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The Friday Blog

Our Garden Makeover 

Friday, July 18, 2014 7:45:57 AM

photo of  Burges Salmon volunteers and Brandon Trust staff in the garden they gave a makeoverThe garden at Hampstead Road in Bristol, where I work, was starting to look very tired and dated and was not a great place for the people we support who live there, to use. After a bit of a discussion we decided a garden revamp was in order. We approached the Fundraising team at Brandon to ask if there was any way they could help support our project.

Fundraising managed to find 20 volunteers from local solicitor firm Burges Salmon, who came to the house ready to work! As they pulled down sheds, chopped back bushes, ripped out overgrown weeds, built raised planters, and sorted through loads of rubbish, we could see the transformation start to take place. After two days, things were looking much better but their time with us had sadly come to an end.

Our staff worked incredibly hard and carried on where our friends from Burges Salmon had left off. Many gave up their own time to clean the patio, paint fences, and build furniture. The people we support chose plants, flowers, shrubs, ornaments and sensory items to get the new-look garden ready for resident Josie's birthday barbecue party, which was also the date we had set for the grand unveiling.

On the morning of the 7th July, the staff team were buzzing with excitement, looking forward to showing off the garden to other members of the Trust and to the families of the individuals supported.

Massive thanks to the crew from Burges Salmon and everyone else that helped out and came to the party. We feel very proud of what has been achieved. The people who live at Hampstead Road are looking forward to continued good weather and spending time in their newly improved garden.

Carly Sutton
Team Leader

My Glastonbury Experience 

Friday, July 11, 2014 7:55:19 AM

photo of Dean at Glastonbury FestivalTwo weeks ago I joined the masses and went to the world renowned Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset and what can I say; WOW! It really was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Listening to music is one of my favourite things and I saw lots of different artists performing. The atmosphere of seeing the musicians playing live at the festival was incredible. The Kaiser Chiefs kicked off the festival with ‘I Predict a Riot’ and everybody was buzzing. Ellie Goulding surprised me, she was brilliant but my favourite was of course, Dolly Parton.

I camped just like everyone else. I was a little unsure about camping before I went but it was fun, until my tent sprang a leak, but we had to laugh. The Brandon Trust flag we had flying really helped in locating my tent.

I was really lucky and had disabled access for myself and my support staff; this allowed me to camp on a specific site and access specific viewing platforms which made a real difference to my experience. I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff at Glastonbury Festival who were so helpful and friendly. I had the time of my life; I want to go again next year!

Dean Thurgood
Person Supported

Martin Gains a New Qualification 

Friday, July 04, 2014 7:35:02 AM

photo of Martin holding his food hygiene certificateMartin has been attending Park Café in Kingswood, Bristol, for the last few years and just under a year ago he started a work experience placement at Bitton Railway, working in the café. This lasted for just a month as it proved to be so successful that Martin started volunteering on a regular basis, one-day-a-week for 3.5 hours.

The Park Café is more than just a café, it's an employment training unit run by Brandon Trust and staffed by people with learning disabilities and autism who wish to learn new and transferable skills to enhance their employment opportunities.

Martin has been at Bitton Railway, working unsupported since the start of the year. This is a big step for Martin as he’s never worked independently before. Recently, Martin was put forward with other new members of staff, to take his food hygiene certificate.

He attended two evening training sessions and was then tested along with the other staff. He had a couple of months waiting nervously to find out how he’d got on and he’s now finally heard the result; he passed!

The catering manager Bridget Carter said: "I knew Martin could pass the test as we have been asking him questions and he knew the answers."

Martin said: "I am pleased to have passed and really enjoyed being at Bitton Railway where everybody was very friendly and helpful".

Go Martin!

Steve Price
Project leader – Employment, Bristol

Developing Good Products and Ideas 

Friday, June 27, 2014 7:53:14 AM

photo of Janet and AdrianI’ve worked for Brandon Trust for the past eight years, and earlier this year I started a new role as Project Manager - Product Development. Although your first thought may be that Brandon Trust aren’t in the business of developing ‘products,’ these products are actually fresh new ways of working that deliver positive and freeing outcomes and are of interest to commissioners, social workers and people and their families looking for support. It’s about developing our business by extending what we currently offer, and doing it well.

My role is about identifying the best ideas, the most effective models of support and assistive devices, capturing them and supporting their development into sustainable and transferable products. This will include adapting our policies and systems where necessary and developing marketing materials to assist their wider promotion to new people and in new areas. Because we already design our support around individuals, many Brandon teams and people we support are already generating powerful and modern solutions to challenges, so it may be that with a bit of tweaking and polishing, the things that some people are currently doing could be just the ‘product’ others are looking for.

So, if you have a good idea that you think Brandon Trust could develop and package, if you’re stuck and need some help with getting your idea off the ground, or you just want some assistance in promoting your support solution to a wider audience, email me or contact me at our office at Olympus House in Bristol for a chat. In the photo with me is Adrian Millar, a Brandon Trust Travel Buddy, who called by to do just that!

Janet Shmulevitch
Project Manager - Product Development

Volunteering with Brandon Trust 

Friday, June 20, 2014 7:44:44 AM

photo of Josie, our fundraising volunteerI started my time as a volunteer with Brandon Trust in March after meeting two of the fundraising team, Penny Reeves and Emma Lester, at a charity fair organised by my university. The work of Brandon Trust stood out to me straight away as holding values close to my heart; working to help empower those living with learning disabilities and autism.

I was warmly welcomed and treated as a valued member of the team from the start. I’ve had an inside view of how a fundraising team works and was shown around the rest of the office on my induction to gain a broader view of how Brandon Trust’s head office, based in North Bristol, runs. Working here has been varied and incredibly interesting. Most recently it included promoting, to local schools and organisations, the ‘Bake Off for Brandon’ fundraising event being held on the 10th of July.

My time here has given me invaluable practice and insight into a field that I wish to work in when I graduate. I now look forward to continuing volunteering for Brandon Trust in London and maintaining contact with the supportive and dedicated team in Bristol.

Josie Roughneen
Volunteer Fundraising Support

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