Getting into the festive spirit!

Looking for something to get you in the mood for the festive season? Why not come along to our Christmas Carol Concert on Thursday 15th December at The London Museum of Water and Steam. 

Our three community choirs are joining together for an evening of carols and popular classics in a wonderful venue. Proceeds from the concert will go towards funding for Certitude’s support with people with learning disabilities and mental health support needs in Hounslow, Richmond and Ealing. We hope to see you there!

Carol Concert New 2


The VODG Social Value Toolkit Launch

Today, VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) launched their Social Value Toolkit, a practical resource that supports the delivery of social value in the commissioning of social care.

The VODG Social Value Toolkit promotes increased cooperation between social care commissioners and providers. The guidance has been created in response to the fact that while there are resources to support commissioners to implement the Social Value Act, less guidance exists for social care providers.

The new toolkit reflects an approach to commissioning which creates maximum value for money from public spending by realising additional benefits from providers – at no extra cost to the public purse.

Harnessing social value is an essential route to tackling inequalities. VODG’s toolkit guides social care providers on how to demonstrate the added value that not-for-profit organisations deliver.

VODG chief executive Dr Rhidian Hughes says:

“We need to use existing legislation to lever better outcomes through the commissioning of services. We have found that while there is a wealth of guidance for commissioners on the implementation of the Social Value Act there is far less for providers. The VODG Social Value Toolkit provides a new resource to assist voluntary organisations to better articulate their added value. It offers practical examples of how the sector is making a huge difference to the lives of disabled people and the communities in which they live.”

Kathleen Isaac, Head of Business Development adds:

“Certitude is committed to involving and supporting the development of local communities in our work. On a daily basis we see the value this adds to the lives of people we support and we are delighted to have been involved in the development of the VODG Social Value Toolkit.”

Read the full report here.

Peer Power

peer powerEnjoy the latest edition of the Peer Power Newsletter and the stories they share, written by peers in Lambeth, helping to grow Peer Support in the community.

If you would like to get involved and feel you have a story to contribute, please contact the Lambeth Peer Support Network on

Delivering better outcomes through collaborative working

AislingFor the past 18 months, Certitude has been part of Lambeth’s Integrated Personalised Support Alliance (IPSA) providing support to enable people with long term mental health issues to live more independently within the community.

Together with Thames Reach, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lambeth Council, we have been working to deliver on three outcomes that were identified by people as most important to them:

1. I want to recover and stay well
2. I want to make my own choices
3. I want to participate on an equal footing in daily life.

IPSA’s One Year report explains the original objectives for the alliance, our progress against them and some learning to date. Some of the key headlines include:

• A 60% reduction in admission rates to inpatient rehabilitation wards in Lambeth
• A 67% reduction rate in people going into residential care and an increase in 30% of people leaving residential care
• On course to deliver circa 20% saving by end of year 2

As Chair of the Alliance Leadership Team, I have been struck by some of the key principles that have driven the success of the Alliance to date:

• The work of the alliance has undoubtedly been driven by a shared core belief that integrated and personalised support delivers better outcomes at a lower cost.
• This belief has in turn driven the desire to invest in and strengthen relationships. Everyone brings different skills and assets – the strength comes as these are blended together. This has resulted in a new found respect between staff, clinicians, peers, individuals and families.
• Sticking with and not giving up on people has involved working together to share risk and is enabling new positive narratives about people using our support.
• Thinking differently, being innovative and using resources creatively including assistive technology has been essential to achieving outcomes.

Over the past year, I have seen people’s lives change for the better as they start to make their own choices; to participate equally and to recover and feel well. I have seen leaders emerge throughout, supported by the commitment of senior leaders from each alliance partner.

It is a privilege chairing the Alliance Leadership Team where senior managers come together with the common purpose to get the best outcomes for people. We have more to do and the challenges are great but together we can lead change, find solutions and improve lives.


Aisling Duffy

Chief Executive

Christmas cards now available!


After a fiercely contested design competition, we had entries from the highlands of Harrow to the rolling fields of Bromley and everywhere in between.

We had sparkly snowmen, pop up artwork that we couldn’t cram through our office scanner and someone who photoshopped themselves onto baubles and decorated a tree with it! The standard was tremendous and we want to thank everyone who entered.

We’re thrilled to introduce our official 2016 Christmas Card –  this glittery angel designed by the supremely talented Naizmina from Southall. Congratulations Naizmina!

They’re available right now in packs of 10 and we’ll send them via direct to your door. We’ve left it blank inside so you can weave your magic.

Spread a little love this year and raise life-changing funds for people we support this Christmas.


Card Options

4 CEOs for one day!

On Thursday 4th August, Certitude welcomed 3 new CEO’s for the day alongside Aisling. Kirat Kalyan, Anthony Williams and John Voisey joined Aisling at our office in Balham after winning our ‘CEO for a Day Competition’ run by the Learning and Development team.

It is the second time we have run ‘CEO for a Day’ which is part of National Learning at Work Week, a national campaign to promote learning at work. Caroline Dyment, Learning and Development Manager, said “Having the opportunity to learn from people around you is really important and we want to make sure that people have personal development on their radar. Anything that makes learning exciting and different is a good thing and spending time with someone like Aisling can be really motivational. It gives people a chance to think about things differently with somebody in a different role who shares the same values, aims and ambitions as everyone else within Certitude.”

So how did it all go?

With a packed agenda including introductions with everyone who works at the office in Balham, becoming involved in key strategic projects, getting a glimpse of how members of the leadership team develop plans for the future and learning about some of the different central roles and teams, there was a lot to be getting on with!

Anthony, Trainee Employment, Training and Education Advisor took the opportunity to get to know more people, saying “the highlight for me was meeting everyone that does different things for Certitude. I didn’t really know many people before today; I knew faces but not many names. It was great to meet everyone properly”.

John, Deputy Manager at Ambleside Avenue, enjoyed learning about so many different aspects of Certitude, including learning about Aisling herself: “Hearing about Aisling’s career development – where she started and where she is now – is really inspiring. It’s really helped me understand her as a person rather than just the CEO of Certitude. Aisling’s openness and honesty and the way that she feels about Certitude and the industry really came through… today has been really educational and I hope I can take this back to Ambleside Avenue to show people how much I have enjoyed the experience.”

Kirat, Peer Mentoring Outreach Worker with Beyond Prison valued getting a better understanding of how much goes on ‘behind the scenes’, adding “I have a lot of respect for the work that people do. I feel a lot more energised – it is great to see people being empowered to take ownership of their jobs and to think creatively. It was great to see how approachable and available Aisling is for everyone.”

Aisling appreciated the CEO’s input to the day, saying “Everyone has been very open about themselves, the work they do and sharing ideas with people they have met. I really valued the opportunity to sit together and reflect on what I do and what tips and ideas I can share with people to help them in their own careers. We want everyone at Certitude to be successful and happy and to have the opportunity to be the best they can be in the jobs that they do. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable day.”

We will be catching up with John, Anthony and Kirat later in the week to get their thoughts on the day and what they learnt, so watch this space!

Left-right: John, Anthony and Kirat with Aisling

Dancing in the street at Wardley Street!


It’s an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet
They’ll be laughing and singing, music swinging Dancing in the street

For most people, holding a street party is something that’s nice to do, but not absolutely necessary. For the people and families at Wardley Street it is an essential part of the calendar. So what makes this so special…?

The team at Wardley Street worked their socks off to ensure the party went well and dedicated lots of their time to making food, organising things to sell and advertising the event in the local community. The amount and quality of the food was amazing!

So many other people helped this year in the set up and running of the event. This year particular thanks go to Lester and Sabina who arrived early to help us build gazebos – which was no easy task. Clive also arrived early to help us put up bunting and blow up balloons. This made it all look fabulous!

The friends of Wardley Street, which is made up of families of people who use the service, were involved in planning the party and worked tirelessly to ensure there were plenty of attractive things which people wanted to buy. So many families donated great things to sell, made jewellery, donated amazing raffle and auction prizes. The amazing plants (thanks to Pat) which sold like hot cakes and the cakes on the cake stall (thanks to Ann) which also sold like hot cakes!

The sponsors, Barnard Marcus, ensured we had a great prize to auction (a Bluetooth stereo) which was eventually auctioned for £70. The Co-op also donated some food towards the event.

Thanks to Adrian Frazer, the DJ, who played the best tunes and made sure everyone was up on their feet ‘dancing in the street’.

Thanks also to The Grosvenor pub and other pubs customers who donated money to the event!

Lastly, thank you to all the people who turned up on the day and made the day so special. This year we had more people than ever including people we support, people we have previously supported, families, local councillors and members of the public! This event provided opportunities for people to make new connections, meet new people and it demonstrates people have an active presence in their local community as well as being able to actively contribute to their community. And, to top it all, we managed to raise £977. Brilliant!

John and Barry’s visit to the House of Lords

HOL1-300x168[1]On Tuesday 5th July, John and Barry went to the House of Lords for the Presentation of the See Ability Report on Delivering and Equal Right to Sight. The event was organised by See Ability and the Optical Confederation with representatives from LOCSU as well as a number of Government Ministers, MPs and Peers. Organisations from all over the country who have worked to improve sight care and treatment for adults with learning disabilities and autism were invited to attend.

Certitude and Treat Me Right! appear in this report as a case study in which John took part in last year. We asked John about his experience:

“A few months ago I got an invitation from See Ability and asked if Barry would like to go with me instead of Elsa. I met Barry at the bus stop outside the Lido centre in West Ealing and we got on bus to Northfields then tube to Westminster.

We got there early so me and Barry had a wander around Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament. At about 2:45 pm we went to Black Rod’s Garden, through security and then we waited outside for about 10 minutes before we were lead through to the Atlee Suite where the event was being held.

There wHOL62-575x1024[1]ere sandwiches and cakes. I loved the scones with cream and jam, they were fantastic. There was a lot of people there, from all over the country. I chatted to a lot of people including Lucy from Speakeasy Worcester (a self advocacy group) and a few people from Bradford People First Peer Educator Network.
I also talked to Stephen Kill (Eye Care and Vision Manager) and Scott Watkin (See Ability’s Eye Care and Development Officer). We talked about the Look Here event that I took part in with Scott and Stephen. Treat Me Right will be arranging another one as it was such a success last time.

At 4pm I listened to the speeches made by Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, David Scott Ralphs (Chief Executive of See Ability), Katarina Venerus (Managing Director of LOCSU), Alistair Burt MP (Minister of State for Community and Social Care), Justin Tomlinson MP (Minister for Disabled People) and Scott Watkin who told us all about his experience losing his sight. Some of the speeches were funny and made me laugh.

I chatted with people for another half hour after the speeches and then we all gathered together in the garden for a group photo. It was a fantastic day, the weather was nice and there was a lot of people there.”

Astley Assistive Technology Fair!

We are very excited to announce that Astley Day Centre in Bromley are hosting an Assistive Technology Fair on Friday 22nd July, 10am-2pm.

This is your chance to see a number of technology providers and their products all at once! Inclusive, KAB, Liberator, Sensory Guru, Smartbox and Tobii Dynavox will all be present with stalls along with many many more! Come along, ask questions and find out more about how assistive technology can make a real difference to people’s independence and their lives.

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any product or service which is designed to enable independence for people, or allows people to perform tasks which they would otherwise be unable to do. It can also increase safety and make things easier to do.

Assistive technology includes a wide range of supportive, but unobtrusive services and equipment, ranging from personal alarms for people to seizure monitors, and even including sophisticated fingerprint recognition systems that allow you to open the door without keys! It can also include computer software and devices which help to increase interaction with others and contact with family and friends. The list really is endless!

The fair will run from 10am-2pm as Astley Day Centre, 39 Magpie Hall Lane, Bromley BR2 8ED. For more information, please contact Maria, Mona or Sue on 0208 467 2732 or at

We look forward to seeing you there!


It’s become more than volunteering now

7As we have heard, volunteers can be vital to supporting organisations in achieving their goals. Because of their desire to contribute and help, volunteers are often highly engaged and committed to the outcomes of their work. Volunteers are also able to gain new experiences and insights, give back and help others, create connections with people, have a real sense of accomplishment and start to build different career options through their experiences.

Continuing Volunteer’s Week 2016, we caught up with Natalie Chillington, who volunteers to help the promotion and running of our Cut a Rug music nights in West Norwood. When asked what she does and why, Natalie replied:

“I help out with Certitude’s Cut a Rug music nights which take place on the second Friday of every month at the Portico Gallery in West Norwood – next one is 10th June and everyone is welcome!

I maintain the website, help look for bands to put on, update the @cutarugmusic Twitter account and assist with the running of the night itself – I can usually be found on the door with Natalie who works for Certitude and Sabina, another volunteer.

I applied to volunteer at Certitude and help out with these nights in particular because I wanted to do something worthwhile with my spare time and gain more experience working in the charity sector. However, it’s become more than that now. I thoroughly enjoy the nights we put on and being around such lovely people who share a passion for music, equality and inclusiveness.”

If you know anyone that might like to play at a Cut a Rug music night, or would like to know more about what it’s like to volunteer, please feel free to email Natalie at