‘Sense, Active Together’ – New funding to expand our Sense Sports Programme.

According to research carried out by Sport England, almost half (42%) of disabled people are classed as inactive, which means they do less than thirty minutes of exercise a week. This rises to over half (51%) among people with complex disabilities.

At Sense, we are familiar with the disparities that exist and are working towards ensuring that no one is left out of life. There are so many physical, mental and social benefits to being active but unfortunately there aren’t the same opportunities available to people with more complex disabilities. 

That’s why we’re excited to be launching a new three-year project, ‘Sense, Active Together’ building on our foundations of supporting people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities to be active, and aiming to reach another 2,500 people.

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Connecting Communities: Sense Walks

A group of people stood outside and posing for a photo. They are wearing orange Sense tshirts and are holding Sense purple and orange banners and balloons.

What is Sense Walks? 🚶

Every June, for Deafblind Awareness Week, communities join forces up and down the country to put on a Sense Walk with the idea of bringing everyone together in their local communities. Sense Walks helps us spread the word of the work we do and the support we provide to people in local communities. Filled with bright colours, many balloons, face painting and much more, people came together to spread awareness of Sense.

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Re-fuse, re-made into art with RE-STORE.

A selection of toys that are laid out on a table. From books to noisy play toys, they are all brightly coloured.

Do you have any unwanted bric-a-brac taking up space? At Sense, we are taking those items that have been gathering dust and giving them a new lease of life by turning them into unique works of art. 

We are very excited to once again, collaborate with RBSA on a mentoring programme connecting professional artists with the people we support. This brilliant new programme of activities is called Making Together, which is supported using funding by Arts Council England.

Making Together involves several different mentoring and art workshops between artists and Sense art-makers with complex disabilities. The aim of the mentoring and making workshops is to help Sense art-makers develop their own artwork for display.

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John has turned his hobbies inclusive to make sure no one ‘slips through the cracks’!

A man is stood smiling outdoors wearing a Sense purple and orange vest and he is wearing a grey beanie hat.

John is not a man with free time, but what little time he has is spent doing what he loves: enabling people to achieve their goals and challenging perceptions of what people think is possible. At 42 years old, he works full time as a Technical Lead (or, in his words, a Professional Geek) at LonRes, runs accessible snowboarding sessions for people with disabilities and is currently training for the Royal Parks Half Marathon. When asked why he continues to run his snowboarding sessions on top of all his other projects, John said he wants ‘everyone to experience what I experienced on my first lesson’.

John has been into technology longer than he has been into snowboarding as he learned to code as a child. During a break in his IT career, he decided to travel where he learned how to snowboard and soon the hobby became a passion. He took an instructors course and was soon teaching in the UK. There was, however, a problem. While teaching in Milton Keynes, he noticed that because there were no instructors or resources, not many disabled people were able to take part in the sport.

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Phil’s RidgeWalk journey

Three people wearing walking clothes and are stood outdoors smiling. There is a man and two women smiling.

The Trail magazine competition offered free entry to the Ridgewalk and 3 guest blogs on its website. As a fledgling writer trying to expand horizons I was tempted. There was the minor issue of 52 miles to cover, but hey I needed a challenge. And the sponsorship target seemed achievable. 

Frankly, this wasn’t the most commendable motivation and somewhat selfish. It got me signed up though –  training would need to be well advanced by the time the winner was announced. Which proved good judgement – I didn’t win but was committed now. No backing out.

Fast forward two months, the first 30-mile training walk under the belt, sponsorship in need of a boost so time to hit social media. Out of the blue came £100 from a business colleague. Turns out he used to be a Sense trustee; his daughter was profoundly disabled from birth and received a lot of help from the charity. Thoughts went back to when we first met, two days after his daughter died, things still raw. Forget business, we just talked. The Ridgewalk was suddenly taking on meaning. Which felt kind of nice.

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23-year-old Beth Jones takes on a 100 Mile Cycle race, and raises money to support disabled adults, like her brother.

🚴 23-year-old Beth Jones was inspired to take part in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 to raise money for Sense, after seeing first-hand the difference we make to the people we support, including to her brother Callum.

Beth’s brother Callum has epilepsy and severe learning difficulties, and attends our Sense day centre in Streatley, Bedfordshire. We support Callum by removing barriers of communication, which gives him the opportunity to connect and experience the world!

Girl and boy are posing for a photo together.

“Despite the challenges that Callum faces, he has always been happy, curious and engaged with all the world has to offer.” – Beth

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Free Personal Care: Is it the solution to the social care crisis?

One person is being supported to have her cup of tea given to her.

In a recent report the Government was yet again criticised for failing to find a long term funding solution for the social care system. As we head towards the summer, and a 6 week break for Parliament, there are a lot of ideas being discussed. One of the top proposals for solving the social care crisis is Free Personal Care, but what does it mean, and how would it affect the people Sense supports?  

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Why work for Sense? Find out for yourself at a Job Fair, coming to a town near you soon!

A man is being supported by a lady who is touching his hands whilst signing to him.

Are you looking for a new job?  Or considering a career change?  Sense has a wonderful array of career and volunteering opportunities available, and will be appearing at a series of Job Fairs across the country this year to promote them.

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Together we can do so much: Celebrating Helen Keller Day

Two ladies wearing dresses. One woman is looking at another. They both have their hair tied up.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller.

Many people are familiar with ‘The Miracle Worker’ and the story of Helen Keller. She has appeared in Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures of the 20th century and during her life, rubbed shoulders with the political and literary elite. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg. At Sense, we see her as a communicator, an educator, an activist and a beacon of kindness. From the moment she understood the word ‘water’, she spent her life challenging people’s perceptions of what it means to be deafblind.Today we are celebrating Helen Keller Day. She made it her life’s work to ensure that no one was left out of life and her achievements have inspired people all over the world. We have put together some of our favourite facts about Keller.

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Space to be different: How we plan to make arts accessible to everyone, no matter how complex their disabilities

Man and woman reaching up performing art

We are delighted to be launching our new inclusive arts plan Space to be Different 2019- 2022. The plan sets out how we want to bring art and social care closer together and support disabled artists and art-makers to be leaders in their field. Space to be Different sets out our vision for creating a national arts programme with Sense TouchBase Pears in Birmingham as the centre of excellence in inclusive arts.

See below for the first steps towards making the plan a reality.

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