Harrow School boys run Long Ducker for Certitude

Over 800 boys from Harrow School completed the ‘Long Ducker’ on Sunday 5th November with sponsorship money going to the School’s supported charity for this year – Certitude. The annual event is run over 10km (although some boys opt to run a half marathon); every boy takes part and raises money for charity.

The run kicks off a year of partnership activities between Harrow School and Certitude, which provides support to adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs locally.  The runners all wore Certitude T-shirts for the event and CEO Aisling Duffy and Charles Bodden, who is supported by Certitude in Harrow, were on hand to present medals to the runners as they crossed the finish line at Harrow School.

Charles Bodden commented: “It was really fun, I cheered on Max who comes to visit on Mondays and then gave out medals at the end.”

Aisling Duffy commented: “We hugely value our relationship with Harrow School. It was impressive to see so many boys and teachers running the Long Ducker, proudly wearing Certitude t-shirts and sharing our vision that everyone has the right to a good life. The money raised by Harrow School means that Certitude can go further in supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health in Harrow. Certitude knows that everyone has gifts and talents and we are delighted to have the support of such a prestigious school that shares and supports our values.”

Harrow student George Grassly, who won the race on Sunday, summed up the attitude of all the runners: “Long Ducker is a very enjoyable run and a rare occasion where the whole school gets stuck into an event. I was delighted to win this year for such a great cause.”

The money raised by Harrow School this year will be used by Certitude to buy assistive technology which helps people with learning disabilities communicate more effectively. Some of the funds will also be put towards projects and activities which encourage greater interaction between people supported by Certitude and their local community. People with learning disabilities can often feel isolated so encouraging broader community connections is a considerable part of the support provided by Certitude.

To boost this drive to build more local connections, Harrow pupils are also getting directly involved with the people supported by Certitude – visiting weekly and organising cooking nights, quizzes, parties and other events throughout the year.

You can still donate and support here

You can also find us in the Harrow Times and Watford Observer


Munster Support Team win at the Great London Care Awards!

The Great London Care Awards took place on Friday 10th November at The Hilton Bankside, celebrating excellence across the care sector.

We are thrilled to announce that the Munster Support Team based in Richmond are the regional winners for The Palliative Care/End of Life Award.  The judge’s said “The team are truly inspirational. Their dedication and compassion to support people at the end of their life was moving. They have the special qualities needed in this area of work.”

The Munster Support Team gave their unwavering dedication and support to someone who was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year. Working with Princess Alice Hospice, Community Nursing and the Speech & Language Therapist from Your HealthCare, district nurses and the GP, the team developed a personalised care plan, which meant he could stay at home. This was a completely new experience to the team, who learned as they went with guidance from our partners.

The door was always open for his housemates to visit and they were encouraged to ask questions and to talk with staff and support each other during this difficult time. In July, he passed away at home in his own bed, listening to Elvis (his favourite), and surrounded by people who loved him.

The Great London Care Awards are part of the Great British Care Awards, a series of 9 regional awards where winners will go through to the final at Birmingham’s ICC in Spring 2018.

Congratulations to the Munster Support Team and good luck for the National finals in the Spring!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Twas the month before Christmas and all through the house, nothing was stirring, except our community choirs who’ve got a big concert coming up and they’re very busy rehearsing!

It’s our second ever Christmas Carol Concert! This year promises to raise the frosty bar even higher than our debut in 2016. Join us at the utterly gorgeous and fully accessible London Museum of Water and Steam on Thursday 7th December from 7.30pm for a fabulous night of Christmas carols, wine, mince pies and seasonal schmoozing.

This year we’re cranking it up a notch and have added support to the bill, the wonderful Sarah will be laying down a flurry of festive tunes in the foyer before we take our seats for a rollicking singalong in the magnificent main hall, dropping bits of mince pie all over the show.

Tickets are £5 on the door, or £5.50 in advance from https://tinyurl.com/certitudecarol2017.

Book in advance to avoid disappointment, we’re a big deal now and space is limited. Tell, nay, bring your friends.

For more information or if you have any questions please contact Sam Mason at sam.mason@certitude.org.uk.


Win for IPSA at the Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards!

The Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards took place on Thursday 13th October at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool recognising the strength of mental health support happening across the country.

Certitude, as part of the Lambeth Integrated Personalised Support Alliance (IPSA) were shortlisted as finalists for two awards – the Improving Access & Outcomes in Housing (NHS England) and the Recovery Award.

Congratulations to IPSA for the Improving Access & Outcomes in Housing (NHS England) Award. The whole IPSA team : Certitude, Thames Reach, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and Lambeth Council were announced as the winners for their innovative work providing support to people with complex mental health support needs in Lambeth. Through this work, families have been reconnected and people are recovering and finding new purpose to their lives. The IPSA team were highly commended for the Recovery Award.

This is an amazing achievement and very well deserved. Well done to all the nominees and winners!

‘Vibrant, engaging and exciting’ – SELF comes to Hounslow

After the success of SELF: Portraits in Social Care held in Brixton earlier this year, we celebrated the launch of Season 2 in Hounslow on 14th September.

SELF Season 2 sees a collaboration between photographer Dean Belcher and Certitude’s Community Development Team, led by Jake Meyer. Everyone featured in the exhibition is from Hounslow and is either connected with Certitude or with activities offered by Age UK at Montague Hall. SELF seeks to use imagery to depict the commonalities between people within social care rather than reinforcing the often-imposed barriers and roles that people are given.

The private launch provided the opportunity for those involved to see their photos displayed professionally and to show their family, friends and the wider community. The impact of the photos was felt by all that attended – vibrant, engaging and inspiring.

We are very grateful to have the support of Councillor Sue Sampson, Mayor of Hounslow as well as Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth and Mukesh Malhotra, Councillor for Hounslow Heath. Mayor Sue Sampson spoke with many of the people featured in the portraits and said “the photos are so inspirational. Each photo tells a million stories and each one is unique” while Ruth Cadbury MP enjoyed seeing people proudly share their photos. Councillor Mukesh Malhotra explained how he knew quite a few people in the photos so the exhibition was “wonderful to see”. Professor Sally Glen, Certitude Board member, noted the power of the images in removing stereotypical perceptions of social care.

SELF: Portraits in Social Care is running from Friday 15th September 2017 – Thursday 28th September 2017 at Montague Hall, 30 Montague Rd, Hounslow TW3 1LD, Monday to Friday 3pm – 5pm. For further details, contact jmeyer@certitude.org.uk 

Everything’s crossed for Matt at the Dignity in Care Awards 2017!

We are very excited that Matt Lancaster, Support Worker in Richmond, has been shortlisted at the Dignity in Care Awards 2017 for the Carer of the Year (Learning Disabilities) Award!

Matt (pictured above with William, his son and Edward, his dad) was also recently a finalist at the National Learning Disability Awards 2017, so we asked Kathleen Isaac, Head of Business Development, about his work.

“Matt is an exceptional support worker. He came to Certitude from another organisation when we started to support Ben* – he has known Ben for 8 years and wanted to stay in his life. Matt is committed to making sure people face transition and change with confidence and without fear; he has developed social stories to help prepare for new situations, provides ongoing reassurance and recognises the value of learning when things don’t always go to plan.

Matt supports people who’s behaviour can be perceived as challenging which can sadly sometimes get in the way of them being seen and known for their many skills and gifts. Matt has consistently role modelled what great support looks like – valuing people for who they are as individuals, the contributions they bring and appreciating and respecting different perspectives on ordinary things such as sensory feedback from a washing machine!

When life can be difficult for people, he finds ways that work for them to overcome the barriers. Ben was afraid of going to his GP, so Matt worked with Ben to understand his anxieties and with this understanding he made sure that his first visit to his new GP was just to say hello and get to know everyone. Matt has also worked with the practice, helping them to understand Ben’s needs and supporting them to make adjustments so Ben can attend the GP without fear – now, if Ben has to wait when he has an appointment, he can wait in a quiet room and make himself a cup of tea!

The impact of Matt’s support, alongside the rest of the team, can be seen as Ben has now been able to reduce his medication and stop taking some altogether. Matt epitomises what great support in transforming care looks like in action.”

Good luck Matt!

*name changed to protect identity

Certitude shortlisted for the Tesco bags of Help initiative

We are proud to announce that Certitude has been shortlisted for the Tesco bags of Help initiative for our Sensory Garden Project at the ARC in Ealing.

Tesco have teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant – and Certitude is one of them!

Sam, Community Fundraiser says, “Our garden has been imagined and designed by people we support and we’re really excited about the plans. New pathways will make the whole garden wheelchair accessible, raised beds open gardening up to people who can’t get down to ground level. We’ll have a fire pit for cosy winter reading, raised walkways, water features, new seating, sensory plants and a native British hedgerow, creating a haven for local wildlife. It’s going to be a fantastic space to enjoy time outside throughout the year, and we’d also like to use the space to host events, inviting the local community and groups into the ARC, expanding social networks and supporting community cohesion. Through low impact exercise and amazing sensory experiences, people using the ARC will see a host of physical and mental health benefits, living happy, healthy lives, valued and understood by their communities.”

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco adds, “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for July and August. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury added, “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between. We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Voting is open for Certitude in the following Tesco stores throughout July and August. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.














Please cast your votes if you are at the stores mentioned. As Certitude says ‘everyone has the right to a good life’ and as you know ‘every little helps’.

Thackray Williams to take part in Ride London for Certitude!

On 30th July 2017, 4 cycling buddies from Thackray Williams will be taking part in the Ride London 100.

The year-long partnership between Certitude and Thackray Williams will focus on raising money for assistive technology that will change the lives of people with learning disabilities in Bromley.

David Bowers, Chris Zahner, Elliot Lewis and David Lea are taking on the Ride London 100 challenge! Here’s what they have to say…

“After spending all week inside an office, I find cycling the perfect way to get out into the countryside, getting fresh air, enjoyment, stress relief and exercise at the same time. Cycling allows you to explore new areas and is the only sport that you can stop for coffee and cake halfway through!

Ride 100 is a challenging ride, not just in terms of the distance but the speed required. Prior to starting training, I had not cycled more than 60 miles, but I wanted to push myself and see

how far I can go. The opportunity to fundraise for Certitude and to help raise funds to help improve the lives of the people with learning disabilities in the Bromley area means it is a ride that I am looking forward to.”

David Bowers

“I am very excited to be attempting my first (and possibly only!) century ride on behalf of Certitude in the Ride London 100. I have completed rides from London to Brighton and from Bromley to Whitstable before but have never dreamed I might be good enough to attempt 100 miles, until now. I progressed a few years ago from enjoying the odd off road single-track adventure with my best friend to training for charity rides and now regularly commute 15 miles each by bicycle to and from work as part of my training (luckily there is a shower at work).

Cycling is great for stress relief before and after work, and thanks to my newfound cycling buddies at work we often go out on regular long-distance training rides once a month or so. I particularly enjoy the thrill of getting up tough hills now and at weekends I can be found in deepest Kent or Surrey looking for harder hills to challenge myself on…I am clearly a glutton for punishment!”

Chris Zahner

“I am delighted, along with 3 of my cycling buddies from Thackray Williams to be taking part in the Ride London 100 on behalf of Certitude, our firm’s charity of the Year for 2017. I took up cycling in 2012 inspired by the London Olympics and having reached that stage in life where if I didn’t get off the sofa and do some exercise I might be stuck there forever! My wife rather uncharitably suggested it was some form of mid-life crisis and she could be right (as she always is of course!).

I have taken part in a number of cycling events over the past 5 years or so including last year’s Ride London 100 and am looking forward to yet another amazing experience. I am proof, if any were needed, that cycling really is for all shapes and sizes. Cycling has enabled me to lose some weight and get fitter then I have been for years. It also gives me plenty of opportunities to bore anyone in close proximity with tales of cycling heroism and a blow by blow account of each and every mile I travel, which as you can imagine thrills my family no end!”

Elliot Lewis

“I am very much looking forward to taking part in the Ride London 100 on behalf of our charity of the year Certitude. I have cycled on and off for many years since my university days however I only took up cycling seriously about 18 months after having purchased a bike through to the government’s Ride to Work Scheme.

I enjoy cycling most weekends either on my own or with my fellow Thackeray Williams enthusiasts.   Last year 8 of us from the firm cycled from our offices in Bromley to sunny Whitstable on behalf of a local charity. We cycled approximately 60 miles over undulating terrain which was challenging but ultimately rewarding.

Since taking up the sport, there have been ups and downs (including a broken elbow last Winter!) however overall I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming a keen cyclist and I am relishing this new challenge which awaits us.”

David Lea

A huge thank you to David, Elliot, Chris and David, Thackray Williams and everyone who has donated so far – we’re one step closer to making a real difference to people’s lives.

To find out more and donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thackraywilliamscycle

An inspiring evening of SELF

What a night it was at the opening of the art exhibition SELF: Portraits in Social Care!

Beautiful, human, strong, raw, courageous and inspiring were some of the words used to describe the photos that make up the exhibition – a collaboration between photographer Mike Tinney and Certitude’s Community Development Team, led by Jake Meyer. SELF seeks to use imagery that depicts the commonalities of people using and providing social care rather than reinforcing the often imposed roles that people are given.

The private launch for the exhibition provided the opportunity for those involved to see their photos presented and to show family, friends and the wider community the importance of breaking down perceived barriers, reducing labels and instead focusing on the person themselves, rather than their diagnosis or support needs.

We were grateful to have the support of Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood as well as Lambeth Councillor Jim Dickson. MP Helen Hayes said “I think this is such an important project – beautiful, powerful images of people who are often otherwise invisible. It helps us to build a more inclusive approach to those who care and are cared for.” Councillor Jim Dickson added that he found the exhibition really inspirational.

Joleka had written a lovely poem about SELF after seeing the exhibition a day earlier. Truly inspirational!

SELF: Portraits in Social Care is running from Friday 16th June 2017 – Friday 14th July 2017 at the Connect & Do Space, 109 Railton Road, London SE24 0LR, Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm. For further details, contact jmeyer@certitude.org.uk 

SELF – looking at identity and self image

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

How would you describe your face?

Tell us something about yourself…

How would you answer these questions? People’s responses are core to the foundation of SELF: Portraits in Social Care, a collaboration between Certitude and photographer Mike Tinney.

The project sets out to show the human face of social care – engaging, proud, and full of big personalities – a huge contrast with the negative portrayal of hate crime, divisions and lack of care shown in the media. Strong, impactful images and powerful quotes about people’s identity aim to break down perceived barriers that exist and raise awareness of the commonalities between people, irrespective of whether they have support needs, their gender, race or background.

We believe it is important for us to focus on people themselves, rather than their diagnosis or support needs. The exhibition includes photographs and quotes from people who use support, staff, family members as well as people in the wider community. People are only identified by their name and self perception, not whether they are linked with the social care system. This has created an interesting space where people are seen as they see themselves rather than through the lens of social care. Our hope is that this blurring of perceptions will promote a sense of inclusion and belonging for everyone, whether they have been photographed or are visiting the exhibition.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part for their time, openness and honesty.

SELF: Portraits in Social Care is running between Friday 16th June 2017 – Friday 14th July 2017 at the Certitude Connect & Do Space, 109 Railton Road, London SE24 0LR, Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm. For further details, contact jmeyer@certitude.org.uk