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Whorlton Hall Learning for Life

    04 Whorlton Writing

In November a new letter writing course began at Whorlton Hall. The course is being run in conjunction with Darlington Borough Council’s Learning and Skills Service, Learning for Life. The course tutor, Grainne, has a great deal of experience in teaching life skills to people with learning disabilities and is looking forward to working with Danielle, David and Andrew over the length of the course.

Andrew said, “I like this, I can write to Grandad.” David and Danielle are also going to write to family members. Danielle and Andrew have written letters in the past to family members, but this is something new for David, who is looking forward to writing to his brother. Everyone agreed that it’s nice to receive a proper letter from someone we care about.

The course will be running for 5 weeks, following which they are starting a Christmas Crafts course, again with Learning for Life.

04 Whorlton Interview Prep Edit   

Interview Practice
In November, Andrew and Christopher also took part in a mock interview to prepare for interviewing new staff. Andrew and Christopher were supported by Audrey and Caitlin, who helped them to choose and ask questions using the booklet ‘Recruiting Staff Support Workers’.

To make the exercise ‘real’, they recruited Simon Bell from Governance to be the person being interviewed. Andrew and Christopher found this very worthwhile and look forward to carrying out interviews “for real” in the future.

Click here to see more about Whorlton Hall

Click here to read more about the Learning and Skills Service at Darlington Borough Council

Raymond Shows His Artistic Skill

Raymond at Thors Park would like to show you his artistic talent, with a picture he painted that he is very proud of. He has a creative flair with a strong imagination, and is being supported to maintain and build on these skills using the variety of resources and seasonal opportunities available. Some of these he has particularly enjoyed were creating a picture of a witch for Halloween, and more recently some great paintings and a banner for Christmas.

He has also created some wonderful seasonal pictures using paints, wood and textures, using all of the resources Thors Park has to offer. Below is a picture of Raymond with a painting he particularly enjoyed creating, which shows a garden scene with lots of birds and some amazingly intricate detail.

    03 Raymond Painting Oct 16

Raymond moved to Thors Park in August 2016, and was asked about his experience of moving. We are happy to hear that since he has been there, “boredom has never come into it.”

He is busy all the time and says he is “very happy at Thors Park.”

He loves meeting new people and was really pleased to attend LD Today, the biggest learning disability conference, in London a few weeks ago to support our team exhibiting there. He was particularly pleased to see how many free pens were being given out, and stocked up his art materials supply considerably! Raymond enjoys getting involved in the regional forums, and has even stood up and presented there on behalf of Thors Park service users.

We’re glad Raymond is happy at Thors Park and are looking forward to seeing more of his beautiful paintings.

Click here to see more about Thors Park

Service Users’ Designs Adorn Danshell Christmas Card

1st Place Shane   

One of our service users from a service in Bishop Auckland has proved his artistic merit by winning our company-wide Christmas art project.

The Christmas card competition was launched to encourage service users to feel involved in the company and to produce a design for our corporate card for Christmas 2016.

The winning design, chosen from more than 130 entries from across the UK, depicts a snowy scene featuring reindeer, a snowman and Father Christmas. The festive creation was designed by Shane, who lives in one of our North East services.

The result was very close, with a gentleman at Bostall House in Abbey Wood London coming in 2nd place, and two people sharing 3rd place from Dundee and Darlington. Their designs will also be turned into our corporate Christmas cards, giving a choice of designs.

Service users from across the country were invited to take part in the judging day. All the staff at our York Office also got involved in the judging process, including Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive and Clynt Hall, our Finance Director. Everyone enjoyed themselves and got into the festive spirit enjoying the buffet, Christmas music and games.

    1st Place

Mel said: “The voting day for our Christmas card competition was just incredible, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of cards we received. The Christmas card competition is a way of recognising the creative talents of the people we support, and it certainly did just that.

“The standard of entries was exceptionally high and it was not easy to choose between the pieces of art work. However, Shane’s fantastic design received the most votes and everyone was absolutely delighted for him.

We cannot forget to also congratulate our 2nd and joint 3rd entry winners, and indeed every one of the 130 cards we received. It really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas now.”

Christmas Card Collage Web

Updates from Our South East Services

Services in South East England recently held their regional forum at Wick Lodge in Clacton-on-Sea. Service users from across all sites in the South East presented to the members attending. One person was supported by a family member who attends the family forum. Advocates attended the event, along with Melinda Glover, Director of Operations for the South East region. Everyone was very pleased to see Melinda, and she was very supportive and encouraging. The forum went very well and a variety of ideas came about from it.

Service users discussed activities they enjoy, as well as those they would like to do. Some of these have now started at the services interested:

  • Thors Park have started clay and woodwork sessions, which are going very well with lots of people taking part. Yew Trees have been running clay sessions for a while and have been experimenting with a potter’s wheel. They have made some wonderful things and the ladies are so very proud of their work.
    pool reggiana ya0000wa
  • Service users and staff continue to explore community resources. Access to the new private pool resource is going well for individuals at Thors Park. The pool is beautiful, as you can see, and allows up to 10 people to use it at any time. It is solely for the use of Thors Park during their session, so everyone feels safe and supported to use this valuable resource. Use of the pool is also being explored for Yew Trees, so hopefully it won’t be too long before the ladies are able to take a splash themselves. This would form a graded approach for some before stepping into a public pool.
  • Football with Healthy4Life at the local leisure centre on Thursdays continues on a weekly basis, which is going really well for our ladies at Ducks Halt and Yew Trees. The Rock It club in Thorpe is also a great community resource which ladies from both services frequently attend.

Service users decided to have a Christmas party for the region, which will be held on December 8th. Everyone has been working hard to prepare for the party; all the service users are involved in coming up with party games to play, with all sites playing a part in the organising. Some of the activities planned so far are; pin the nose on Rudolph, a Treasure Hunt, a quiet corner for colouring, musical statues, a best Christmas hat competition and Christmas Pictionary.

There will also be a DJ, a snow machine and a photobooth where people can take pictures with the snow machine and fun Christmas-themed props like hats, glasses and beards. They can then use these photos to make Christmas cards for their family that are truly personalised, original and creative. Service users and staff alike are looking forward to the party!

Damien from The Orchards presented at the recent forum on what he has been enjoying recently, talking about how much he loves to cook. From this a Bake Off competition was set into action, with the judging taking place at the Christmas party. Good luck to everyone taking part!

The regional forum also discussed their roles for each forum and how they can promote greater service user involvement. Everyone will have the opportunity to apply for a role at the next regional forum in March, with a vote taking place to democratically elect each position. Until that time, the roles will be conducted by service users at each service in a shared manner; Old Leigh House will be the organisers; Thors Park will be the Chair; Ducks Halt will arrange events and activities; Bostall House will be in charge of ‘Meet and Greet’; Yew Trees will take the minutes; and The Orchards will organise invites and publications.

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