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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How Kanhai and Alison combatted loneliness

Two people sat at a kitchen table and smiling towards the camera with their lunch on the table.

Friends, family, colleagues and celebrities are now all just a click away. Social media and the internet have shrunk the world while growing our circle of contacts. Socialising is a necessary need for humans, and technology has changed the landscape in which it occurs. However, not everyone has access to this broad new horizon and keeping friendships are harder than ever. Loneliness Awareness Week runs from 17 to 21 June and aims to highlight that loneliness is something that affects us all at some point in our lives.

Alison and Kanhai have been friends for well over a decade now, always living relatively close by. Both are deafblind with learning disabilities and both communicate using British Sign Language (BSL). This shared language made their bond stronger as, regardless of what was happening in each other’s lives, they could always talk to each other. They met regularly, ate together, laughed together and on more than one occasion went on holiday together.

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Growing older as a carer: Carers Week

Image of a woman who is helping to support another woman who is sat on a sofa.

As it’s been Carers Week this week, we’ve been recognising the 8.8 million unpaid carers across the UK who provide amazing support to their loved ones day-in and day-out, often without a break. Caring, for many, is a full-time role which can be exhausting and emotional, particularly as carers get older.

As part of our When I’m Gone campaign we met with a number of carers who shared their fears and concerns about getting older and what that will mean for their loved ones. As of the last census in 2011, it was found that there were around 2 million carers in England and Wales aged 50-64 and 1.3 million aged 60 and over. As the national figure for the amount of carers has increased, we can safely assume that the number of older carers has increased too and the need to support them will continue to grow.

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Getting Carers Connected – Combatting loneliness among carers.

Carers Week logo. Text reads 'Getting Carers Connected'.

We’re proud to be one of the seven organisations taking part in this week’s Carers Week (10-16 June) which recognises the 8.8 million carers who provide invaluable support to their loved ones, day-in and day-out. We know from our daily work with carers, as well as the research from our When I’m Gone campaign, that being a carer for a disabled loved one brings with it a number of triumphs and joys but also a number of challenges.

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Jai: He sees no evil, hears no evil and he is my son!

Young boy sat in a wheelchair and his mother stands behind holding onto his chair.

Jai is incredibly cheeky. He sees no evil, hears no evil and he is my son.

People do look at his dark glasses and hearing aids. They do ask what it is like to have a child with a degenerative disease; but I always say that Jai is Jai. He loves football and the police; too much at times to the point it can sometimes get him into trouble.

Put yourselves in my shoes for a moment; you receive a phone call from the school that your child with disabilities attends. Immediately your heart is in your throat and you fear for the worst. The drive to the headmistress’s office is the longest of your life and obviously every light turns red. As you push the heavy door, you are greeted with your son’s smiling face and the stern headmistress. Then you find out why you have been called; your son’s love of the police has gone too far and he has tried to arrest another student.

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Great tunes bring best mates together

Asif and Ashton’s love of music first brought them together eight years ago, and they have been best friends ever since. Every lunchtime at Sense Centre Streatley, they sit together at the piano to play and sing their favourite tunes, occasionally they dance, and always they will increasingly collapse into fits of giggles and laughter.

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The Crisis in Care

Amongst the noise of Presidential visits, resigning Prime Ministers and the ongoing drama of Brexit, there is one issue that has quietly returned to the political agenda.

A double bill of BBC Panorama programmes has drawn public attention to the crisis in care. Through special access to the social care teams at Somerset Council, the BBC has shone a light on the older and disabled people, and their families, facing a confusing social care system and struggling to cope without the right support. Both programmes have shown the impact of the devastating funding cuts to local authority social care budgets. Across England local councils have faced over £7 billion worth of cuts to adult social care since 2010. As a result, social workers, commissioners and directors of adult social care are faced with dwindling resources for packages of care which means impossible decisions about who can get the support they need.

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Growing in confidence: with a Sense volunteer Buddy.

Two ladies smiling at the camera and one lady has one hand in the air.

Laely’s confidence to communicate and connect with the world is coming on leaps and bounds, thanks to Jenny, her volunteer Sense Buddy.

Laely is non-verbal and uses facial expressions, gestures, vocalisations and picture symbols to express herself.

Since joining the Sense Buddying scheme, Laely has developed a trusting, supportive friendship with her Sense Buddy.

Jenny has become an expert in Laely’s communication methods. They share many lovely moments of connection and plenty of giggles. Drawing together has become a unique means of conversation between the two, with Laely and Jenny taking turns to add to a picture before Laely proudly shows off the finished piece.

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