Emma’s update – June 2021

Catch up with the latest wonderful achievements from people we support, our teams, and Emma’s thoughts for June…

Dear everyone,

June has been a busy month for all at Achieve together.

As usual, people we support across Achieve together have been busy with various projects, activities, and celebrations.

June is ‘Pride’ month, and we have been celebrating! People who live at Harbour threw an amazingly colourful Pride party at the home – everyone helped to pick out decorations and came together to celebrate equality.

Learning Disability Week

It was also Learning Disability Awareness Week recently, and this year’s theme was all about celebrating art and creativity.

During lockdown, Campaign 4 Change have been involved in a project run by SeeAbility, “Creating Connections”, alongside other member groups of Learning Disability England.

The aim of the project was to help people with learning disabilities stay connected using technology and through different online activities, it has been brilliant to see their creativity on Instagram and other social channels.

Esme, a talented singer-songwriter and Campaign 4 Change member, composed and recorded a powerful song which aims to raise awareness of hate crime towards people with learning disabilities and/or autism. You can watch the brilliant musician Balraj from Mill Road accompanying Esme on the piano in the video below. They performed the song together at Disability Pride 2018 in Brighton.

Stay Up Late Charity

One of the people supported at Upper Selsdon Road is an ambassador for the amazing ‘Stay Up Late’ charity and recently they raised more awareness by hitting the newspapers.

People at Upper Selsdon Road are closely involved with ‘Stay Up Late’. ‘Stay Up Late’ advocates for people with learning disabilities to have the right to stay up late and have some fun!

Going out to see bands, clubbing, or seeing friends is part of everyday life for lots of people, however, if you have a learning disability you may need support to do this. ‘Stay Up Late’ have found that lots of people with learning disabilities are not able to lead full and active social lives because their support workers usually finish at 10pm. ‘Stay Up Late’ works to ensure people with learning disabilities get to enjoy an active social life safely.

The team at Upper Selsdon Road have been running ‘Stay Up Late’ events since 2018 and they hold a themed event every month at Frames Sports Bar in Coulsdon where the whole venue is set aside just for ‘Stay Up Late’.

The Upper Selsdon Road team members recently organised a brilliant event to raise money for the ‘Stay Up Late’ charity and it was a huge success!

Achieve together news

This month I met with the Shadow Disability Minister, Vicky Foxcroft MP to share Achieve together’s vision, as well as to advocate on policy issues relating to employment for the people we support and wider and offer to be an expert voice. We will also be seeking an opportunity to meet the new Welsh Health Minister in due course.

Achieve together also met up with members of the Future Social Care Coalition (FSCC) Steering Group. Most recently Achieve together collaborated on the production of the Social Care People Plan Framework, which will be present to government. The FSCC are lobbying and campaigning for a better social care people plan and have a number of events lined up this year to engage with a wide variety of high-profile parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, following on from a zoom meeting, Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Disabilities, met Michael Fullerton on a site to visit Bridgewater House, our newly developed service. Whilst visiting, Sally-Ann Hart learned about our work on employment in particular, and how it benefits not only the people we support but also the wider community in Hastings and Rye.

Pictured above and socially distanced on the driveway at Bridgewater House, is Sally-Ann promoting the PMLD Core & Essential Service Standards, written by Michael.

On Thursday next week Michael Fullerton will be speaking at a prestigious international congress called IASSIDD (International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Developmental Disabilities).

There are expected to be 800 delegates from 40 different countries at this year’s virtual conference. Michael previously presented at this congress in Glasgow 2019 to focus on the PMLD Core & Essential Service Standards, which he wrote.

The topic this year is ‘Enhancing peer & self-advocacy for people with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities.’ Michael’s workshops will be broadcast ‘Live’ and will share how people with profound & multiple intellectual disabilities can be included and actively involved in self peer advocacy groups, and for those groups to be all the richer for that contribution.

Fun in the Sun

It’s great to see that people across Achieve together have been making the most of the lovely weather and are getting out to favourite places, enjoying outdoors activities. Some well-deserved fun for all!

Deaf Awareness Training

I’m proud that team members from around Achieve together have been developing their awareness of deafness and hearing loss, by doing a Deaf Awareness training course. We are doing this course in order to improve communication skills and confidence when speaking to colleagues who are deaf, or have hearing loss, and it’s a great skill to have.

We’ve had some great feedback from team members who attended the training. Some shared their experience:

“I learned how to sign a few words and am looking forward to learning a whole lot more.”

“Perhaps I might say that I was made aware of lots of stuff that I took for granted.”

“I really, really enjoyed the training. I learnt a lot and know it will be beneficial to me and my work going forwards.”

“I was so lucky to be invited to attend the training. I enjoyed it and I have started to understand best practises. If there are any other training modules available, I would like to continue my training.”

I personally really enjoyed the training and am looking forward to putting it into practice…

I hope you are enjoying the sunny months – long may it last!

Wishing you all the best,