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Ellen Mhor Open Day Success!

Ellen Mhor Learning Disability Service Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

Ellen Mhor is a residential care home with nursing situated in a suburban area of Dundee. The service can support up to 12 adults who are living with a learning disability, complex needs and who may have an autistic spectrum condition. Ellen Mhor also supports those who have behaviours which are perceived to be challenging and associated mental or physical health needs.


On the 29th July 2015, Ellen Mhor held an Open Day to celebrate its 10 year anniversary as a service. The event was a great success, with service users, families and carers and staff members all getting involved to mark the day with a barbeque and garden party. The sun was shining all day, and people took it in turns to take part in activities such as throwing water bombs at the Service Manager – Ashley Fraser Green and Consultant Nurse - Gary Docherty! 


Everyone involved worked really hard to make the day a success, and they even managed to raise a great sum for a local charity at the same time. £167.95 was raised through tombola, raffle and cake stall items donated and made by staff, service users, and relatives.

The people being supported by Ellen Mhor have decided to donate the money raised to ‘Cash for Kids’ a charity which is promoted and managed by their local radio station TayFM.

To thank everyone for their hard work and fundraising TayFM today have said that they are going to arrange a tour of the radio station for the individuals who were involved in the day.

Congratulations to everyone at Ellen Mhor for making the day a success and raising so much money for a great cause!


Our services are regularly hosting open days, events and barbeques for families and the local community, and they often are used as a chance for people to raise money for charities in the local areas. Watch this space to hear more about the events that are happening this summer.

Read more about Ellen Mhor here

Danshell's National Clinical Governance Forum Success

On the 1st July 2015, over sixty representatives from across the Danshell Group services and support functions gathered for the National Clinical Governance Forum at the Holiday Inn in York.

The afternoon conference was a resounding success and all those who attended felt inspired by the expertise and information that was shared throughout the day. The event is essential for sharing best practice. For instance, at July’s conference we were lucky to hear a service user’s perspectives of our model of care – Personal PATHS, when she presented to the group. It also serves as an opportunity to raise current key issues within the learning disability and mental health community, to make sure our services provide a high level of quality care.

The conference was opened by the Danshell’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Murray, who gave an overview of the Danshell model of care and the company’s plans for the next quarter. He spoke about our plans to continue to provide care that meets the needs of the individual. As a group, we have already redesigned bespoke services at three of our services in the UK. Andrew talked about the upcoming launch of Hollyhurst Lodge in Darlington which will provide bespoke apartments for two individuals living with a learning disability and complex needs.

Next, the new Duty of Candour published by the NWC was highlighted and discussed by the group. All staff were reminded of their responsibility in being transparent and to inform service users and families when incidents occur.

Jenny Anderton, User Involvement Lead, then talked to the group about service user involvement and the importance of including people in the delivery of their care. She talked about the importance of listening and learning from those we support. This is something we have been doing in our ‘Experts by Experience’ quality checks, where people who use our services inspect them to ensure the care being delivered is high quality. When discussing care, Jenny said,

“If we include people and families, we are going to get it right first time”.

The workshop was followed by a presentation on Epilepsy by Yvonne Butterfield, one of our Consultant Nurses for the North East Region. Yvonne discussed the importance of following our policies when supporting an individual with epilepsy. She highlighted that 50% of people living with a severe learning disability were likely to have epilepsy and this is something our services need to be very aware of. Yvonne reflected that,

“It is so important for us to work with families where individuals with epilepsy are concerned”,

as often they are instrumental in providing us with information that will ensure that they are supported to manage their illness effectively.

Laura Bottliglieri, Speech and Language Therapist, then discussed how she has been supporting people in services to use technology such as tablets and iPad’s. She highlighted how accessible the devices could be, and the wide range of applications that can be downloaded to help someone live more independently. Laura talked to us about the range of communication tools that she used on a daily basis.

We then had a presentation from the Chesterholme team including Simon Owens; Assistant Psychologist, Clare the activity co-ordinator and Jaime, a staff nurse. They discussed how they had been supporting people using Danshell’s Personal PATHS model of care. This included their Healthy Lifestyles challenges such as who can eat the most fruit and vegetables in a day! They then discussed their use of Appreciate Inquiry to hear about what is working well within the service. People who are supported there said that,

“I enjoy doing a lot of volunteering work”

And a new staff member reflected that,

“Since I have started, I have noticed everything is person centred here. The positive behaviour support is key to what we do. The staff all work well together and really value talking to the people we support”

Their presentation was concluded by a talk from Amanda, a service user from Chesterholme who talked to us about her experience of Therapeutic Outcomes and how she has been able to control her behaviour using a five step programme that has been really successful. Amanda spoke with confidence and energy in front of such a large crowd, and Debra Moore, Group Clinical & Nursing Director thanked her for sharing her experiences of care with us on the day.

In the second part of the conference we took part in a workshop by Jenny Anderton and Anne Benfield; Head of Customer Relationships, to discuss Care Treatment Reviews and our experiences of them. This was a chance for managers across the UK to work together to share their reflections of the reviews, and their advice with each other.

Finally we heard from Dave Atkinson, Consultant Nurse in the North East about the new NICE guidelines on violence and aggression.

All who attended left the event on a positive note, full of ideas on how they could continue to deliver a gold standard level of care to the people they serve, as well as their families and local communities.

Thank you to all staff who attended on the day, we look forward to the next forum.

Learning Disability Week 2015 - Achieving Success

LD Week


This year's theme for Learning Disability Week is 'Hear my Voice', a campaign created by Mencap to ensure people are listening to the views of individuals living with a learning disability. Danshell have been working hard to make sure we are listening to the voices of the people we serve, and those closest to them, to make sure we provide high quality, person-centred care. 

In addition, we want to use National Learning Disability Week 2015 to showcase some of the achievements of the people using our services. Many people have been taking great steps towards independence or achieving their own dreams and goals. 

Below are just a few highlights that we want to share with you this week:

Danshell's First National User Forum is a Great Success

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The theme of National Learning Disability Week 2015 is hearing people's voices - and this is what we did at our first National Service User Forum, on the 11th June 2015.

The Danshell Group held its first National User Forum at the Park Inn hotel in York on the 11th June 2015. The forum aimed to gain insight into the ‘Danshell Experience’ through the eyes of those who use Danshell services.  The day saw service users, family carers and the senior management panel gathering to listen to one another to gain greater understanding of the care and support provided from the point of view of the person using the service and how the same things matter to us all.

Read more

Sharing Success - Great Stories of Personal Achievement

 Sarahs Story Pauls Story Ralphs Story Nathan Bev


Volunteering Success at Bentley Railway Station

bentley group photo

Our Occupational Therapist for the South East, Susan Wood recently adopted Bentley Railway Station earlier this year. She had attended a meeting at the Colchester railway station in 2014 and things started growing from there. Suzy is very keen on supporting the local community and has an interest in gardens. She thought that by adopting Bentley Station, she could combine and explore interests with service users who also like gardening.

Suzy obtained a grant from Terri Ryland who is the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Officer. Terri also helped very much with getting the project off the ground and supporting the process along with others from Abelio Greater Anglia.

Terri provided the means to apply for a grant to purchase some flowers and things needed to enhance the appearance of the station gardens. Once the flowers were purchased things started moving very quickly. Suzy worked with staff and service users at The Orchards who had a keen interest in gardening, to start renovating the station gardens. The volunteers have been pro-active in supporting Suzy in the venture which provides them with real work opportunities.

Things have not stopped there though, the line is called “The Sunshine Coast Line” and efforts are being made to develop a mural for a wall which faces the train line. Volunteers from another Danshell service will get the opportunity to paint and present a picture of a seaside scene which will be translated onto the current blank wall which just has an old piece of wood on it. The Sunshine Coast line is a great line and meanders through beautiful villages on its route to Walton On The Naze.

Work will continue throughout the year and the station at Bentley is looking great; plans for the future include some large tubs (in place with some great wild flowers for the local wildlife – butterflies) which can also be looked after by people being supported by The Orchards. A wooden train is also being built by a local company and will be planted when finished. Suzy is very happy with the work that has been done by those supporting this venture and would like to thank all those involved; including Chris Wood the station master who has been so kind and helpful.

Danshell's First National User Forum Success

The Danshell Group held its first National User Forum at the Park Inn hotel in York on the 11th June 2015. The forum aimed to gain insight into the ‘Danshell Experience’ through the eyes of those who use Danshell services.  The day saw service users, family carers and the senior management panel gathering to listen to one another to gain greater understanding of the care and support provided from the point of view of the person using the service and how the same things matter to us all.

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Representatives from the regional service user forums came along to share the questions and opinions of their local panels with the people who manage Danshell on a day-to-day basis. To open, Helen Milevsky, training coordinator, talked about ASDAN qualifications and what they offer to people in our services. To date, 98 people using our services have enrolled on the ASDAN qualifications, to gain skills to promote independence.  Helen confirmed that many more people signed up after she spoke about the qualifications and so hoped this number would increase.

Led by Karen Flood, Co-chair of the National Forum for people with learning disabilities, the forum began with a group exercise discussing what was important to them. It was interesting to see that each group independently agreed that family, friends and happiness were the most important three things.

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Next, the groups worked together to make posters about what they wanted to see from Danshell services, and what would mean the most to them. Each groups focus was different and included becoming more independent, communicating with family members and having jobs and meaningful work placements.

At the end of these group activities, the room was aware of what people really valued, and this set the tone for the day. Karen Flood said, ‘everyone in this room is equal’ and ‘being close to family and friends is important to us all’.

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The afternoon session saw the Danshell senior management team form a panel whereby people who use the Danshell services could ask questions about their care and support. The panel was; Andrew Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Debra Moore, Group Clinical and Nursing Director, Resh Hirani, Acting Director of Finance, Ori Zaidman, Director of Corporate Development.

Questions asked included; ‘Can we have a pet?’, ‘How will we keep good staff?’, and from the family carer forum ‘How can you showcase work from inspiring managers and share it with the group?’

The panel provided the opportunity for service users to ask the senior management team questions that they believed would improve the quality of care being delivered. Overall, the question time ran for over an hour and everyone felt that they had good and full responses to issues raised.

Jenny Anderton, Danshell’s user involvement lead and organiser of the day said, “The forum has been a great success. It’s incredibly encouraging to see representatives each regional forum here putting forward those questions that matter most to those in charge. The day was informal and everybody came away feeling positive. The representatives are now going back to their respective regional forums and will feedback on the outcomes of the day”.

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