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The Friday Blog

Do You Take Technology For Granted? 

Friday, October 17, 2014 7:53:44 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 10:34:55 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 7:14:33 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

My Ambassador Ambition 

Friday, September 26, 2014 8:21:38 AM

Receptionist, Aldaine Cohen Hello. My name is Aldaine and I live in Peckham with my mum. I used to work for Southwark Council as an administrative assistant but it was only a one-year contract. When my contract came to an end, I began looking for other employment.

I found out about Brandon Trust through a charity called Bede Plus. I’ve been with Brandon Trust for approximately three weeks now as a part-time receptionist. Everyone is really friendly and helpful.

I answer the phone, handle the mail, use the computer, and do all the reception and admin work that is required of me. I am able to turn to staff if I have any difficulties. I get a lot of help from Chevonne, my line manager.

Our office is very busy and sometimes I can feel apprehensive asking for support. I like to be independent so I try not to ask, but Chevonne helps me when I need it.

During my three weeks with Brandon Trust, I took a few days off to visit Blackpool. Chevonne very kindly agreed to let me go. I am now refreshed and raring to get back to work.

Even though I’m still settling in and getting to know the team, I value my job and enjoy my time at work.

I'm hoping to become an ambassador for Brandon Trust should the opportunity ever arise, but for now I am really proud to be working for such a great Trust.

Aldaine Cohen
Receptionist

Designing a New Audi 

Friday, September 19, 2014 8:29:56 AM

David at 100 VoicesMy name is David Butchers and I live in Stonehouse, near Stroud.

I recently went on a coach to London for the 100 Voices conference and stayed overnight in a hotel. On the way I saw the best car showrooms ever. I love cars and this helped make my journey more interesting.

We arrived at 100 Voices on the Saturday morning and I had a cup of tea sitting outside looking at the amazing Emirates Football Stadium. I joined a table to watch the history of Brandon Trust on the big stage; it was fun and we all laughed. I took with me a poster of my greatest achievement and another one which had all the things I like to do each week. There were nice people on my table. Harriet was the table host and she helped me to think about what my perfect week would be like.

100 Voices newspaper headline exerciseAfter a fish and chips lunch we wrote newspaper headlines about what I could be doing in five years time with my Brandon Trust support. My headline was: ‘Local man designs new super Audi car called the David B’.

It is not always easy for me to cope with lots of people and different routines but I loved the 100 Voices conference and had a great time!

David Butchers
Person Supported

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