Many of the people with learning disabilities who we support here at Marshfields cannot read or write. They measure the passing of time by the changing seasons and celebrations and festivals - birthdays, Easter, Bonfire Night, Halloween and, of course, Christmas.
This is Adam, he’s 21, and lives in Southmead, Bristol. He’s come a long way since he had his first travel training with our Travel Buddy Project a year ago, and is pictured here in Weston-super-Mare. The Travel Buddy project is a service offering alternative travel support for adults and young people with learning disabilities.
Our Members’ Board invited people to share their stories at our annual Brandon Voices London conference. Someone who spoke was Kelly Ware, who is supported by Brandon Trust in London. She was keen to share her story wider.
My day job at Brandon Trust is Business Intelligence Analyst within the IS department, so I jumped at the chance to spend a day away from the computer with people we support at Padstow Foyer in Cornwall.
My first experience of walking into Dartford’s Darenth Park Hospital in the late 1980's as a speech and language therapist for adults with learning disabilities, was both incredibly depressing and shocking.
The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) announced recently that hate crime prosecutions have risen by 4.7% from the previous year with a 41% increase in disability hate crime prosecutions. This is great news as it means more hate crimes are being recognised, reported, and taken seriously. However, I suspect that disability hate crime reporting and prosecutions are actually still very low.
Despite being the main course for bloodsucking insects and having aching bones as I write this, I’m still a big fan of the new Brandon work scheme 'A Different Day', which encourages office-based staff to get out and spend a day working alongside people we support and their staff teams.
Last month I was lucky enough to be able to spend a day in the sun at the Brandon Trust allotment in Anerley, London. This is the second summer Brandon has had the plot, so I went along to see the planting in action and hear from people who use the space.
Hello wonderful people, my name is Lucy and I have recently joined 'Team Shop' as Gloucester Road charity shop Assistant Manager. As a fresh set of senses on the Brandon Trust shop scene it’s been great to get stuck in and offer my skills in the process of maintaining the shop’s fabulous feel. So nearly three months down the line, here’s the low-down on shop #2...
Meet Woody, he’s a collie cross and just six months old. He’s been coming to work with me for the past few months and he absolutely loves it! He has his blanket and crate in the corner of the workshop, but usually he’s off exploring the site. He soon learnt not to pester the chickens though; it turns out the electric fence that keeps them safe from rogue foxes, works just as well for dogs! (He was fine by the way).
On Tuesday, 8 March, International Women’s Day offered us a chance to celebrate and reflect on the position of women in our lives, organisations, and society. The theme of this year’s campaign was #PledgeForParity. I’ve always felt strongly that everyone should be treated equally, and wanted to organise something to promote the #PledgeForParity campaign.
I was recently talking to someone about my career in social care. It wasn’t a planned conversation by any means, we just happened to be in the same place at the same time and got chatting. I explained to her that I never planned to work in this sector, that catering and photography had been my deliberate work pursuits when I was younger. In fact, I was a baker and confectioner for a number of years. How things change!
Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. (Of a person) free from physical or mental disorder (Oxford English Dictionary).These definitions are great but they don’t really cut it for me. My 'normal' is no doubt very different to yours. Is my 'normal' routine the same as yours? I doubt it. What is 'standard' these days? I live in London, an incredibly vibrant and diverse city, everything goes on here, like most capital cities on this planet.
Life can trundle along quite nicely can't it. We make plans for the future, who we’re going to see, what we’re going to do, where we’re going to holiday next, and so on. Then out of the blue, all that changes. For some people those changes are permanent.
So what’s with all this volunteering going on around us at the moment? I bet if you don’t do it yourself you know someone who does, be it an hour every so often or more. Many charities find volunteer support invaluable, I know Brandon Trust certainly does. For us, we get to see the priceless reactions of the people we support, the direct beneficiaries, whether it’s the slightest smile of someone with multiple disabilities seeing their bedroom transformed in a DIY SOS style makeover, or someone being able to do that activity again, the one which had to stop when their funding was cut – and we know only too well the impact of government cuts in our sector!
How many technicians does it take to change a light bulb? Well, all joking aside it takes none because a light bulb is a very simple thing to replace and almost all of us can do it without needing guidance or instruction. Most people understand if the light isn’t working it's going to be the bulb or the electricity supply. We never ask ourselves how the light gets power from the power station as we don’t a) want to know, or b) need to know in order to make it work. This mind-set with technology can be found in vast areas across our day-to-day life. Planes, trains and automobiles. Getting money from a cash machine or inserting a card to pay for stuff. We don’t understand how, we just know it does.
Brandon Trust shop #2 is finally open and it's fabulous (even if I do say so myself). It's a joy and a relief to finally open the doors and have the public respond so positively with their kind words and perhaps more importantly, their fantastic donations and purchases.
I signed up for coaching when I felt I’d lost my sense of direction and that I wasn’t in control of important aspects of my life. Coaching sessions gave me a safe space to say what was in my head, out loud! It made a huge difference to the way I viewed different aspects of my life, both work and personal.