Sleigh bells weren’t the only chimes heard in December as the world was gearing up for the festive season. Down a colourful corridor in Coventry Hospital, one bell rang out the louder than most.
Four years ago, Jai was diagnosed with Alstrom Syndrome
which is one of the rarest genetic diseases in the world. Not only does it
affect your vision and hearing but also makes you susceptible to other
conditions such as diabetes. Since the diagnosis, Sense was there to support
Jai and Pam through all that was to come.
It’s been a busy year for Sense, and as 2019 draws to a close, it’s important to reflect on what’s been achieved over the last 12 months!
one left out of life
the beginning of the year, we launched our new strategy, No one left out of
life, with ambitious goals for the people we support.
what continues to be a challenging environment in all three of the areas Sense
operates in: Charity, Social Care and Retail, I am proud to say we have
continued to expand our services, meeting the needs of an even greater number
of people, without
compromising on our high standards. We are very proud of our record in
social care. It also means our campaigning work is more credible as it is
rooted in the views of those we support and their families, and from our
expertise as a service provider.
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’.
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.
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’.
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’.