One of our tenants is celebrating this week after she was given a certificate by her employer to recognise her outstanding long service.

Nicola, (pictured below) has worked at the British Heart Foundation at one of their Birmingham outlets for an astonishing 17 years and has now been presented with an award.

She was delighted when we caught up with her, saying: “I love working there, the staff are so friendly.”

Nicola began working there after a visit to the shop, as she remembered: “I went in with my friend a long time ago, and I thought it would be really good to do.”

She is part of the furniture at the Town Centre premises and her duties are varied. Indeed, she had been on a shift before arriving at Head Office, as she explained: “Sometimes I work upstairs doing the Gift Aid in the office, but today I was watching the tills and talking to customers.”

She has no plans to leave, either, adding: “I go there three times a week, I look forward to seeing the other ladies and helping at the shop.”

Nicola is just one of many Residents and Tenants in the Trust performing these vital roles in their communities, and she was proud to show her certificate: “It’s really nice to show everyone and I am proud to have been there that long.”

Last week we had an event at Head Office, attended by almost 30 residents from across our properties where we were planning for a major project in conjunction with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). There will be more news on that in the coming weeks, but the work aims to show that people with Learning Disabilities and people with autism are capable of making valuable and vital contributions to communities.

This week is Learning Disabilities Week and the theme is “Do you see me” and it chimes with the Trust’s ethos.

All across our Trust you will find people pursuing their interests, whether that is working for a major retailer in one of Britain’s most iconic shopping developments, in a stable, creating their music in the recording studio, gardening, or making contributions in charity shops, coffee shops, helping at Day Centres or countless other things.

According to Government figures from 2023, there are 1.3 million people diagnosed with a Learning Disability in the UK. And central to all we do at The Trust is to fight for our Residents and Tenants to live their lives in the way they choose.

In two weeks, there is an election in this country. It is – if you believe the polls – more or less certain to result in a change of Governing Party. Yet, a search online on the 144-page Labour Manifesto shows just one mention of disabilities (on page 85).

By contrast on Mencap’s social media posts this week,  there are a collection of stark figures.

Here are some:

How can that be right? And how can it be that the party who will likely form the next Government is not talking about any of those things in their plans for the country after July 5th?

One of our residents – who is also an expert by experience for the Oliver McGowan Training Programme – is politically active and was part of the local Conservative MP’s campaign launch the other week. He harbours ambitions to be a councilor and if you talk to him, he’ll tell you why: “I want to help people in the community” he says, every time.

All we ask of Sir Keir Starmer, or Rishi Sunak, whoever leads the party who governs us after July 4th, does the same to improve things for the huge community of people who have so much to offer, but are too often still unheard and unseen.

Massive congratulations to three of our staff who have all been nominated for the IPC Champion of Champions Award 2024 and have been shortlisted as Finalists.

The trio, Support Workers Donna, Louise, and Deputy Manager, John (pictured below), have been nominated for their stunning work in the area of infection prevention, and a delighted Donna spoke for them all when she said: “I’m over the moon”.

The trio had won the nomination after an inspection saw them awarded an astonishing 98%, but Donna – who has been leading on cleaning for six years – said it was ingrained in their daily routine: “We just keep practicing infection control throughout the day. Just making sure that you have the correct equipment and making sure everybody in the House knows what to do, what to use or not to use, where to use it, that type of thing.”

For all three, despite their long history of fantastic work with the Trust, it is the first time they’ve been nominated for awards, as Louise explained: “I’ve never been nominated for anything really in my life. I’ve been here for 12 years now and never had an award. It’s just nice to be recognised.”

Louise was modest, though, when asked about her contribution, saying: “I am just doing my job”. Indeed, she was keen to heap praise on her colleagues adding: “I have learned such a lot from Donna.”

And “teamwork” was a phrase that John kept returning to as well. “It’s not an individual award, but one for the whole team,” he stressed.

John explained what his role overseeing the programme of Infection Prevention entailed: “The infection control regime is supported by the domestic at the House, which is Donna. I attend the forums with the Birmingham City Council. And completed the infection prevention control training and supported the staff to complete it too.

Ever the perfectionist, John was upset about losing the 2%: “It was only because of a little rust on a guard rail”, he smiled ruefully.

The final word, though goes to Louise, who wanted to stress that when they go to the awards, they are representing not just the staff but the residents too, stating: “We are a lovely family and I just love it here.”

Good luck to them all.

The awards take place on July 2nd at the Saffron Centre in Birmingham.

341, 113 steps.

That is the astonishing amount of work done by our fitness-mad residents this week at one house as the Summer of Fitness continues.

The distance, which is the equivalent of 150 miles, was walked by the Residents and Staff as they head towards their target of making the distance  from Land’s End to John O’Groats before the August Bank Holiday.

Deputy Manager, Toni-Ann said all the residents and staff – who have all been given Step Counters – had bought into the scheme, but reserved special praise for Paul (pictured) who had been crowned “hot stepper” this week.

“Paul goes to Day Centre most days, and he takes his step counter with him”, she said. “He’s been walking everywhere, I am super proud of him, but all the guys and the staff have been great.”

The scheme is the latest in a line of improvements made by the Residential Home in Sutton Coldfield, which have included a focus on nutrition and fitness that began with Birmingham-based charitable organisation Beezee Bodies offering advice to residents and staff alike as they underwent a weight loss programme in the late winter and early spring.

The residents are aiming to raise money for the Trust through their endeavours.

You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-lisieux-trust-summer-of-fitness-fun

Congratulations to tenants David and Daniel, who completed the Sutton Fun Run recently.

The brothers – who have been with the Trust since last Autumn – both ran the course with the help of Senior Support Worker Tori.

David, who has done the Fun Run before but was keen to take on the challenge again, told us: “It was fun. I liked doing it. It was good. I am very fit.”

Daniel was also pleased, saying: “There were lots of people there.”

David is sports-mad and has been enjoying the Trust’s football sessions at Goals on a Monday night, as well as playing Badminton at Special Olympics every week.

As soon as he had expressed a desire to complete the run, his entry was completed.

The brothers are inseparable, so Daniel wanted to do it too, once his younger sibling had entered.

The route took an 8.5-mile course through the surroundings of Royal Sutton Coldfield, beginning on Mill Street and heading into Sutton Park – the largest urban park in Europe – before finishing in the Town Centre.

There is a selection of pictures below, including David and Daniel at the starting line, but also showing the pair proudly showing their medals.

The Fun Run is one of the longest-established in the country with origins dating back to the early 80s. Since the first event in 1982 over £5.1million has been distributed to charities and voluntary organisations.

Summer holiday season has begun at the Trust and not even bad weather could dampen spirits!

Tom, Tom, Nick (and Trust staff Dave and Elaine) all went to Skegness for a week at Butlins, and despite the week’s unseasonable wind and rain, there were plenty of smiles on their faces when we caught up with them upon their return.

After they all agreed they had a “great time”, they wanted to give us their individual highlights. Tom told us what his favourite part of the week was: “I enjoyed the clowns, they were great.” Another Tom also enjoyed the circus but added that he “loved the cars and the Arcade”.

And the last of the three who went to the Lincolnshire coast, Nick – who had his photo taken in the Volkswagen Camper Van – was delighted to find that there was a production of his favourite musical taking place, and he was able to watch.

These pictures below give just a flavour of the fun they had in their big week.

Holidays are a huge part of life for many of the residents at the Trust, and within the next couple of weeks, many more are setting off for more adventures, including trips to Turkey and some more journeys a little closer to home.

We’ll be covering them all here and on the social media channels.

Two staff members at the Trust are deservedly celebrating this month after being shortlisted for awards at The National Learning Disabilities event.

Support worker Jean Maund is through to the last few for Support Worker of the Year, while Deputy Manager, Toni-Ann Whitehouse is up for The Front-Line Leader award.

Jean is recognised for her work in helping the mental health of residents, as she explains: “I worked a lot on helping them open up and understand the triggers a lot better. We were then able to start adding it to their behaviour plans. We worked with the Doctors and involved families. We saw a massive improvement.”

It hasn’t stopped there, though, as Jean elaborates: “I now train new staff members on the techniques that I’ve learned so that best practice can be implemented.”

Toni, who has been nominated for a contribution across several houses since she joined the Trust just over a year ago, was typically modest when discussing her role: “It’s been a lot to adapt to,” she said. “And a steep learning curve, and while it is special that the manner I have kept things going has been recognised, the residents’ happiness is all that is important to me.”

Registered Manager, Denise Barrett, who nominated the star duo praised them both but quickly added her thanks to the whole team. “Although Jean and Toni have been shortlisted, they represent all of the staff, as far as I am concerned. They have all been fantastic.”

The home in Sutton where they work only became part of the Lisieux Trust family a couple of years ago after we took it on from a provider that had failed its Care Quality Commission inspection. Denise said there had been a lot of work to do, but added: “I am so, so proud of them all.”

According to Jean, that process is ongoing: “This is quite an honour,” she admitted, “But I will always continue to learn, report and advocate for our Residents and Tenants.”

It was fantastic to see so many of the Trust family come together last week to celebrate the upcoming 50th birthday of Steven.

One of our most popular and friendly Residents, Steven went to Sutton Coldfield Town FC with many of his friends and family from inside the Trust and elsewhere, to enjoy a massive party.

Steven – who got a brand-new jacket to mark the occasion – celebrated with a cardboard cutout of his hero Freddie Mercury.

The Queen frontman was imortalised on his stunning cake too, which reflected his hobbies, including music, puzzles, and gardening.

The man himself – who had a new camera as a present- told us he had a lovely evening, saying: “It was good I saw all my friends and my mum came” and laughing “I drank beer and ate cake!”

His mother June, plus his sister Sue and her partner Maya were there to share it with him and June wanted to pass on her thanks: “The staff were amazing in what they did for Steven. They went above and beyond to make sure he had a brilliant time and we all are so grateful – and I know Steven really enjoyed it.”

You can see a selection of pictures below.

We are delighted to announce that the June edition of the Lisieux Trust Newsletter is now available to view online.

This month, it is an extended edition, so we could fit in all the news from around the houses. But it means you can read all about how two of our staff have been nominated for awards, you can see inside one of the house’s new garden, plus you can read what happened when one of the Residents went to the recording studio and another was a guest speaker at a major summit in Birmingham.

All of this and the usual message from the CEO, Jess, all the goings around and about in the community and beyond  -but also a two-page Residents and Tenants craft special as we show you some of what they’ve been making in May!

You can read all this and more here – the print edition will be out next week.

Staff from across the organisation, including everyone from Senior Management to Support Workers, were amongst the first in the Trust to complete part two of a major government-backed training scheme.

What makes the Oliver McGowan Face-to-Face Training – and everyone at the Trust has already completed Part 1 of the programme  – so different and special is that it is delivered, in part, by “Experts By Experience” and the delegates to the Training listened to real-life testimony from first, a lady with Learning Difficulties and then later, as the day moved to discussing Autism, a man who lived with the condition, as well as being almost blind (pictured below).

The result was a fascinating day, where all staff learned so much and were asked to reflect on things to take forward as we continually aim to improve our support and communication to our Residents and Tenants.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is named after Oliver McGowan, whose death shone a light on the need for health and social care staff to have better training. The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a statutory requirement that regulated service providers must ensure their staff receive learning disability and autism training appropriate to their role.

In 2016, Oliver’s Campaign was born, following his tragic death in an NHS hospital. The campaign is led by Oliver’s mother, Paula McGowan OBE, who believes that all health and social care staff need appropriate and meaningful training to help them to understand people who have a learning disability and autistic people.

In 2018, Paula launched a parliamentary petition to address this need, gaining over 56,000 signatures. The petition was successfully debated cross-party and as a result, in November 2019, the government published ‘Right to be heard’, its response to the consultation on proposals for introducing mandatory learning disability and autism training for health and social care staff.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training is the standardised training that was developed for this purpose and is the government’s preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff.

The response included a commitment to developing a standardised training package. The training draws on existing best practice, the expertise of people with a learning disability, autistic people and family carers as well as subject matter experts.

It is important to note that the Training, rather than being a change of approach, was a refresher for Lisieux Trust staff, where Person-Centered Care is always at the forefront of all we do, we have a culture that insists that everyone has a right to be heard, listened to and respected.

The 15 people who completed the training last week – which included CEO Jess Alsop-Greenacre, as well as Managers both from Supported Living and Residential Care – were the first to do so, but over the next few months all Trust staff as well as all new starters will be undergoing the course.

We also announced recently that one of our Residents, Mark, has been chosen to act as one of the “Experts By Experience” and we will be following his progress.