Today I’m bringing you a look at the 8 services that recently achieved a Gold rating in our Wheel of Engagement. At Achieve together, our aim is to deliver services that are rated at least good or compliant by our regulators. As an organisation, we want to ensure that the people we support have the best possible quality of life. As a result, we created the Wheel of Engagement to encourage continuous improvement and a focus on the quality of life of the people we support. We have implemented a rating process for each service using the Wheel of Engagement as a way of expressing what good quality support should look like.
To receive a Gold award, you need to demonstrate that every person supported in the service is actively involved in three or more areas of the Wheel of Engagement.
These areas are:
- Total Communication
- Active Community Involvement
- Intensive interaction
- Leisure and exercise
- Positive Behaviour Support
- Person-centred active support
- Voluntary work
- Sensory stimulation
- Paid employment
51 Rutland Gardens:
I was really impressed with Rutland Gardens and their active approach to fulfilling the criteria of the Wheel of Engagement. They adopt the ethos ‘this is their home, not our place of work.’ At 51 Rutland Gardens, the rooms are decorated to the wishes of each individual. The team will change their shift hours to support the hobbies and activities of each person. Staff advocate for the Stay Up Late campaign, with one staff member starting work at 11pm so that they could accompany an individual on a ghost hunt that finished at 3am, as the person had expressed that they really wanted to go.
All the people we support at Rutland Gardens are actively involved in the local community. 2 individuals have voluntary employment, with one working at Deer Lodge and one at a charity shop. They also regularly participate in exercise; badminton, tai chi, Zumba, walking and attending the gym 3 times a week.
283 Dyke Road:
I was especially impressed by the links to local community that all the people we support at 283 Dyke Road have. The people we support there have a wide variety of needs but they are all actively involved in the community. They hosted and took part in the National Care Home Open Day, which saw 283 Dyke Road open its doors to people from the local community including friends, family, neighbours and people from the local church. Over 40 people came and visited the service, and they got to see a variety of performances including singing and street dance, as well as food and drinks prepared by the people we support!
People also started a weekly drama therapy group and decided to put together a play to perform at the Brighton Fringe Festival. The play was written by them and included a mixture of all their interests and ideas. They were also involved in making a film which they wrote and starred in. The film even featured in a Spanish film festival!
290 Dyke Road:
290 Dyke Road is home to 4 individuals with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities and complex health needs. I especially liked the way in which staff tailor-make support to each individual to ensure that they have the best quality of life.
One person we support at 290 Dyke road had a real fear of water and did not enjoy any form of washing when he came to 290. He became very distressed and needed a lot of support. The staff supported and encouraged him to have water play sessions for him to learn and cope with the sensation of water. This started from dipping his hands in still water, playing with the hose in the garden to then be in the paddling pool and even at the seafront in Brighton!
Another person we support at 290 Dyke road is a member of the Campaign 4 Change self-advocacy group. She works hard to ensure that changing facilities, for individuals who require varying degrees of support, are available, or at least will be available shortly. She recently received 2 awards for her campaign work!
Independence is really encouraged at Cedars. The ladies that live at Cedars are all actively involved in the running of their home. They take part in interviewing possible candidates for jobs at the home and are encouraged to answer their house phone and front door with support. They also complete monthly reviews for their key workers and enjoy doing this as they can reflect on what they have achieved and taken part in that month.
The ladies at Cedars are also really encouraged to participate in voluntary work as a means of increasing their independence. One individual has weekly in-house craft sessions where she creates bags, purses and more out of leather. She then attends the local market every month to sell her products and all of the money goes to charity. Another person we support at Cedars delivers leaflets around the village for local butchers and takeaways. The other person we support at Cedars loves cleaning and sorting out the rubbish, so she decided to buy herself a litter picker and now walks around the village one day a week litter picking.
Penny Meadow is one of our Day Services that cater for individuals with a wide range of learning disabilities and communication challenges.
What really struck me was the amount of activities that Penny Meadow have on offer; there is something for everyone! From trips to the zoo, crabbing, indoor bowls, archery, visits to the air ambulance service, selling home grown fruit and vegetables to the local community, charity cake sales, picnics and more, they offer so much. I also really like how they present it all in a monthly newsletter, highlighting the achievements of the people they support as well as what they have on offer.
There is a real focus on employment and greater independence at Ruby House. Staff support and encourage individuals to obtain employment, either paid or voluntary, which helps not only to integrate them more into the community and boost their confidence, but also teaches things such as time and budget management. They particularly use assistive technology to help the people we support to achieve their goals. One of the people they support wanted to travel to Australia independently to see family but was struggling with basic travel training. With support from staff and assistive technology, the trip was achieved! Another person supported at Ruby House cleans at a local social club and with assistive technology, makes the small ferry journey independently.
Individuals at Ruby House are also currently involved in making a film about living with a disability which they hope to take into school to educate children. The film is being made in collaboration with students from a local college.
The Moors achieved a Gold rating in part due to its focus on Person Centred Active Support and Employment. One person we support at the Moors volunteers at the YMCA and the British Heart Foundation, as well as an Achieve together Quality Checker. Another has one voluntary job and one paid employment. Another person they support is currently studying for her black belt in Choi, which is a type of martial art. She has already passed her essay and theory exam and just has the practical exam to go!
The Ridgeway focuses on making sure the people they support stay active. The individuals that live there are very outgoing, enjoy meeting new people and forming new friendships and so support by staff reflects that. The people supported at the Ridgeway are involved in advocacy campaigns, such as Stay Up Late and STOMP. They are encouraged to walk at least once a day and engage in physical activity, such as yoga and swimming. They are currently even arranging a dog walking service which I think is a fantastic idea!