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The Friday Blog

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

Do You Take Technology For Granted? 

Friday, October 17, 2014 6:53:44 AM

Adam working on one of the new laptopsIn years to come people may talk about this period of time and refer to it as a technological revolution. I mean, how far has technology come in the last 10 to 20 years?

It’s not long ago that only the occasional person or a blue chip company had access to the world wide web and went surfing. Now most of us have a laptop, a tablet, super-fast wireless connections and a smart phone tucked inside our pockets for everything from doing the weekly shop, keeping on top of our personal banking to even controlling the volume of the stereo in the lounge.

Many people with disabilities are unfortunately missing out on the advances in technology the rest of the world is enjoying. Why is this?

At @Worle, a community facility in North Somerset where a number of people we support work and learn, we are hot on the heels of everyone else. We recently felt we were missing out on all this technology, so we did a spot of localised fundraising and raised enough money to buy some new equipment and bring us more in line with today's society.

Here’s a photo of Adam using some of the new kit; a brand new laptop. For many this is nothing new, but for Adam it’s life-changing!

Mandy Hudson
Project Leader

Bristol's First Pop Up Market 

Friday, October 10, 2014 9:34:55 AM

Bristol's first pop up charity marketTwo months ago I was set a challenge; to project manage a pop up market using 96 volunteers from UK law firm Burges Salmon to help our social enterprises create high-quality products to sell at the market, and I accepted it! I set about this fantastic opportunity with slight trepidation, but bags of enthusiasm.

The volunteers started the week with a little fear and apprehension, however they finished it feeling humbled, appreciating the chance to be involved.

I enjoyed pulling all of the sections together; the volunteers, market stalls and displays. I have built some really great relationships over the past few weeks across all of the services involved and also with Burges Salmon. The market sold pottery and craft items as well as fresh produce from Elm Tree Farm. All of the items sold were of great quality and showcased how talented and committed the people we support are. The market provided publicity and did a great job at increasing Brandon Trust’s profile.

The sales for the day totalled £3,318 which exceeded my expectations. I've been asked to do a similar market on a slightly smaller scale at the beginning of December, so hopefully this will be something that we can keep doing. The experience has certainly brought new meaning to the word teamwork! Everyone played their part. Well done and thank you.

Erin Lawton
Individual Giving Fundraiser

Charityworks Graduates Arrive 

Friday, October 03, 2014 6:14:33 AM

Serge Chapman, Charityworks graduateVery few people set out at the beginning of their careers knowing they want to work for a charity but last month I joined Brandon Trust with four other graduates, wishing to do exactly that. My name is Serge and for the next 11 months I will be working with the Communications team to get greater coverage for Brandon and help the charity lead the way in setting people with learning disabilities free.

My peers and I are working on a graduate programme called Charityworks which is designed to get the best talent possible working in the sector, by placing people with the best charities in the sector. We were chosen from just under 4,000 applicants and, as it is the first time Brandon has been part of the programme, we feel really privileged (and a bit daunted) to be working with such a successful and value-driven charity. For us, success will be leaving the organisation better than when we came in! It’s a simple aim but we all want Brandon to feel they have made a good investment in us and to want to invest further in other graduates just starting their careers.

The programme requires us to attend regular training sessions and complete three pieces of independent research to pass out successfully. Each of us will be looking to develop our research to be of value to Brandon, so if you believe there is something that Brandon should know more about, please get in touch with us. We are Nicholas Evans (South), Gaby Oliva (North), Sarah Newell (Central), Hannah Rich (East) and Serge Chapman (Head Office). My colleagues are all working in Social Enterprise roles but my particular research interest with the Communications team is how the organisation values the people it supports and communicates this person-centred approach.

Though we are all in different regions, together we are working on a social return project to help Brandon measure the value of its work to the people it supports. We hope this will allow them to raise more funds and give people with learning disabilities greater freedom to live and work in their communities. Come speak to us and we'll be happy to share more!

Serge Chapman
Marketing and Brand Assistant

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