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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.

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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

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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.

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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.”

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Danshell Attends Learning Disability Today 2016

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Danshell staff and service users attended Learning Disability Today 2016 at the end of last month, aiming to promote our services and meet likeminded people within the industry. It was also a great opportunity for service users to do something different, visit a new place and take part in some fun activities.

Learning Disability Today is the country’s largest inclusive event for people with learning disabilities and hosted a range of activities, talks and seminars. The programme of the day focused on topics that are important to people with learning disabilities, their carers and the professionals who support them. Everyone from across the learning disability community was represented – commissioners, policy makers, charities, providers, family carers, support workers, and most importantly, people with learning disabilities. Attendees could also peruse the many stands with providers and charities that support people with learning disabilities to live full lives as independently as possible.

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The hall was full of people all day and we were very grateful of the help provided by service users and staff at some of our South East services, who came and assisted on the Danshell stand. The ladies and gentlemen really enjoyed the day, particularly when they were talking to people as they stood at the stand. A gentlemen from one of our services in Essex attended some of the talks and found them interesting. As an avid artist, he also took a particular liking to the free pens that were being handed out!

Another young man had fun chatting to everyone and particularly liked the chocolates being handed out at most of the stands. He also took part in an activity at a stand where they were lobbying the government to make changes. Helped by Suzy Wood, Occupational Therapist in the South East, he wrote a card with suggestions, and hung it on a tree set up to collect the ideas.

Suzy said of the day, “I really enjoyed the day, especially spending time with the service users, having our photos taken and meeting other providers.”

Thank you to our service users and staff that came and helped out on the stand. We’re glad you had a good time!

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.
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  • 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.

Update from Bostall House

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Bostall House has been busy over the last few months! In October they celebrated Denis’ birthday with a party, which his family all came to. Staff decorated the dining room with birthday banners and bunting. The chef cooked a delicious spread and Denis had a black forest gateaux for his birthday cake. Denis was overwhelmed with the celebrations and thanked everyone. Robert also gave a wonderful speech, which he had been practicing throughout the morning. Everyone agreed it was a great celebration, and they all enjoyed tucking into the party food and helping Denis have a very happy birthday!

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After Denis’ party, Bostall House continued to celebrate with a Halloween Party. The activities room was decorated in spider webs, bunting and scary signs. Everyone joined in with a treasure hunt throughout the house and garden. The best costume prize was presented to Robert, who came dressed as a spooky skeleton in a suit. Well done Robert!

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Joseph has been practicing for the ‘Bake Off’ competition. He made some tasty fairy cakes, which he decorated by piping on chocolate butter icing. Joseph was very careful and meticulous, and has said he enjoyed the baking.

Recently Bostall House has been taking part in the Christmas card competition, having fun with the stickers, stencils and other stationery on offer in the activity room. Everyone had good ideas and were eager to show their enthusiasm. They are looking forward to finding out who the winner will be!

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There have been lots of other activities at Bostall House over the last month, including; service users coming up with lots of new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals; everyone helping to replant the front garden with winter flowers to add colour during the colder months; Ryan and Rayne have completed their Tree of Life projects, creating beautiful artworks to tell people who they are and what is important to them.

Click here to see more about Bostall House

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