A new disability arts festival is coming to Birmingham

A man wearing headphones and a smiling woman

For years, Sense has been supporting people with sensory impairments and complex communication needs to be creative through arts workshops that explore everything from painting, to using vibrating backpacks to experience sounds.

With our new Birmingham-based multi-purpose venue, TouchBase Pears, there’s now a permanent space for artists and disabled people to come together and collaborate in new creative ways, including an arts festival taking place in May.

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How Marcos opened a tuck shop to raise money for charity

A smiling man in an accessible shopping trolley / wheelchair

My name is Marcos. I’m a wheelchair user and have cerebral palsy, which affects my speech and movement. Two years ago, I had a dream to open my own tuck shop at the Sense Centre that supports me. I told one of my managers about my idea, and it evolved from there.

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One great way to step up your step count

A large group of men walking through a corn field

As a fitness trainer with a decade of experience, I often tell my clients one of the most powerful ways to improve health is walking.

We’re recommended to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, which is about five miles. It sounds like a lot, but the majority of us can – and definitely should – be hitting this achievable target. With all the trackable technology like Fitbits, Apple watches and phone apps, it’s very easy to follow your day to day movements. But it’s also all too easy to find an excuse not to step up to the challenge.

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Even with a disability, it’s possible to have an adventure

A smiling man stands in the woods with a sweeping view of the sky and trees behind him

My name is John Churcher and I have a condition called Usher Syndrome, which affects both my sight and hearing. This summer I’ll be walking 52 miles in 24 hours for Sense, because I want to show that even with a disability, it’s possible to have an adventure.

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My proudest achievement of 2017 was walking 52 miles in 24 hours

Two smiling young women with their arms around each other in a field

If you’d told me this time last year that I’d have walked 52 miles in 24 hours, I wouldn’t have believed you. Two back-to-back marathons sounds like a huge challenge, and to be fair, it’s pretty tough! So when I finally made it to the finish line at last year’s RidgeWalk, it proved to me I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

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Being a Support Worker is about helping build confidence and communicating differently

A smiling woman and smiling young boy

I’ve worked at Sense for nearly 21 years as a Communicator Guide, and since 2010 as a Children’s Intervenor. Both roles are about my supporting people who have sensory impairments and complex communication needs. That could be a trip to the supermarket, a day out at a theme park, or closer one-to-one support.

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A love of music connected Michael and volunteer James on a Sense Holiday

Whilst I was studying for my A-Levels, I decided to gain some extra experience volunteering on a Sense Holiday. It seemed like a great way to achieve my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. But I never imagined I’d come away with the experience, memories and bond I developed with Michael, the young man I supported. Looking back, it was through a mutual love of music that enabled me and Michael to connect and communicate.

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I’m proud to be a woman who just happens to have disabilities

Jo-Ann Moray

Today is International Women’s Day. First and foremost, I’m a woman. I have the basic rights to aspire to be the best I can be, maximizing on all opportunities to reach my full career potential. The fact I have Usher Syndrome is irrelevant.

Yes, like others, I face many challenges, but on the whole, I’m a woman with career aspirations. I seek to achieve my hopes and dreams just the same as that of a non-disabled person in an equitable fashion, regardless of my gender identity or my disabilities.

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I’m flying the flag for deaf women’s rugby and disability rights

A smiling woman wearing an England Deaf Rugby Union t-shirt

As a deaf woman, mother and rugby player, I was honoured to be selected to head to Australia this year with the World Deaf Rugby 7’s. I’m really excited to get to Sydney where I’ll not only be flying the flag for England, but raising awareness of the importance of inclusive and accessible sports for disabled people.

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