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The power of simplicity

For a variety of reasons I've recently been pondering about just how complicated the world is. From the tensions in the Middle East, to the effects of global warming and the floods up North this week or the inevitable ongoing impact of austerity on social care. In all of these issues, and most others, there is no single cause and no simple solution. While complexity undoubtedly enriches our lives, it can also confuse and disorientate us, slow us down and worst of all, on occasions, paralyse us.

Imagine a world with more Dereks

Every Thursday in Cheltenham there’s a gathering of local residents with a common bond; knitting! What images do you conjure up when thinking about knitting? Ones of Grandmas knitting away in their favourite chairs, furiously casting on and knitting endless scarves and squares for that old knitted blanket?

Smelling the flowers and feeling proud

I recently spent the day at Rosina May Florists in Mangotsfield, Bristol. I wanted to do work experience in a florist because I've never worked in a flower shop before and I think flowers are pretty. I'd like to learn the names of flowers; I really like lilies, pink carnations and daffodils. Sometimes I smell flowers in my garden and I like the way they smell, especially the white and pink roses. They look lovely too.

It's got me bouncing!

Hello, my name is Charlotte Allison and I recently began my journey with Brandon Trust. This year I decided it was time to go home every evening feeling like I'd made a positive impact on the world. That’s definitely a boost I knew would get me bouncing to work every morning!

What an amazing day!

I’ve been working tirelessly for what feels like months, getting everything ready for the opening. The list of jobs was staggering! I’ve had many a sleepless night and stressful day in the build up, but it was all worth it; I’m beaming with pride and satisfaction right now.

It's work experience week

I don’t know if you know but from 9–15 November, it's Mencap’s Learning Disabilities Work Experience Week. The aims of the week are to provide people with a learning disability a taste of a real work environment, and to show employers, and the public too, the benefits of employing someone with a learning disability.

My epic 100 Voices

Looking back, when I first moved out from under my parents' wing, I was always asking them if it would be okay to do this and to do that. This continued for some time, until I gave birth to my inner adult.

Free your potential

More than a year ago an announcement on Brandon Trust’s intranet, caught my attention: ‘Are you listening?’ It was an introduction to the new in-house coaching programme, and an offer for eight individuals to be trained to ILM level 5 in coaching and mentoring.

A helping hand

Imagine, for whatever reason, coming into contact with the police. Perhaps you’ve been arrested or are required to be to be formally interviewed, give a sample or a witness statement. Pretty scary stuff!

London calling

I was invited to attend the opening night of Brandon’s London 20 photographic exhibition on Tuesday and seeing my picture and story displayed in the gallery made me very proud and pleased.

Surf's up for strategy launch

Last Saturday was Brandon Trust's opportunity to relaunch their Children, Young People and Families Strategy in Cornwall. As I set off for the long journey from Bristol to Newquay at 6am, Tracy Date (Business Development Manager), Byron Green (young person we support) and Jane Zito (the mum of a young person we support) were also getting out of bed early, preparing to be interviewed live on BBC Radio Cornwall’s breakfast show.

Getting involved

Hi, I’m Jill Corbyn, the new Head of Involvement at Brandon Trust. I may have met some of you already. It’s a fantastic job because it really revolves around hearing from the people we support and I get to spend a lot of time out and about meeting people, not just stuck in the office!

From farm to fork

Remember The Good Life, a BBC sitcom from the 1980’s? Well for those who don’t, it was a sitcom where two of the main characters, Barbara and Tom, had a smallholding at the back of their house; fresh veggies all year-round, eggs from their chickens, and even a goat!

Gorgeous views

On Sunday 10 May, I abseiled the Avon Gorge. It was so much fun! When you are walking down the views are amazing. You can see the river and people watching down below.

An ace day for Brandon

On 20 April, the sun had barely risen as 23 motorcycle riders from across the west of England gathered at Brandon Trust’s head office in Patchway. The Fundraising team welcomed everyone with bacon butties, hot drinks and biscuits as the riders prepared for the 120-mile journey.

Who will get your vote?

It’s nearly time to make your mind up and prepare to mark the ballot paper where you see fit. One of our recent blogs, entitled ‘It’s a human right’, talked about the right to vote and shared some links to accessible information to help you register and understand your rights.

I conquered the Great Wall

I'd like to share my most recent fundraising venture, which was trekking the Great Wall of China for the Brandon Trust Dream Fund, along with my colleague Bev. I'm still a little jet-lagged having returned from this unforgettable experience only a couple of days ago. Words can’t convey how awesome it was. Even the photos don’t come close and I think they're pretty good!

Let them lead the way

Traditionally children have been told what to do and when to do it. At Brandon we have a different approach. We design our short break services with the child themselves, and of course their family too. They are at the forefront of everything; our freeing ethos and support enables this.

Winning at the races

The opportunity to street collect during the week of the world famous Cheltenham Festival arose when Drewe and Felicity Lacey, from Lacey Thayers CIC, kindly offered their front garden as our collecting point.

Lights, camera, action

I made a short recruitment film, with the help of members of Lively Atmosphere, a North Somerset based drama group. Brandon Trust wants to employ someone with a learning disability to help increase the involvement of the people we support, and we thought a film would help explain a bit more about the job.

Getting involved (1)

Hi, I’m Jill Corbyn, the new Head of Involvement at Brandon Trust. I may have met some of you already. It’s a fantastic job because it really revolves around hearing from the people we support and I get to spend a lot of time out and about meeting people, not just stuck in the office!

Fresh Ground Cafe: Our grand opening

Today is our official opening, and I'm so excited! I’ve been working at Fresh Ground Café for about five weeks since its opening, as a café assistant and I’m enjoying every day of it. I’m on a work trial which if I'm successful, leads to six months paid employment at the café. We opened five weeks ago but it was what they call a quiet opening. Today is in fact the official opening!

An exciting future looms

My name's Gaby and I'm a Social Enterprise Assistant with Brandon Trust. I’ve recently been involved in organising ‘consultations’ for people we support attending Herefordshire day opportunities. Consultations was an event that gave both families and people we support the opportunity to meet key people from Brandon and discuss their service. As Brandon only began working in Herefordshire in September 2014, consultations are an important first step to building good partnerships across the county.

Feeling proud

Today is a really proud day for me, in fact one of the proudest days of my life, because tonight I’m heading to Stroud to attend the opening night of an exhibition. I actually feature in the exhibition which is called Twenty. It tells the story of 20 people Brandon Trust support whose lives have changed for the better within the last 20 years.

Was I his friend?

Some time ago when I first started out in social care I was supporting a gentleman, three mornings a week. We got on really well and had a few things in common, including a love of vinyl. He was a massive record collector and amongst other things we spent part of our time hunting down classic vinyl.

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