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 

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


Have you decided how to vote?

It is important for us to help people we support understand what they are voting for and make an informed decision.

Please encourage people to think about what is important to them when looking at candidates and parties manifestos.

These following easy read documents will guide you through it, so please share with people who may find them useful.

VODG General Election Statement Easy Read 2017

What to expect on the day

Information Sheet – Comparison of the 3 main parties


Easy read manifestos from the main parties can be found below. UKIP have said they will not be producing one for people with learning disabilities.

Conservative Easy Read Manifesto 2017

Green Party Easy Read Manifesto 2017

Labour East Read Manifesto 2017

Liberal Democrats Easy Read Manifesto 2017

Plaid Cymru Easy Read Manifesto 2017

Certitude focuses on Gr8 support!

Certitude is always looking to improve the quality of support we provide.

We are open to and seek new ideas and better ways of doing things, we learn from people about their experiences and the best ways to provide support so that they can live the life they want to lead.

We were therefore thrilled to be part of the recent launch of the Gr8 Support Movement in Birmingham. The Gr8 Support Movement is a network of support workers, team leaders and managers and aims to inspire members to be ‘consistently the best they can be’. Certitude has sponsored 10 support workers to be involved with the network. Leigh, Oyaba, Patricia, Daniel, Alma, Adesina, Donna, Mohammed, Catriona and Iva will be connecting with other people across the country to share ideas, challenges and key actions with their peers.

On a rainy Thursday on 17th May, our intrepid group set off for a day of understanding why the network was being set up, what it aims to achieve and to take part in lots of different activities looking at what great support looks like. ‘Gr8’ actually comes from the eight qualities that Paradigm, the organisation behind the Gr8 Support Movement, believe make a great support worker:

  • Adventurous
  • Friendly
  • Encouraging
  • Supportive
  • Connecting
  • Advocating
  • Respectful
  • Resourceful

When asked about the day, Daniel said: “It was a very lively and creative event with a positive, dynamic energy about it. I liked the fact that the organisers had done their homework by directly consulting people being supported and their families, drawing together what they considered to be the qualities of a good support worker – with ‘adventurous’ topping the list! Very refreshing.”

Adesina added: “[during one session] we introduced an image representing people we support who need to live their lives as they know best, proud of who they are and wanting to be supported and respected for who they are. It was an insightful day and sharing ideas with my peers is key in supporting the movement.”

Patricia said: “it was a very exciting and positive event, I feel that it will benefit us to take part. I am very keen to listen to new ideas and think outside the box. A lot of feedback regarding the role of support workers is that a lot of publicity in the media is bad publicity. Part of our role in this group is to change that mind set!”

Oyaba also added: “Gr8 was quite a spectacle. It was a valuable networking opportunity to meet and share with some very exemplary colleagues from Certitude and other organisations. Such coming together will help promote the needs and aspiration of people we support and also foster self-esteem and raise the profile of support workers. I am very proud to be a founding member of this initiative and hope to contribute to it in a positive way.”

We are looking forward to updates from our members over the coming months and to seeing the difference that sharing their learning can make across Certitude.

Treat Me Right! expands training to hospital trusts across North West London

Certitude is delighted to be expanding its well known and respected Treat Me Right! project during 2017-18 to deliver autism and learning disability awareness training to 1200 health and social care staff across 6 hospital trusts in North West London.

Treat Me Right! began in 2008 as a co-produced project, training hospital staff on the support needs of people with learning disabilities when using hospital services and the reasonable adjustments that could improve the quality of healthcare they receive.

In the last few years, Treat Me Right! has expanded its remit to include training for GPs, student midwives and social workers as well as other primary health care professionals.

As part of the North West London Transforming Care Programme and supported by funding from Health Education England, Treat Me Right! will work with Imperial Hospital, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London North West Healthcare, Hillingdon Hospital Trust, The Royal Marsden and The Royal Brompton hospitals to increase awareness of the specific support needs that people with autism and learning disabilities can have and the reasonable adjustments that they have the right to expect.

For further information on this work, please contact Helen Cairns –

Amazing people wanted in Richmond!

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.