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The Friday Blog

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

My 100 Voices Experience 

Friday, September 12, 2014 8:09:02 AM

Gary and volunteer Penny at the Emirates StadiumMy name is Gary and I’ve been supported by Brandon Trust since October 2013.

Last week I travelled from Gloucestershire to London for the 100 Voices conference. At the conference I talked about the things I am most proud of, my perfect week and the things Brandon Trust should keep doing, stop doing and start doing. We also made a newspaper page for the future. The conference was held at the Emirates Stadium, home of the rubbish Arsenal football club; I’m a Liverpool fan!

It was a great day where I was able to help shape the future of my support, be listened to and have an opinion. The whole day was run really well and very well organised. I loved my first experience of London.

I was supported to extend my visit to two days. On the second day I took a tour of Wembley Stadium and I got to hold the official FA Cup, and the 1966 World Cup. During my weekend away I made loads of new friends from all over the UK who I hope to see again next year.

Gary James
Person Supported

Nervous, but ready for the biggest 100 Voices yet 

Friday, September 05, 2014 6:55:03 AM

Peter Martin at Brandon Trust's 100 Voices 2013 conference I will be part of Brandon Trust’s 100 Voices conference tomorrow with my wife Linda, and I am honestly nervous about going.

We live in Gloucestershire and we’ve never been to London before. It will be a new experience, but I do not want to miss this important event so I am travelling up today and staying overnight in a hotel near the venue.

I’m supported by the charity and I'm also a member of Brandon’s Consultative Committee. I have been to previous 100 Voices conferences in Bristol, but I think this one will be really big, the biggest one yet, at a spectacular venue.

I want to be involved because I think more people should be aware of Brandon Trust and hear the experiences of people with learning disabilities, like me and my wife.

It’s in a different area this year, so I hope we see more new faces and that we learn some new things to help us going forward. It has great potential.

This year, I understand we will be discussing the big issues affecting people with learning disabilities and autism in the UK. If I was to pick out one thing now, it would be the issue of loneliness some people feel, and wanting to be more involved in the community in which they live. I know this can be a worry.

I do hope our voices are heard across London and beyond. See you all there!

Peter Martin
Person Supported

And the Winner is... 

Friday, August 29, 2014 9:14:37 AM

Merlin Housing Summer Fun DayFrom abseiling to half marathons, cake sales to fancy dress days, every year Merlin Housing Society staff take on several challenges to raise funds for our charity of the year. In fact, over the past three years we’ve raised more than £13,000 for our nominated charities and the amount we raise increases every year. We're delighted to say that over the next 12 months we’re going to be raising money for Brandon Trust.

This year we decided we’d ask residents to vote for our charity of the year at our annual fun day in Filton. Our staff put forward 12 charities and each charity was invited to come along on the day to talk to residents and persuade them to vote for them.

We were really impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the two volunteers from Brandon Trust. A number of residents said that although they hadn’t heard of the charity before the event, they were so impressed with what they’d heard from the volunteers that they voted for them, rather than for the bigger, and perhaps more well-known charities.

Over recent years we've built up a great relationship with the charity, which provides vital services and support to some of our residents. We've also seen the great work of their Fired Up ceramics studio when they attended our Christmas fair to sell their pottery. So we know first-hand how the money we raise enriches and transforms the lives of the people they support.

We're now starting to plan some fundraising events so we can make sure we raise as much money as possible for Brandon Trust to enable people with learning disabilities and autism to set thMerlin Housing Society logoemselves free and live a life with fewer limitations.

Hywel Lloyd
Merlin Housing Society

A Wet and Wild Summer Camp 

Friday, August 22, 2014 8:03:38 AM

Group shot from the Bristol summer camp 2014

What an amazing time we had at this year’s annual summer camp, despite the heavy downpours.

Young people, support staff and volunteers spent a fun-packed week at Woodlands Scout Camp in Almondsbury, on the outskirts of Bristol. It was like one big reunion for those who have returned every year since the project started in 2010, but it was also great to meet new faces.

Amongst the on-site activities everyone could take part in were; high and low ropes, crate stacking, the leap of faith, go-karting, climbing and abseiling. Unfortunately the heavy rain, thunder and lightning abruptly halted the fun on Sunday when the climbing tower had to be evacuated for safety reasons!

We also made off-site trips to Elm Tree Farm and Splinters wood workshop in Stapleton. Making planters at Lawrence Weston Community Farm was a resounding success, and a trip to Fired Up, a ceramics workshop in Pucklechurch, was as popular as always.

A rather wet and muddy Friday was spent pushing ourselves round the assault course; some youngsters even chose to complete it several times!

The week drew to a conclusion with yet more water, although this was not what Mother Nature inflicted. On this occasion, it was the It's a Knockout event and, as usual, everyone within range got completely soaked and covered in foam, courtesy of the week’s highlight; a foam cannon. To round things off we donned our dancing shoes for the disco and live DJ, compliments of Neil Pfister.

Once again, the week-long camp was a great success! I'd like to say thank you to everyone who helped organise it, our dedicated staff and volunteers, and more importantly the young people who attended and gave it their all. It was incredible to witness the displays of courage in achieving and combating personal worries and fears.

There is no doubt that next year will again bring much fun and laughter, personal challenges, and liberating freedom. Brandon Trust encourages everyone to reach for their dreams and live a life with fewer limitations.

See you all next year!

Lisa Galsworthy
Team Leader

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