a Sense running shirt wearing a Royal Parks Half Marathon medal standing outside in a park

I ran my first half marathon when I joined Sense five years ago in 2013. I have now run Royal Park’s on four occasions. I’ve also taken on the Great North Run (my personal favourite), and London Landmarks last year. So, Sunday’s Royal Park was my sixth Half Marathon.

To give you some context, I was no great athlete at school. I ran my first 10k to see if I could do it. I’d say I’m more a work-horse rather than a race-horse. More slow and persistent than fast and furious. Apart from a positive blip last year when I knocked 15 minutes off my time, I get progressively slower each time. But I must say, it has positively changed my life in so many ways. Continue reading “As CEO for Sense, I was proud to join fundraisers running the Royal Parks Half”

We had a dream holiday when we won the Sense Raffle

A smiling man and woman in summer clothes outside in China

We were delighted when we discovered we’d won the first prize of £4,000 in the Sense Raffle! We discussed what we should do at some length and finally decided it was the ideal opportunity to visit our dream destination, China.

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Mission ‘Pawssible’ – how my guide dog helps me conquer life

A smiling woman with her guide dog

This week celebrates National Guide Dog week. Several people with Usher Syndrome (a genetic condition that affects both sight and hearing) have been in touch with me to ask me how my life changed once my guide dog Ike came into my life. This is my story so far.

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General life experience goes a long way to becoming a Support Worker

A man holding another man to support him

I was a printer for 16 years, then I was made redundant in 2007. I had three young kids to bring up. I didn’t want to work shifts because my kids were more important and I wanted to be at home with them when they were little. So I looked into caring in general and spotted a role with Sense as a Support Worker.

It was just down the road from where I lived. I was really lucky because it was Monday to Friday (very rare for this type of work) with no shifts. It was perfect and luckily I got the job, they took the chance, and here I am ten years later in an incredibly rewarding career.

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Now everyone feels entitled to a priority seat

In an ideal world, everyone could use public transport. As a deafblind person, I really welcome the Government initiative to make this a reality.

Raised kerbs, low steps and staff understanding the needs of passengers is essential. But over the years I’ve noticed an increasing number of people being rude. Accessibility depends as much on people’s attitudes, and they really need to change for a truly accessible transport system to be a reality.

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The voluntary sector can’t tackle loneliness in isolation from one another

 

Two men in conversation outside
CEO Richard Kramer discusses how Sense services can tackle loneliness

Loneliness is a serious public issue deserving of public funds and national attention. It’s well publicised that the issue disproportionately affects older people, with half a million older people in this country going 5 or 6 days a week without speaking to anyone at all.

What is less well known, is its affect on disabled people who may never have the opportunity to establish friendships in the first place. Continue reading “The voluntary sector can’t tackle loneliness in isolation from one another”

I make art that stimulates the senses

A woman holding a cup to the lips of another woman who is sitting in a wheelchair

I’m an artist who focuses on creating concerts that stimulate the senses, particularly sound, taste, touch and movement. I manage Bittersuite, a company that’s pioneering new ways to experience music through all the senses, and the Open Senses Festival.

I’ve always enjoyed making works for all the senses, so I was keen to start working with the charity Sense and their Arts team, when I learned that my work could be used to stimulate and inspire people with complex disabilities and sensory impairments. Continue reading “I make art that stimulates the senses”

I was reunited with Kevin, 10 years after helping him move into Sense supported living

Two photos of the same two smiling men, arm in arm. The photo on the left is 10 years ago, and the photo on the right is present day.

I’ve worked for Sense for almost two decades in many different roles. More than ten years ago, I met Kevin  who was then a young man using Sense day services and living at home with his mum.

Back then I was an education tutor who led art sessions, and my connection with Kevin focused around creativity and art. I’d support and encourage Kevin who’d create beautiful pieces often focused on important events in his life. I particularly recall one piece Kevin created, which was a painting of a beautiful garden, about the passing of his father.

Over the years we built a friendship, and art was our way of connecting.

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