Rosa Monckton does not speak for us or our children

Read two stories from parents voicing their concerns over the claims made by Rosa Monckton and supported by Libby Purves in a recent article claiming that “We are letting down people with learning difficulties if we allow the minimum wage to price them out of jobs

Alex’s Story by Marianne Selby-Boothroyd, Mum to Alex and Director of Development at Certitude and Ellen’s Story by Linda Jordan, Mum to Ellen and Senior Development Advisor at the National Development Team for Inclusion.  Please read here.

Up for a challenge?

If you’re feeling lively, fancy a bit of exercise, and help people we support in the process, then sign up for one of our challenges!

 

Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq visits Certitude!

Local MP Dr Rupa Huq enjoyed tea and biscuits when she visited our learning disability services in Ealing.  She met people we support, found out what is important to them and discovered how they like to engage with their local community.

You can read the Ealing Times feature here  or Ealing Today here and find out more about the visit in our Question Time news item.

 

Question Time comes to Certitude!

On the 24th of February Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, visited two of our supported houses within her constituency.

Dr Huq wanted to meet people with learning disabilities to find out how they find living in the local area and connecting with the community. However, we doubt she expected the grilling she received from one of the people we support, Naoise Carver-Nolan.

Knowing that his local MP was coming round for a chat, Naoise prepared a series of questions for Dr Huq covering a range of hot political topics including Brexit, Donald Trump and Special Needs Education. Naoise’s carefully thought out questions were the kind usually featured on BBC Question Time such as “How long will it take Theresa May to sort out Brexit?” and ‘What do you think about Donald Trump and a ban in the UK?”.

Naoise said meeting Dr Huq “was very good and I enjoyed every moment”.

Deputy Manager Jenny Plummer was delighted that Naoise was able to ask his questions. She told us: “He thought the questions up and wrote them down himself. It was lovely that Dr Huq had time to chat with him and the other people in the house about the things which are important to them.”

Dr Rupa Huq’s visit is one of several such events taking place across Certitude services. In December Dr Tania Mathias MP met with residents at Cross St and The Lodge and in the same month Ruth Cadbury MP attended a Christmas performance by the Certitude Community Choir at the London Museum of Water and Steam in Kew.

As the arts develop, so do the people

Creative Journeys is an open and inclusive project for people who share an interest in art.

Produced by social inclusion organisation Certitude and working with Artist Andy Kee the group have opened up journeys through gallery spaces in London over the last two years. Disability Arts Online talked to Andy about his ideas and aspirations for the development of the project.  Read Andy’s blog here.

 

Conversations change lives

“It’s time to talk because if you say something, you realise how many people around you haven’t, and needed to…”

One in four people will experience a mental health problem every year. Right now a friend, colleague or loved one could be going through their own challenges.

Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult, but too many people with mental health needs feel unable to. Time to Talk Day is about giving people the chance to talk and to listen about mental health.

Throughout the day, we will be sharing quotes from people across Certitude who have had their own experiences with mental health, some examples of these are below.

Every conversation, every text, every share means more people are reached and more lives have possibly been changed. To get involved, tweet us with your experiences @Certitude and include the hashtag #TimetoTalk.

If you want to talk to someone about your mental health, you can also contact our team at Solidarity in a Crisis on 0300 123 1922. Our Peer Supporters have their own experiences of facing and overcoming crisis and are there to listen when people need to be heard.

By opening up to mental health, you can make a real difference.

Aisling Duffy selected for The Guardian Public Leaders editorial advisory board 2017

Certitude is delighted by the announcement that Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive, has been appointed to the Guardian’s Public Leaders Network 2017 editorial advisory board.

Each year, nominations are made from across The Guardian Public Leaders network with individuals selected from all areas of public service, including central and local government, housing, the voluntary sector and health and social care. The chosen ten leaders will provide expert insight on the editorial board over the coming year.

Aisling says: ‘I am honoured and delighted to be joining this esteemed group of Public Leaders. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to work together with colleagues to further enhance the conversation and debate that is essential to support sustainability, share best practice and drive innovation in our public services’.

You can read more about the 2017 Board here

Treat yourself to a good walk!

Treat Me Right! Co-ordinator Helen Cairns is looking forward to shaking off the January blues on a good walk with some interesting people.

January always seems a bit of a bleak month. The festivities are over and perhaps we’ve over-indulged on rich food and spent too much time snuggling up on the sofa. It can feel like the worst time to exercise – its cold outside and we’re feeling sluggish.

Treat Me Right! may have just the solution. As part of our Health Buddies programme we’re starting a walking group and our first walk will take place on Sunday January 15 starting at 11am from the Lido Centre in West Ealing on Mattock Lane, W13 9LA.

Walking is an easy way to get fit and great opportunity to meet new people and get out into the community. According to the NHS Livewell website  “Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier”.

Our walk will be designed to suit all abilities and we’re looking forward to welcoming people from all across the local community. Walking with other people is great fun as you just chat to each other and barely notice you’re exercising! And as an extra little incentive the group will be heading off for a healthy lunch afterwards so bring some money if you want to come along.

So come on! Put on some comfy shoes, wrap up warm and kick start your fitness plan with Treat Me Right. Any questions just email treatmeright@certitude.org.uk or ring 020 3397 3041 and ask for Helen or Barry.

Dr Tania Mathias MP visits us in Richmond

On Thursday 8th December, Dr Tania Mathias MP visited Cross Street and The Lodge, popping in for a mince pie and a cup of tea.

Cross Street (Hampton Hill) and The Lodge (Whitton) provide supported living to people with learning disabilities and autism.

Aisling Duffy and Eleri Ebenezer, Chair of the Certitude Board, talked to Dr Mathias about staff’s commitment to supporting people to live the best life they can. Dr Mathias – who is an NHS doctor herself – was -particularly interested in understanding how people can be supported to be active in the local community.

Staff at The Lodge prepared a short video which demonstrated the progress one person has made since moving in, in February. Dr Mathias was clearly moved by the video and impressed by the changes which had taken place.

Aisling Duffy commented: “It was lovely to have a visit from a local MP who was so genuinely interested in what we are doing. The teams at Cross Street and The Lodge are really inspiring and we are delighted with the progress people have made there. People with learning disabilities have much to contribute and benefit from living within their local communities. However, there is a lot more we can all do to ensure adults with learning disabilities are better understood and are able to live a more fulfilling life, connected with the wider community.”

Singing in the festive spirit!

Down by the river in Brentford, near the bridge, building sites, box junctions and the houseboats with their wonderful wood fires, stands a fascinating monument to our industrial past.

The London Museum of Water and Steam tells the story of a place with a pivotal role in the development of our city. Until as recently as 1944, this is one of only three sites in the capital used to pump water into the homes of Londoners. Why 1944? The allied command realised that if the Luftwaffe caught on, the pumping station would move rapidly up their to-do list and the Metropolitan Water Board wisely found an alternative.

It was here on 15th December, among the enormous steam engines, that our community choirs chose to host their first ever Christmas Carol Concert. The crisp night air and an unmistakable festive spark soon had the foyer buzzing with members of the public, singers, Ajmer Grewal, Mayor of Hounslow l and local MPs Ruth Cadbury for Brentford and Isleworth and recently elected Sarah Olney for Richmond Park.

Our choirs are made up of people with a passion for music who, once a week, come together for rehearsals in Bromley, Brixton and Ealing. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to make new friends, learn new skills and take pride in the collective thrill of a new song learned, a difficult middle eight or key change mastered. Plates of mince pies were passed around, Christmas plans toasted and soon it was time to take our seats in the main room. The choir, up lit in festive green and set against a backdrop of the old, traditional machinery, launched into Silent Night, voices soaring under high ceilings that served the music beautifully. Expertly accompanied by Choirmasters Theo and Edward, our singers played a fabulous set of Christmas classics, radiating festive energy and an infectious passion for music, before bowing to rapturous applause from a beaming audience.

A truly special evening in a glorious setting. Our sincere thanks goes out to our choirs, Choirmasters Edward Henderson and Theo Jackson and the wonderful people at the London Museum of Water and Steam, none of this would have been possible without their incredible work.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!