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The Friday Blog

Freedom, LDT and a Top Secret Launch 

Friday, November 21, 2014 8:26:21 AM

What does freedom mean to you?Once a year in our capital city, there’s a huge event for all people connected to the world of social and disability care; the Learning Disability Today annual exhibition.

Brandon Trust will be there again. You may question if this is blog-worthy material, well we think it is. Why? Because at this year’s event we’ll not just be talking about our services and how our support enables people to set themselves free and to live their life with fewer limitations; we’ll be there in a much more significant capacity. We’ve got an interactive stand this year, stand 50, and we’re inviting you to come along and share what freedom means to you.

Our Chief Executive, Lucy Hurst-Brown will be on stage twice, in the auditorium and conference room one. This is something we’re very proud of and if you're about, we recommend you drop by to find out what the seminars are all about.

There’s also something else exciting happening on the day. We’re going to be launching something - currently top secret - but guaranteed to reshape the way you think about disability care!

So, come along and join us at the nation’s biggest learning disability event on Thursday, 27 November, at Olympia, London.

Matt Boyle
Communications and Events Manager

The Crazy Seven and the Thousand Pounds 

Friday, November 14, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Brandon Trust's seven Tough MuddersTough Mudders is promoted as ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’ and the site for this particular challenge in Winchester is also known as the ‘toughest venue in Europe.’

Tough Mudders has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon. By the end of this year, two million men and women aged 18 and over will have entered a Tough Mudder event and that includes the seven of us. We all work for or have connections with Brandon Trust, and recently we decided to embark on a charity challenge to help raise the essential funds needed to ensure the freeing and life-changing support the charity provides continues.

We all trained hard but nothing could quite prepare us for what was to come.

We arrived in a muddy Winchester field at around 8am along with thousands of other ‘mudders.’ The average age of participants, made up of around 70% men and 30% women, is 29, and the challenge has an overall completion rate of 78%.

After signing our names on waivers and glancing over underlined phrases including ‘inherent risks’ and ‘catastrophic injuries,’ we dropped off our bags and headed to the start line, totally forgetting to warm up in our excitement to get started!

The course, designed by British Special Forces is essentially a half-marathon on relentlessly hilly, muddy paths, with 26 obstacles to conquer. The team spirit of the event was phenomenal. Strangers helping strangers; this wasn’t a race, we were all in it together and we were all going finish together.

Obstacles included the electric eel; a crawl through a pool of shallow muddy water under dangling cables wired with 10,000 volts of electricity. A lasting memory will be the screams of big burly men as they were zapped. It hurts... a lot! Another dreaded obstacle was the arctic enema, a swim under a wall of tyres in an industrial skip filled with thousands of ice cubes. Electroshock therapy was a run through a mud pit of live wires, cruelly placed before the finish, in which Yogi, one of our team, lost both trainers in the mud and was forced to go back into the wires to fish them out.

We crossed the line drenched, freezing cold, covered in mud but overwhelmed with the sense of achievement that we had all made it to the end in one piece and that we had managed to raise in excess of £1,000 for Brandon Trust. It was truly one of the most terrifying, exhilarating experiences we have ever had, and we can’t wait to sign up for next year! I'm on the far left of the picture.

Carole Tooze
Locality Manager

My Time at Brandon Trust 

Friday, November 07, 2014 8:34:25 AM

Some of the IS team, including Gary (far left)For the past nine years I've worked for John Lewis in their system support team. In simple terms I help keep the store running with all its technology needs, from password resets to fixing tills.

John Lewis offers their workforce the opportunity to apply to undertake a Golden Jubilee secondment with a charity of their choice, which I applied for back in January. I was successful in my application and joined the team at Brandon Trust in the summer, supporting the IS (Information Services) department.

I am now in week 15 of my 26-week secondment. Working two days a week I have been kept busy during my 15 weeks here and I’m sure to be kept busy until the end; the time has flown by.

My role at Brandon Trust is to assist with the Windows 7 upgrade, this project is a massive undertaking for any company as I found out while completing this at John Lewis only last year.

I have been travelling to different sites within the organisation swapping out old for new computers and installing nice new screens. My aim for the remaining time here is to assist the IS team with as much as I can, to try and make their lives a little easier, and in the process I hope not to make any extra work for them!

I am also helping the IS team with a fact-finding mission of job roles across the Trust, so when staff call in for help with their IT equipment, IS will have all the information available at the time of the phone call or visit.

It’s been a great 15 weeks and I’m looking forward to the remainder of my time here, and continuing to assist in any way I can.

Gary Mudd
Windows 7 Project Consultant

Live on BBC Radio Bristol 

Friday, October 31, 2014 9:33:28 AM

Dean shows off his signed photo of Steve YabsleyRecently I went to the BBC Studios in Bristol and appeared live on the radio. I was interviewed by John Darvall who presents the morning show. He wanted to know about me, Brandon Trust, and 100 Voices.

Before the interview I was feeling a little nervous, but John was very nice and Lucy, who is the Chief Executive of Brandon Trust, was with me and they made me feel more confident. I really enjoyed talking on the radio. I told John about my holiday in Tenerife, my trip to Glastonbury Festival, and more recently going to London for this year’s 100 Voices conference where I spoke about my experiences and my achievements.

I also told him that my nan and I like listening to another BBC presenter, Steve Yabsley. My nan really likes his jokes. Steve then came in to say hello! He chatted with me for a little while but they had to convince me it really was him because I didn’t believe it. He gave me a signed picture and later I heard him mention me on his show. That made me smile. It was a massively enjoyable day.

Dean Thurgood
Person Supported

Baking the best birthday cake ever 

Friday, October 24, 2014 6:56:37 AM

Proudly showing off the cakeMy name’s Laura. I attend Crumbles, a mini-enterprise based at Scotch Horn Day Centre in Nailsea.

We make cakes and all sorts of lovely sweet treats to sell whilst learning some invaluable skills which I hope one day will see me into paid employment.

Recently we received an order to bake a large cake to help celebrate Brandon Trust's 20th anniversary, along with cupcakes to represent each year of the Trust's existence.

The light and airy sponge cake was filled with fresh raspberry purée and buttercream, and then covered in fondant icing. We ordered the edible iced logo for the sponge cake and year numbers, from 1994 to 2014, to top the cupcakes off. We then very carefully transported the finished goods to Olympus House, Brandon Trust's head office, based a little way up the M5 in Bristol.

I was proud as punch and the reception we got when we showcased the cake was incredible. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay until they cut the cake and tucked in, but I knew the eating would go down well as we only bake the best!

Laura Hancock
Person Supported

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