Emma’s update – May 2021

Join Emma to learn about our inspiring updates and news this May, including celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week…

Dear everyone,

I am really enjoying the brighter days now that we’re in May, and am looking forward to an easing of lockdown restrictions, whilst we continue to adhere to strict safety precautions.

Lots has been going on across Achieve together – with a number of exciting new initiatives, celebrations, and people we support getting involved in a wide variety of events and activities.

We launched ‘Ambassadors of Achieve together’ – a project which gives all team members the opportunity to shape the future of Achieve together. Ambassadors will be testing the thinking on organisational improvements and providing valuable feedback on the many initiatives we have planned, enabling everyone to shape and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

We also launched our ‘Walk n Talk’ scheme – an initiative to get people outdoors, walking and talking, in a relaxed, social way.  It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, and to get fit and healthy at the same time. You can see a link to more information here.

People have certainly been making the most of the lovely weather. People we support in Norfolk have been enjoying getting exercise, by walking around their local nature reserve:

Parents enjoyed their first hug at Catherine House, after 15 months of waiting due to lockdown.  It was such precious moment:

We celebrated and promoted Mental Health Awareness Week around the organisation. At Achieve together, we are committed to helping reduce the stigma that can stop people from asking for the help and support that is so vital to their health, wellbeing and happiness.  This year’s theme of ‘Nature and the Environment’ recognised the benefits that nature and the great outdoors can offer us, when it comes to Mental Health. We provided some resources here.

According to a report in the Mental Health Journal, gardening can help reduce stress and improve mood, with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.  We are excited for people we support, and our teams, to get back in touch with nature through our ‘In Bloom’ gardening competition.  The challenge is on for those budding gardeners across our homes, to show off their landscaping skills and even win some prizes, while enjoying the benefits associated with gardening. I can’t wait to see everyone’s efforts!

People we support in south Wales have already been busy with some gardening.  Simon has been preparing planters, and Sefton has been getting his flower pots ready and planting sunflowers:


We also celebrated Deaf Awareness Week which took place earlier this month. This week raises awareness of the Deafness and hearing loss faced by one in six people in the UK, and the importance of inclusion and accessibility.

This year’s theme was ‘Coming through it together’ which focused on positivity and togetherness, as we start to emerge from lockdown. Find out more about our Deaf services and explore our range of Deaf resources here.

Achieve together are passionate about not only placing people at the centre of everything we do, but we are also committed to improving awareness of the vital role that our services, our team members, people we support and the wider social care sector play in caring for our nation. We are continuously seeking out opportunities to highlight the many positive outcomes we achieve, but also to raise at the highest levels the challenges we and our wider social care sector face.

I recently met with the Low Pay Commission to share our thinking on how to tackle the challenges of pay in the social care sector, along with a number of additional care providers. The Low Pay Commission is an independent body that advises the government about the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage.

From a wider organisational perspective, it was a valuable opportunity to help demonstrate the active work Achieve together is doing to improve pay for its team members, and to drive standards across the sector, as well as being a good engagement opportunity with Care England. It demonstrates that we can regularly be called on to represent the sector, and share and support their views.

Wishing you all the best,