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In this issue Introduction

Happy New Year, New Hub Teams and exciting Mencap Cymru events.

Small Steps, Big Successes!

A look at the personal achievements of one young person from Merthyr.

PCP Ideas

Joe from Caerphilly shares a creative PCP tool.

Regional SEN Transition To Employment Project Newsletter January 2012

Happy New Year! Hello and welcome to the first newsletter of the New Year! There’s lots coming up for the project in 2012. The training and information team will be hosting the first dissemination and staff annual conferences and Real Opportunities will be getting two new teams, the first of which is now in place in Ysgol Crug Glas, Swansea. The team are David Churchill, Transition Key Worker, Sarah Bonell, Psychology Support Worker, Lucy Summers, Independent Living Skills, Carrie Needs, Youth Inclusion/Peer Mentor and Neil Wilson, originally from the Bridgend team who will be heading up the Swansea team as Team Leader, Family Liaison and PCP coordinator.

Carmarthenshire Information Day

Overview of Camarthenshire’s information day success

Project Research

Brief overview of the Real Opportunities Research Team

Training & Events

A list of upcoming project training and events. The Swansea Team L-R, Neil, Carrie,Lucy, Sarah and David.

Providing Real Opportunities for Young People in the Transition to Adulthood

Mencap Cymru are also kick-starting the new year with some exciting events and courses. This spring they are offering a free NHS course that encourages parents and carers of people with a learning disability to come and find out more about looking after their own needs. The course starts on Monday 13th February in Cardiff and runs for 6 weeks, for more information contact Sue Edwards on 07881 908911. Mencap Cymru are also hosting a Diamond Ball fundraising evening at The Celtic Manor Resort on Friday 10th February. The money raised will be used to support people with a learning disability that have faced hate crime. This is their first ever ball which looks to be a great event, with a host of Welsh celebrities attending, a 3 course meal and champagne reception, entertainment from Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band, an auction and a raffle with the top prize of a £10,000 diamond! For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket contact Jo Popham on 07943 584 584. Happy Reading! Laura Davies Project Information Officer

Small Steps T

Big Successes!

he Real Opportunities Project is continuously achieving positive outcomes for the young people it works for, and the staff across the project are full of praise for the young people who are achieving so much thanks to their combined hard work and support from parents/carers and other professionals.

Christian Cushing from Merthyr is just one working with the Real Opportunities team.” This example of a young person who has achieved became particularly evident during the school’s huge steps towards independence thanks to Christmas Carol Service, where Christian felt the Real Opportunities Hub Team in Merthyr. confident enough to do a reading. Well done After working with Karyn Morris (Merthyr’s PCP Christian! Keep up the good work! coordinator) Christian identified the need to improve his self-confidence and self-esteem and was set to work with the Merthyr Hub Teams’ Psychology Support Worker Tracey Jones and Youth Inclusion Worker, Ben Williams. Christian is currently working towards gaining an OCN in ‘Keeping Safe’ with Tracey, and she says “Christian is working very well during sessions, he is relating the different skills that he’s learning and putting them into practice; both at home and in school”. Ben is currently supporting Christian to attend Treharris Boys and Girls Club, where he enjoys playing pool and darts. Ben said “Christian is enjoying his time at the club and is interacting very well with peers. His self-confidence and enthusiasm is continuing to develop and over time I am planning to reduce my involvement with Christian, he will then be referred to another member of the team as needed”. Tim Carter, Family Liaison Worker in Merthyr said “Christian’s family and teachers have noted an increase in his self-esteem and confidence since he started Christian reading at his school’s Christmas Carol Concert.

PCP Ideas

Staff across the project are using lots of different, innovative and creative ways to plan with young people in a person centred way, and the newsletter is a great platform to share ideas! Joe Harper, Team Leader in Caerphilly has been using make-your-own dream catchers with young people and their families to explore and record hopes and dreams for the future! Instructions for making the dream catcher can be found here: html. Joe asks young people to write their aspirations for the future on the plate part of the dream catcher and says that the activity is thoroughly enjoyed by everyone!


Information Day T

he Carmarthenshire Real Opportunities Hub Team hosted an Information Day in November to provide an opportunity for parents to gain a better understanding of the different aspects of the project, as well as other services for young people with disabilities. Young people, professionals and parents were able to meet with project staff and network with other professionals in the local area.

The event was attended by around 150 young people, parents and representatives from schools and organisations. Jake Morgan, Head of Children’s Services within Carmarthenshire County Council, opened the Real Opportunities Information Day, which was held at Trinity St David’s University, Carmarthen. Hannah Cox, project Training Officer provided an overview of the project. The event also aimed to raise awareness of the initiative within other schools in Carmarthenshire; Garreg Lwyd Unit, Drefach, Tre-gib School from Llandeilo and Ysgol Gynradd Bro Myrddyn were amongst those represented. Thanks to the event, other schools are now eager to use a person centred approach which is central to the work of the Real Opportunities Team. This way of working is being implemented by Carmarthenshire County Council in all their Education and Social Care settings. Young people were fully represented at the event also. Bethany Coles and Mary Goode who were participants in the CCNUK Transition Key Worker Project provided an overview of how they had benefited from this type of service and their role in planning the CCN Cymru conference held in Llandudno in March. They came across as immensely confident and capable young people who were in charge of their lives and planning for their future. David Ashton, a young person from the Real Opportunities project gave a speech outlining his pathway towards independence and how the project is enabling him to find his way into adulthood. He is now in Ammanford

College, manages some of his own money, and is undergoing travel training as well as awaiting work experience in Pets at Home. Amanda Barker, Team Leader of the Carmarthenshire Hub Team, commented that the presentations provided by Bethany, Mary and David were inspirational and gave an insight into what young people can achieve on a practical level in their personal lives when they are given the opportunity to be in charge of their future. Delegates were joined for lunch by the Heol Goffa Choir, led by Bridget Radford with an outstanding performance; they are definitely X Factor material! Jonathan Hughes, Transition Manager Carmarthenshire Council, summed up the feeling of the day, ‘it is great to have an event which is for young people and about their experiences of transition, the event was made even more special given the large number of young people in attendance’.

David, supported by Derek Murphy during his presentation.

Project Research

As well as all the great work the hub teams are doing with young people, the Real Opportunities Project also seeks to improve and develop methods of best practice across Wales for supporting young people with Special Educational Needs through transition to adulthood. To support this aim, a team based at the Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities is conducting research into the project outcomes, in order to inform practice and identify effective protocols. The Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities (WCLD) is a multi-disciplinary academic section of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University. First established in 1975, it brings together a range of expertise in clinical practice, research, teaching and service development associated with many aspects of the lives of people with learning disabilities. The research team, led by Dr Stephen Beyer and consisting of Axel Kaehne, Andrea Meek and Claire Pimm, will be investigating the outcomes of the Real Opportunities Project by: • Collecting descriptive data on the young people involved in the project. • Tracking all inputs to the young people from the project. • Comparing employment rates and other outcomes with a matched control group and

through follow-up interviews with families, six months and up to three years after leaving school. • Taking the views of staff and professionals involved through web-surveys over the course of the project • Carrying out a series of one-year studies that will investigate key elements of the intervention. Results will be fed back into the project directly and through the events organised by Learning Disability Wales for the project. The team greatly appreciates the cooperation and assistance of all the young people, parents, teachers, support and key-workers that will be helping the team with their evaluation. The team are happy to answer any questions about the evaluation, and are contactable by: • telephone: 029 20687204; • email: ; • letter: Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities, Cardiff University, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4YS

Training & Events

To book onto any of the following training events or seminars contact the information and training team at for a booking form. For further information regarding the events listed please contact Hannah at

All Wales PCP Network

Date: 26th January 2012 Time: 10am – 3:15 pm Venue: Rhayader Leisure Centre, Powys For: PCP Coordinators and external professionals.

Inclusion Network Date: Time: Venue: For:

17th February 2012 10am-1pm Forge Fach CRC, Clydach All Hubs

Introduction to PCP

Date: 20th February 2012 Time: 10am - 4pm Venue: Bethlehem Church Life Centre, Cefn Cribwr For: Anyone in Bridgend/Merthyr/NPT

Day 5 of 5 Day PCP

Date: 27th February 2012 Time: 10am – 3 pm Venue: Manor Park Country House, Clydach For: Staff and Young People on the Course.

Planning for the Future Network Date: 14th March 2012 Time: 10am-1pm Venue: Forge Fach CRC, Clydach For: All Hubs

Introduction to PCP

Date: 19th March 2012 Time: 10am-4pm Venue: Llety Cynin, St Clears For: All in Swansea/Carms/Pembs

To get your story in the newsletter, or for more information contact Laura on 01792 817224 or at 8

January Newsletter 2012  

Real Opportunities - Regional SEN Transition to Employment Project Newsletter.

January Newsletter 2012  

Real Opportunities - Regional SEN Transition to Employment Project Newsletter.