The future of disability

“How far we’ve travelled, and how far we have to go…”

The future of disability

Solidarity in a CrisisRead our article by Victoria Rugg, Certitude’s Head of Communications, on page 51 on Why co-production is vital in supporting people with disabilities, citing Solidarity in a Crisis as a case study.

The Future of Disability is a collection of essays demonstrating both how far we’ve travelled and how far we have to go before we can truly claim to value disabled people in our society, published by Demos, Britain’s leading cross-party think tank, who produce original research, publish innovative thinkers and host thought-provoking events.

Certitude recognises and celebrates staff achievement: The Excellence Awards 2014

Winner of the Michael Rosen Award
Lucy Harrison, winner of the Michael Rosen Award

Almost 150 people from across Certitude attended a glittering awards ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 13th November to share in the achievements of colleagues, taking the opportunity to say how much we value and appreciate one another.

The awards, now in their fourth year, were set up in recognition of a former Chair of Support for Living, Michael Rosen. After Michael’s death in 2008 Certitude felt the Awards, and in particular, the Michael Rosen Award, were a fitting way to honour Michael’s memory and celebrate the exceptional staff who work for Certitude. Aisling Duffy, Certitude’s CEO, hosted the event, which recognised the often unsung achievements of staff in enabling people with learning disabilities and mental health needs to overcome barriers, build healthy relationships, communicate in meaningful ways, and get the support they need to achieve a good life.

The Awards are now an annual occasion where we recognise and celebrate the individuals and teams who go that extra mile. People who are such an inspiration and make us all feel very proud to be part of Certitude.

Our winners were chosen by a judging panel consisting of Board members, Michael’s wife Sheila Rosen and Certitude’s Leadership Team members. The panel were thoroughly impressed by all the nomination and yet again had a tough decision choosing the final winners!

This year, we increased the number of award categories to recognise even more people than ever before, and we’re delighted to reveal those who won, plus films of the winners, with staff talking about why they felt their colleagues should deserve recognition:

Best Colleague Award:

This award is for those colleagues whose work is admired, respected and at times loved!

Winner: MARGARET (MAGGIE) GALLIVAN  Maggies film


Hewitsons Best Volunteer Award:

Making a difference to people’s lives through the giving of their time, talents and experience.

Winner: SANDRA JOSEPH  Sandra’s film


Making a Difference Award:

This award is about making an on-going and positive difference to the lives of people we support.

Winner: KEVIN EDWARDS Kevin’s film


The Change Maker Award:

Nominees for this award have transformed peoples lives by finding solutions, overcoming barriers and not giving up. The standard was so high that we have two winners for this award.


182 Crofton Road’s film


Harrow Outreach film


This award recognises the outstanding contribution of a person or team in making a significant difference to the lives of people we support.


Lucy’s film

We heartily congratulate all our winners and runners up! Find out who won our previous awards here



Christmas Cards!

Earlier this year we ran a competition for people we support to design Christmas cards to sell through local shops and our website. We were absolutely inundated!

We had Christmas trees, shooting stars, plump puddings, fat turkeys, fatter Santas, mountainous piles of presents and a conga line of festive penguins with little hats on. If that doesn’t say Christmas, then frankly we don’t know what does. The standard was incredible and we want to thank everyone who entered, you’re all stars.

Here are our absolute favourites:

andrei-thomas-small bath-and-vic-santa-small christine-taylor-small rachel-aldis-small sabina-laker-small

It was very difficult to decide on just five designs for the cards, but we think these ones just about pipped it, many congratulations to the winners: Andrei Thomas, Rachel Aldis, Sabina Laher, Christine Taylor, Susanna Woollam, Anne Clarke, Rebecca West and Alexander Widomski! The winning cards are available in packs of 10 of the same design for £3.75, plus postage at £1. Click below to order, or print off an order form here. Terms and conditions of sale are here, please make sure you read them before placing an order.

Cards are left blank for your own message.

Card Options

All proceeds from the sale of these cards will help Certitude provide personalised support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs across London.

Once payment has been received, the cards will be sent out via 2nd class post and be with you within 3-5 working days

Ealing Club Night

music night-2

Following our mighty nights at the Hootananny in Brixton, we’re topping up our Oyster Card…

Ealing’s Drayton Court will play host to our first West London club night on 20th November. We’ll have DJs spinning R&B, Hip Hop and chart, as well as local band I Love Thunder bringing the noise with a live performance.

7-11pm, fiver on the door, fully accessible with our own bar! Whether you’re someone we support, you work for Certitude or none of the above, it’s a really decent night out, so come along and see what we’re up to.

If you’d like to volunteer, get in touch with Sam Mason or Tom Davidson via, we could always use a bit of help on the night.

Connect & Do: Corinne’s experience

Connect  Do Joined circles postcardCorinne first found out about Community Connecting through the Carer’s Hub, and contacted Certitude’s Community Connecting independently to register her interest in getting involved.

Week 1: At week 1 Corinne and her coach sat down in a local pub to explore her interests. After looking at the Connect&Do website Corinne expressed an interest in joining a local jewellery making class. Corinne was accompanied by her Community Connecting coach to the first jewellery class. She enjoyed this very much, and began to attend regularly.

Week 6: At week 6 Corinne decided that she would like to begin participating in a local gardening group that she found herself on the Connect&Do website. She was happy to attend by herself. 


Corinne now takes part in the jewellery-making class and gardening group regularly. She is keen to join a runner’s group that regularly jogs in Brockwell Park. She has started jogging by herself to prepare.


Corinne has made good friends with people who are part of the jewelry class.

Through the gardening group she has also met some people with experience of caring for people with learning disabilities. With this group she has valued being able to share her experiences of looking after her son, and feels less alone in her caring responsibilities.


From an early stage in her coaching journey, Corinne was able to look for opportunities independently using the Connect & Do website. She is now proactive about finding groups and activities that she is interested in joining.

Corinne has developed a more positive outlook. She now recognises the good things in her life, such as the fact that she is a loving and caring mother of two “beautiful sons.”  She is keen to move forwards rather than remaining fixated on problems she has experienced in the past.

In the past Corinne struggled to trust other people, but she has grown to be more open and now believes that there are people out there who would be happy to help in times of crisis.

To find out more about what Connect & Do could do for you, visit

Connect & Do – creating connections for improved health

Improving lives, connecting communities and reducing demand on health and social care services Connect & Do

Connect and DoConnect & Do is an online social networking tool which helps people connect to others around them and engage better with their community.

Developed across six boroughs in London (Lambeth, Southwark, Bromley, Ealing, Hounslow and Brent), it’s a one-stop place where users can find a range of activities, hobbies and groups to suit their interests in the area where they live.

Why Connect & Do?

Connect & Do is an easy-to-use and accessible tool specifically, but not only, designed for people with poor health and well-being to be able to play a more active part in their community. Connect & Do aims to support people with a shared experience of loneliness and social isolation to feel connected to where they live.

We know that people we support can find it difficult to feel fully involved with their local community. This online tool is a way for people in these circumstances to re-connect with the people and places around them.

As an organisation, we believe that people we support have assets— personal capacity, talents and aspirations that can be unlocked through simple conversations and connections with others, through joining in and offering to help other local people and groups too. We work alongside people to form connections with ordinary community activities and resources.

Connect & Do enables people to connect with others around shared interests so that friendships can form. These are more likely to be sustainable, because people have things in common.

Find out more at


Listening with empathy, care and concern – Solidarity in a Crisis

“When someone invites you into their life to share their distress and you know you have helped them feel better about their situation you feel good.”

Solidarity in a CrisisThis is the view of Manju who has been working as a Peer Supporter for Solidarity in a Crisis (SiaC) since the service began operating in 2012. SiaC provides out of hours, phone support to people in Lambeth experiencing a mental health crisis. All SiaC Peer Supporters have lived experience and Manju believes that this personal knowledge plays an important part in enabling her and her colleagues to offer a very a different kind of mental health service.

“I think lived experience is crucial, it makes you more accepting of people’s circumstances and more sensitive to their needs. Also you are more likely to have the vocabulary, tools and skills required to talk someone through a situation if you have been through something similar yourself.”

In addition to relying on personal experience, all the Peer Supporters receive extensive training and ongoing support from the management team and their peers.

Manju explains: “The initial training was excellent; the presentation we received from a Leeds survivor-led service influenced our overall approach. We don’t ask people about their previous mental health history or any diagnosis, we keep in the moment and concentrate on dealing with the immediate situation. Anything that has happened before is irrelevant during a crisis and we like to respect people’s privacy.

“Equally, Tamara Russell’s Mindfulness course was incredible in opening my eyes to how to listen to people and it also showed us how important it is to look after our own mental health after supporting someone through a difficult situation. From my point of view this is the biggest challenge of the job – self-care and making sure my own recovery is not jeopardised by my exposure to other people’s distress. Fortunately we have a lot of support in place in the form of regular team meetings and individual supervision as well as good opportunities for training and a flexible approach to rotas.”

People who call Solidarity in a Crisis are often isolated and have no one else to turn to. The service provides an important support role throughout the weekend when most mental health services are not operating.

“Research has shown that these are the times of the week when people are most likely experience a crisis,” explains Manju. “Often we are the first person a caller has spoken to in several days and we listen with empathy and care, allowing people to offload their thoughts and feelings. When a person feels heard they usually start to feel better.”

Contact details:

Monday – Friday: 6.00pm – 12.00 midnight

Saturday & Sunday: 12.00 midday – 12.00 midnight

Freephone: 0300 123 1922

Or text on: 07595864103

Or email:

You can also follow Solidarity in a Crisis on Twitter @siac_solidarity and on Facebook.

Annual Review 2014

Annual Review 2014View Certitude’s latest Annual Review 2014.  Hot off the press!

Partnership with The BRIT School strengthens community connection

 Brit school workshopAs part of our commitment to building closer ties with local communities, Certitude is working with the renowned BRIT School to create an award for students who make a positive contribution to their local community.

The Making a Difference Award (launched September 10) will be open to all students from the BRIT School and will reward those who go the extra mile to enable people in the local community to “flourish, contribute and lead the life they want to lead”. Candidates will be nominated by their peers and teachers and the winner will receive a £500 prize when the award is announced next summer.

The award is the next step in a growing partnership with The BRIT School: people supported by Certitude have been attending inclusive theatre workshop sessions run by BRIT School teachers and students at the School in Croydon over the past few years.  The sessions are designed to encourage participants to express their ambitions and culminate in a joint performance.

Marianne Selby Boothroyd, Director of Development at Certitude says: “The BRIT School is a unique organisation and its students and teachers continue to inspire many of the people we support. We are delighted to be sponsoring this award which strengthens our partnership with this community-aware school and supports our vision that everyone has the right to a good life.”

Stuart Worden, Principal at The BRIT School says: “The Certitude Making a Difference Award supports our mission to develop students academically, vocationally, socially and morally so that they leave the School as independent, co-operative, responsible and creative young people.  Many of our students who have worked on the inclusive theatre workshops have gained a new perspective on people with learning disabilities and we hope this award will encourage them to reach out further into the local community.”

“Dream Big” – a video of the latest joint Certitude/BRIT School workshops and performance can be viewed at

Annabelle’s Half Marathon Report


Annabelle gets that Ealing Feeling!

Having never run a half marathon or anything of that nature before, I figured I’d seize the moment and rock ‘n’ roll with the opportunity. My only running experience was chasing my daughter around the park and a few sports days. My spontaneous signing up meant that I had only two months to train and get my apple-shaped body into to running mode. Eeek!

Off I went to buy a heavy duty sports bra, training clothes and, three pairs of running shoes later, I finally found my comfort. Training was hard at first and I had to learn how to breathe before I passed out, so I started singing to myself while out and about. My family and friends have been a big encouragement, always making sure that I was out training 5-6 days a week and even joining me on my sessions.

The penny finally dropped the day I received my running pack and I was filled with mixed emotions, but it was too late to back down. From that day I trained non-stop. Work-eat–train-sleep became my moto. On the race day I was up at 6:30 doing nothing but pacing up and down the house in a manic state thinking ‘what I have signed up for?’ Unable to eat breakfast, I started to do laundry, watching the time tick by. With a pep talk from my mum and the pressure from my daughter saying “mummy, don’t come last” I knew it was time. 8:45 I joined my running crew and had brief conversation with other runners, who were all doing their 4th or 5th marathon and little me doing my first. It felt great.

9am the gun went and off we went, slowing jogging. I set my pace and rocked to a mixture of music on my route, going up and down thinking ‘I can do this’.

From 0-9 miles all was well until my knee gave way and needed my recovery crew. Armed with sugary snacks, energy drink and ice packs I walked to my 10 miles then it was all down hill to the finishing line. As I took the corner into the park I knew it was only 400 meters to the finishing line. Seeing my family at the end of the line made it worthwhile, beating my own target time and coming in at 3:07. I still can’t believe what I have done.

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I have a new appreciation for my body. Will I do it again? Maybe, watch this space!

A big thank you to everyone that has supported my challenge. You peeps rock!

Annabelle Lambourn