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Cornerstone NEWS December 2016


A HEART-WARMING TAIL Fiona, who we support at our Fairfield service in Dundee, recently handed over a cheque to Cats Protection in memory of her good friend Irene, who was also supported at Fairfield and loved cats. The money was collected at Irene’s funeral. When Fiona visited Cats Protection, it was clear she enjoyed petting and brushing cats. Jaime Gall, Team Leader at Dundee Community Support, asked Fiona if she’d like to help out at Cats Protection, and a short time later, Fiona became a volunteer. When she is working, Fiona brushes cats and gives them company and attention – something that is really important to abandoned and older cats that cannot be rehomed. Fiona says that she is happy to have “found herself a wee job.”

A huge well done to Robbie and his support worker Charlie (pictured above). They recently completed a nine-mile walk from Balloch to Helensburgh to help Robbie’s friend, who is also supported by Cornerstone and loves playing wheelchair sports. Robbie’s friend needs a new chair to continue doing this and, as the cost of a sports wheelchair is around £5,500, Robbie decided to take on a fundraising challenge to help raise some money for this. The pair’s efforts raised more than £1,200 - well over their £500 fundraising target!

Amazing! Well done Robbie and Charlie!

Jaime said: “I try to promote volunteering as I think it helps people we support feel they have a place within society and feel valued. This placement has given Fiona great pride that she can still contribute and that someone is still willing to give her a job.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL! Paul, who we support at our Avery Lodge service in Stonehaven, recently celebrated his 35th birthday. Paul is a keen Disney fan, so he was over the moon when Snow White and Captain Hook turned up at his party!

FROM LONDON WITH LOVE Mark, who we support at our Avery Lodge service in Stonehaven, is a huge fan of James Bond, Star Trek and Star Wars. He’d always wanted to visit London to see the places he recognised from the Bond films. Being a sci-fi fan, Mark also wanted to go to outer space. Since commercial space travel is still in its early days, Mark’s staff team organised for him to fly to London - his first experience being on a plane! During his trip, Mark visited several of his Bond and Trekkie idols at Madame Tussauds, went on a river cruise and admired the city skyline from the London Eye. Mark also got first-class treatment inside Buckingham Palace - he was treated to a ride through the quadrant and out of the front gates in a special buggy, where he waved to the watching crowds.

The name’s Stone, Cornerstone 2

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT - CLAIRE ROBERTSON their goals - although I’m not always directly delivering the support, hearing about their days makes all the stress worthwhile. I like that I go home at night, albeit normally a little stressed, but feeling like I have accomplished something every day. In Perth we have a disco once a month for anyone in the community with a learning disability and I just have the best time there - dancing with everyone, laughing and smiling away! Who doesn’t love dancing to the YMCA? What do you do in your free time? I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I also enjoy being outdoors, exploring new places. What advice would you give to people who are thinking about a career in care? Tell us about your role. What’s a typical day like? I am a Team Leader for the Community Support service in Perth. We currently support around 20 individuals. I would say a typical day for me is answering phone calls, working alongside the staff to ensure the supported individuals’ needs are met and supporting the staff with any concerns or issues. I’m a little forgetful so my desk will forever be covered in sticky notes with reminders of what I need to do next, but I get there! I like having a ‘to do’ list ready for the next day so I know what tomorrow should bring. Can you tell us about any highlights over your Cornerstone career? A gentleman I have worked with for around three years and I were in the car one day and

he started singing along to a Taylor Swift song! I always sing (badly) in the car with him and he finds it hilarious. He has very limited communication skills and hearing him singing an entire line of the song made us both laugh and smile for about an hour afterwards. It was something he hadn’t done in years and his parents thought this was great! We now enjoy nothing more than a country drive and a sing-song. A personal achievement would be the fact I started as a Support Assistant and have been given amazing opportunities that have allowed me to develop and become a Team Leader just last year, but I prefer the Taylor Swift moment! What do you enjoy most about your role? I enjoy seeing the people I support happy and achieving

I would tell them that if you love people, challenges and a ‘different day, everyday’ there’s nothing better than a career in the care sector. The good days always outweigh the bad days and you feel a sense of satisfaction.

“Hearing him singing an entire line of the song made us both laugh and smile.” 3

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS On Saturday 16th October, a company called ‘Party Animal Encounters’ made a visit to our Drum Road service in Dunfermline. The residents had a brilliant time getting to feel and hold a variety of exotic animals - including Quinn the raccoon. In August, raccoons were officially listed as an ‘invasive species’ which means that raccoons born after this date cannot be kept as pets or in zoos in the UK. This makes Quinn extra special because he will be one of the very last ‘kept’ raccoons in the UK.



Well done to our Fostering and Family Placement service, which received great results at its most recent Care Inspectorate inspection. The team achieved three grade 6s (Excellent) and one grade 5 (Very Good) across four quality statements. The inspection report said:

Bridget Jones who works in our North Aberdeenshire Community Support service was recently given the Award for Individual Contribution by Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action (AVA) for her commitment to Cornerstone over the last 14 years. Well done, Bridget!

“The Cornerstone Fostering and Family Placement service was a proactive and pre-emptive service in that it provided respite foster care support for children and young people who lived at home. Foster carers were highly trained and supported to provide exceptional levels of support and intervention to children and young people.”

Top Marks! 4

ON THE OOR WULLIE BUCKET TRAIL During August, Christopher Ballany and his Support Assistant Patcharin Pring from Dundee Community Support visited all 55 statues on the Oor Wullie Bucket

Trail. The pair had a brilliant time and Chris made a scrapbook with the photos they took.

A LASTING FRIENDSHIP Dave Gordon, from Fairfield, has been supporting Tony since 2002. During the past 14 years, the pair have developed a trusting working relationship that has stood the test of time. “I support Tony on a one-to-one basis five days a week. We get out and about a lot – Tony is a very social person and likes to chat to people. Before I supported him, Tony was experiencing some behavioural issues, and a lot of it was to do with the fact that he was always bored and unable to get out in his community. It’s great to see how far he has come over the years – I helped Tony to get a mobility car which means he can be a lot more independent now. Tony is a keen Boccia player and we travel around Scotland for training and competitions. “One of the biggest achievements over the years has been Tony’s improved relationship with one side of his family, who live in England. Two years ago, Tony’s niece was getting married in Leeds – an event Tony was really keen to attend. However, since he hadn’t travelled long journeys and had lost touch with some of his family members down in England, there were some doubts whether he could go. “It took a bit of convincing and planning, but eventually Tony was able to attend the wedding where

“I am so proud to support Tony.” he rekindled some of those lost family relationships. Since then, he’s been talking to his family on the phone, and has even made another two trips to see them – one to Carnoustie and one to Leeds. This is a huge achievement for him, and I am so proud to support Tony.”


GARDENING FUN Our East Region Admin team spent their Away Day gardening at one of our Dundee services – it’s amazing what a difference one day can make!

CARE FOR CAKE? Our recent ‘Care for Cake?’ campaign was a great success among staff. Three regional offices and two services participated by hosting bake sales to coincide with the final of The Great British Bake Off, and raised over £500. Staff in Dundee and Irvine chose a Halloween theme and looked great in fancy dress. The team in the Aberdeen office welcomed staff from other companies in Centurion Court, which was a great way to meet their neighbours. The fundraising team hope to have the same ‘Care for Cake?’ success next year with even more participation from external supporters.


TRIP TO KIRKWALL Kenny McDonald, who we support at our Methlan Park service in Dumbarton, had a long-term ambition to visit his place of birth, Kirkwall. He moved to Dumbarton when he was two, but regularly went on holidays to Kirkwall with his mother. However, it had been a long time since his last trip – he was around 21 at the time. When Kenny joined Cornerstone, the staff at Methlan Park made this one of Kenny’s goals, which has now been achieved.

In late September, the staff took Kenny to Kirkwall for a few days. Kenny still remembered a lot of the sights, and he quickly became a tour guide for everyone else. The group visited where Kenny’s mum used to live - which is now an industrial estate. They also went to Evie where he used to stay at his grandfather’s farm house - which unfortunately was no longer there. Kenny enjoyed revisiting all of his childhood memories and tourist

attractions like the Churchill Barrier and the Italian Chapel. On their way back, the group stopped at a place called Golspie for a coffee. There, Kenny bumped into someone who he had known for 30 years. On the return leg of their journey, after coming off the ferry at Thurso, the group decided to go to John O’ Groats to have some photos taken. Kenny thoroughly enjoyed his experience!

A SEAT WITH A VIEW Cornerstone has designed a new colourful bench as part of the Blooming Big Aberdeen Project, organised by ACVO. Aberdeen City Council kindly provided their support and paint for the bench, which aims to raise awareness of the help and services Cornerstone provides. The bench is at North Esplanade West and overlooks the River Dee. If you are nearby be sure to stop by for a seat and take in the view!


YOGA FESTIVAL Pink Lotus Yoga in Aberdeen held a Yoga Festival on 24th and 25th September to raise money for three charities. We were delighted that Cornerstone was chosen as one of the beneficiaries and, as a result, we have received the amazing total of £2,000 which will go towards our IF Group mini-bus fund. The festival, which attracted over 100 visitors, consisted of yoga classes and workshops, Bhangra dancers, Sacred Sounds Massage, stalls and more. Karina of Pink Lotus Yoga has organised events on the International Day of Peace for the past 10 years to raise funds for charity, however, this is the first time that she has organised a full weekend festival. The funds raised totalled over £7,000 and was split between Cornerstone and the other chosen charities – Friends of the Special Nursery in Aberdeen, and a school in India which Karina helped to build. When asked why Karina chose Cornerstone, she explained: “My sister Wendy used to work for Cornerstone and told me that the IF Group was trying to buy a mini-bus. I did another yoga day some months back where we donated to Cornerstone’s bus fund, so I thought it would be good to give another share of the funds raised from this event to help the group towards their target.” The IF Group is now well on its way to achieving their target for the mini-bus - the total is currently over £25,000!


E E K I W K S YD V EE ND St Andrews

25th & 26th March 2017 Join fellow Cornerstone supporters for this exhilarating free fall experience. For more information, contact our fundraising team on 01224 256023 or

VOLUNTEERING SPOTLIGHT Interview with Gail Finlayson, Cornerstone Befriender in Aberdeen Tell us a bit about yourself? I currently live in Aberdeen and have been here since 2007. I hail from the Kingdom of Fife and I miss home terribly, even though it’ll be 10 years next year and it’s only 70 miles away, but still! Workwise, I am an Administrator for a local, independent financial advisory firm in Aberdeen city centre, however, I have a long and varied work history. I initially trained to be a Beauty Therapist when I left school and then decided that wasn’t the path I wanted to go down. I had a couple of jobs within the hospitality industry before I settled into the civil service. I began working with the Employment Service which later became DWP. I worked in a frontline Job Centre for the first three years and it was possibly during this point that I became ‘socially aware’ - mainly due to the broad range of people from different walks of life I was dealing with. I then worked through the ranks and in 2007 transferred to the Home Office which is when I arrived in Aberdeen. Sadly, I was made redundant in 2012 and since then I’ve gone on to work in the oil and gas sector before coming to my current job in December 2014. When I’m not at work I sing in a local choir and I’m a devotee of theatre and cinema. How did you hear about Cornerstone and what led you to volunteering? I’d say that I have reached a point in life where I don’t think I’ve found my ‘niche’ or the path I want to follow career-wise, and this is a huge source of personal frustration. I would describe myself as a people person and anyone who knows me would say that I’m a good listener and

a good talker. Earlier this year, it was suggested to me that due to the integration of health and social care in Scotland, there may be great opportunities and a chance to do something in an area where I could put my skills to use. I explored the option of going to college to do a social care course with a view to going into social work. It was at this time that I was advised to look into volunteering as the experience would be valuable. I have a friend who works within social work at Aberdeen City Council and Cornerstone was mentioned to me. I then looked up the organisation online and what stood out was the range of support services available that I could become involved in, as well as the organisational objectives which were about enhancing the lives of individuals. I enquired online and not long after, Cornerstone’s Volunteer Co-ordinator James McQueen gave me a call to discuss what area specifically I might be interested in. James and I then met for a coffee one day and we both thought I would be suited to befriending. The process soon got underway and in June, well, I met June – the lady I now befriend! Being so new to the organisation, how have you found the experience so far? It is interesting because it has been a few years now since I’ve carried out any voluntary activities and I keep reverting back to the

part on the Cornerstone website about enhancing someone’s life. I feel that this experience is doing just that! I met June during the summer along with the other ladies she stays with, and although I’ve only being visiting June for a short time now, I have had the most brilliant fun in getting to know her. I’d like to think I have made a new friend and June is great company. Hopefully she feels the same way. I’ve also enjoyed seeing the ladies June lives with during my visits. The staff I have met so far have all welcomed me and been very helpful in assisting me with my visits. James McQueen has been there from day one and has also been a valuable help. Everyone I’ve met appears to be very positive and enthusiastic. What did you do during your latest befriending session? Our latest befriending session was in October and the one thing I learned very quickly about June is that she is a lover of sweets and cakes. I thought it would be nice to take her for a run out in the car. Near where June lives there is a lovely big Dobbies Garden Centre and as it was October, I knew there would be Halloween goodies and a Christmas Shop inside. We had a great time going around the shop looking at toys, books and decorations. After a good look around we went and had cake and a good chat about football and Strictly Come Dancing. Our next outing is coming up soon and hopefully we are off to the cinema.


GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL! We were successful in securing 10 season tickets for our Football Group and its volunteers. These were donated by the Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (AFCCT), who also gave the group access to an executive box for one of the games. Needless to say, the group was thrilled about this generous donation! James McQueen, our Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “When the offer of the executive box came up, we jumped at the chance to take part. We run a small, volunteer led Football Group for people with disabilities who love attending AFC home matches. Having a closed off area away from the noise of the crowd made the game much more manageable for the group who would otherwise struggle to get around a busy stadium. We were really well looked after by the AFCCT employees and we are really thankful.”

“It was a nice surprise to be offered the executive box. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we enjoyed the food at halftime.” - John Clark

NOT JUST ONE GOAL, SEONAID TICKS OFF TWO! Seonaid Campbell, who we support at Springhill Gardens in Dundee, has recently realised two of her long-term goals by going on holidays to both London and Blackpool. Seonaid’s trip to London included a visit to Madam Tussauds, a tour of the Harry Potter set at Warner Bros. Studio and two trips to the theatre to see Billy Elliot the Musical and Thriller. While in Blackpool, Seonaid rode


on the big wheel and went to the Blackpool Tower. She also had a great time travelling in style along the sea front in a horse and carriage! Pamela Duell, Team Leader at Springhill Gardens, said: “Seonaid had a fantastic time in London and Blackpool. It’s so brilliant that she has achieved her goals and managed to do all the things she wanted to do on these holidays.”

GETTING TO KNOW... HELEN MUNRO, CORNERSTONE BOARD MEMBER What did you want to do when you were growing up? At one point I decided that I wanted to join the Foreign and Diplomatic service. I thought that this would be an exciting career living in lots of exotic places. I think I had probably been reading too many spy novels! What was your first job? My first job, during school holidays, was picking strawberries at the local Agricultural College. This was back-breaking, all for the princely sum of three pounds and 10 shillings (£3.50) per week. It was a very long time ago and I don’t think the concept of the minimum wage had been invented then. What or who inspires you? I have always been inspired by helping people to achieve their full potential. When I worked in Adult Education I was inspired by the pride students took in achievements they hadn’t thought possible. Similarly, for people with learning disabilities, I am inspired by the smiles when people have achieved something new, as we have all seen at various Cornerstone award ceremonies. What does being a Cornerstone Board Member mean to you? I have been a Cornerstone Board member for around five years. I have enjoyed being part of a charity which puts the people we support at the centre of what we do. I currently chair the Quality and Audit Committee and it has been good to see standards rising in Care Inspectorate grades, with several services now achieving ‘Excellent’ in all categories. It is also interesting to work with other Board Members with such a wide range of expertise which they bring to the charity, though I must admit that discussing technical financial issues does not enthuse me as much as it does some other, more expert, Board Members.

up to speed with external events and tries to ensure that we keep fit for our purpose of enabling the people we support to enjoy a valued life. What are your hobbies? My major interests are travel and languages. Since I retired some 12 years ago I have been able to visit most of the countries along the Silk Road from China to Europe - Iran was my favourite - and have been able to make the most of the wide range of direct flights from Scotland to Europe. I can speak French, German and Italian and it is great to be able speak with local people and get under the skin of the area a wee bit more. My favourite means of travel is by rail - one memorable journey was a trip, third class, through the countryside in Burma, though I was glad that the journey only took three hours. What is the most surprising fact about you? I am good at making meringues. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement, if you can call it an ‘achievement’, is my family. I have two daughters who both work for the NHS, and in both of their professions, they have specialised in caring for children and adults with disabilities. I also feel very proud of my four grandchildren who are aged between eight and 11. I have learned about all sorts of new things, from skateboarding, Pokémon Go to the X Factor and at the same time have all my mobile phone queries sorted. They keep me on my toes!

“I have always been inspired by helping people.”

I am also pleased to be part of a charity which keeps


Season’s Greetings from everyone at Cornerstone. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! We are always looking for stories for our newsletters and social media channels. If you have something to share, please email or phone 0141 378 0680.

Cornerstone Charity @CornerstoneScot Cornerstone Scotland Cornerstone Scotland There are lots of ways you can support Cornerstone Make a donation

Attend Cornerstone events

Become a volunteer

Fundraise for us

To find out more, please contact us at one of our regional offices:

Aberdeen 01224 256 000 Dundee 01382 220 238/248 Glasgow 0141 378 0700 Scottish Charity No.SC004780

Cornerstone News, Issue 3, 2016  
Cornerstone News, Issue 3, 2016