You will never see plant life in the same way again!

A woman touching a plant with some headphones on and a man is guiding her.

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’.

Continue reading “You will never see plant life in the same way again!”

Sense Awards – 1 month on

Group photo of the Sense Awards winners stood outdoors holding their awards.
Group photo of the Sense Awards winners.

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.

This year’s awards were very special again and below are just some of my personal highlights.

Continue reading “Sense Awards – 1 month on”

The State of Care

Two people holding hands and doing hand on hand signing.

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.

Continue reading “The State of Care”

Café 55: The number one place for coffee, cake and community!

Cafe 55 street sign.
Cafe 55 street sign.

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.

Continue reading “Café 55: The number one place for coffee, cake and community!”

Sign Language is International

Learn 5 simple signs

Hello everyone. My name is Anna and I have been profoundly deaf since birth. I have been working at Sense for 12 years now and absolutely love it. Before Sense, I had a number of other roles, but Sense has been the most deaf aware organisation I have worked for. It could just be the changing of the times but I know that Sense takes its communication very seriously.

While I have a great manager and a great team, there is one thing I would change. I wish everyone would learn just a bit of sign language. Now this isn’t just the office but when I am out in public too. The funny thing is most people don’t realise that they use sign language every day. When they are waving hello or giving someone the ‘thumbs up’.

Continue reading “Sign Language is International”

A gift for two brothers!

George and his brother, Jon.

Sense TouchBase South East stands at the top of a hill, tucked away from the busy high street in Barnet. For over ten years, I have been commuting to this now retired battery factory to support people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities, and although it has existed for a quarter of a century, every day feels new. The centre was initially funded by a gift in a Will from a generous Sense supporter. TouchBase South East has been a gift to so many families, including my own.

My brother George is a year younger than me. I think most people can tell that we are brothers straight away but George is slightly different to me. He has a number of health conditions that have caused learning disabilities, visual, hearing and physical impairments, and epilepsy. With all of this, George is understandably very hesitant when meeting new people and going to new places. He is more than happy sitting on the sofa with our mum watching ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Continue reading “A gift for two brothers!”

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.

Continue reading “Connecting Communities: Sense Walks”

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.

Continue reading “Phil’s RidgeWalk journey”

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

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

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.

There are currently a lot of ideas being discussed about how to reform the social care system. 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? 

Continue reading “Free Personal Care: Is it the solution to the social care crisis?”