Emma’s blog – April 2021

Read here for Emma’s April blog

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the warmer weather, increasingly longer days and sunshine.  Thank you for your continued hard work, dedication and high quality support. I am so proud of you all, and am looking forward to what the rest of this year brings.

I’d like to share what has been happening at Achieve together this month – it’s been busy as usual!

Here are some photos from people at Thurrock and West Bromwich celebrating St. George’s Day. There was lots of sensory fun with shaving foam, food colouring, paint, noisy rattles and flags. All with a red and white theme of course!

People at Manor Barn have been enjoying looking after their health and wellbeing, by doing Tai Chi lessons in the garden, now that the weather is much nicer:

I like these ‘Anxiety boxes’ that people from South Wales created – what a great idea!  Each wooden chest is filled with motivational, positive messages, distracting colouring activities, wish jars, fidgets, and anything else that people choose to add in order to help:

I’d like to say a huge congratulations to the team at Starbrook! They set themselves the challenge of walking one million steps, to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, and smashed their target by walking an actual 1,347,035 steps! They also raised an incredible £1,855 beating their target of £250.  Well done to everyone for putting in so much effort to reach the step target, and even having some fun along the way!

Also a big congratulations to Alex from South Wales, who has successfully secured a job at the neurodiversity training and consultancy company, Creased Puddle. This is an amazing opportunity for Alex to help train the police to better understand and communicate with neurodivergent people. He told us: “I applied for this role because I love teaching people about learning disabilities and difficulties. I found it easy to apply and enjoyed the application process. I’m looking forward to teaching the police about how we would like to be treated.”

Earlier in April, Easter was celebrated and enjoyed across Achieve together. Activities included an Easter bonnet competition, making Easter cupcakes, painting card eggs, Easter egg hunts, sensory scrunching of foils and textures, flower pot painting and planting, painting ornaments to decorate the garden, and hot cross buns too!  Here are a few photos:

Achieve together celebrated World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on 2nd April. WAAD aims to shine a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism face every day.

We champion the talents and accomplishments of those with autism, like Simon from Surrey, who also recently started his new job at Creased Puddle. Listen to what Simon had to say about this exciting opportunity here.

I am really pleased to report that we also launched a new easy read booklet on ‘Online pornography and illegal content’, which was developed collaboratively with ‘Change’ and ‘Choice Support’. This easy read explores what pornography is, the legalities of porn, online abuse related to pornography issues, how to keep safe online, and what to do if someone has a problem.  You can see it here.

The Health and Wellbeing Team were delighted to launch the eagerly anticipated policy booklets, great news all around. These policies and associated procedures underpin the quality of care and support that teams are expected to consistently meet to promote, and/or maintain a person’s physical health and wellbeing.

April is also ‘Stress Awareness Month’ – this year’s theme has been about ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’.  It is important that we keep a check on our stress levels, as according to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year, they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Millions of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress and it can affect our health. Individually, we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us. The Comms team sent out some resources with videos and tips on how to manage stress. Here are a few below:

• Visit the Stress Management Society website here.
• Watch a ‘Coping with Stress’ video here.
• Read NHS top 10 Stress Busters here.

Finally, I am excited this month to be kicking off service visits again – just to the garden for now – but I really can’t wait to see you in person as soon as possible.  In the meantime though, our New Starter Induction Sessions on Teams have been a great way for me, and for some others in the team to meet some of the amazing people joining Achieve together in their early weeks, it has been really great fun and very inspiring to hear their stories, and to hear how well supported they feel.  Keep up the great work 😊!

All the best,