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Summer 2010

Issue 8



Livability creates choices for disabled people and brings life to local communities. We trace our history back to the Victorian pioneers Lord Shaftesbury and John Groom. Today we offer a wide range of support and education for disabled people and also provide churches with resources to impact their communities. Livability’s president is Baroness Howarth of Breckland and our royal patron is HRH The Princess Royal.

Contents Appeal receives royal support


Are you being served?


A brave new world


Staff & supporters


Livability’s oldest friends


Loving Life Help us make Livability even better! We’re looking for enthusiastic, talented people to get involved in new local fundraising projects. Whether you’re good at organising, befriending, baking, inventing or inspiring, we need you! We’d love to put you in touch with other Livability supporters in your area and give you loads of great ideas for getting involved and making a difference. If you love life, and think that disabled people deserve a life that they love too, then get in touch to request your free Loving Life pack. Call 020 7452 2112 or email

Wedding party 6

The time of their lives 8

Keep on running 14

Message from Mary

And the Oscar goes to… Livability has just been awarded the International Visual Communications Association’s (IVCA) silver award for a short film made by a charity. The award-winning films feature a Livability service user at Treetops and two pupils at Victoria Education Centre. The glittering awards ceremony was held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Over 700 filmmakers, industry professionals and government representatives saw Livability receive the prestigious award.

Dear supporter, As you are aware, this will be my last column in Livability News. There is so much that I would like to say, which is hard to summarise in just a few words. On reflecting on all the things that we have done over the last eight years, my thoughts can best be conveyed by saying two little words – ‘thank you’. Thank you for your support, which makes the world of difference to the people we work with. Your generosity enables us to provide a service that goes beyond the bare minimum and provides real opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people. Livability has been on a long journey over these last few years. And your support has been a real encouragement to me and to all Livability staff. Knowing that there are so many people who give generously to our work and pray diligently for us has been a constant source of inspiration. It is people that make an organisation special and I will forever treasure memories of Livability as a very special place to work. I know that the charity will continue to face the future with hope and confidence and wish it every blessing for this next phase. Therefore, in ending this letter, as I have ended so many before, I would like to conclude once again by using these two little words, Thank you,

Mary Bishop, chief executive 4

This achievement marks a significant milestone for Livability. “Winning the IVCA silver award means the world to us”, enthuses Rachael Christophides, head of communications and campaigns. “Finally, the work we are doing with disabled people is being recognised by the media and other mainstream organisations. Disabled people are being given a voice and it is being heard.” Watch the short films for yourself on our website:

Appeal receives royal support HRH The Princess Royal has thrown her support behind our Norwich building appeal. She was the guest of honour at our recent Princess Anne meets service user Dave reception at Sandringham House, HM the Queen’s Norfolk retreat. The other guests were friends and supporters of John Grooms Court. John Grooms Court is our Norwich residential care home. We are currently raising money to modernise and expand the service. We aim to install a second lift, enhance the communal space and build five new ensuite bedrooms. As well as Princess Anne, the other famous face at the event was former ITN political editor, Michael Brunson, who is a member of the appeal committee. Michael dusted off his journalist's skills to interview Dave, one of the residents. Dave gave everyone a glimpse into life at John Grooms Court, and explained what a difference the developments will make. The event was brought to a close by the Princess, as she spoke warmly about Livability, the John Grooms Court campaign, and our exciting vision for the future.

Are you being served? As any shop or restaurant employee knows, good customer service is invaluable. No matter how good the food or the merchandise, a rude salesman or waiter can ruin your experience. Unfortunately, for our students at Nash College, bad service is an all too common experience. They work hard to build up the skills and confidence to go out into town, but often end up hurt or humiliated by the way they are treated. So they decided that enough was enough. The students took matters into their own hands to show the world that disabled people will no longer accept poor service. They created a survey to discover how disability-friendly their local businesses are. The survey records accessibility, staff friendliness and the overall experience. After each visit to a shop or a café, the students fill in the survey and give the business a score. On a recent visit to Starbucks in West Wickham, the students were so impressed with the customer service they received that they decided the coffee shop staff deserved some recognition. They designed a certificate and presented it to Starbucks manager

Starbucks manager Peter receives students' award

Peter Botros. “We were over the moon to get the certificate” exclaims Peter. ”We try to make sure all our guests are happy and we’re glad the people from Nash liked our store." Following the success of the project, more Nash students are fired up about becoming mystery shoppers. So high streets beware - Nash students are coming!

In the swim of things Thanks to your generosity, our June appeal for the Sparkle project at Victoria Education Centre (VEC) in Dorset is going swimmingly. The money raised will go to the new hydrotherapy centre at the school. The pool will not just benefit Victoria pupils for many years to come, but also be a community resource for others to use. The new facilities will be state-of-the-art, allowing us to provide even better therapy to our students, improving their health and independence. We wrote to you about Michelle, a 9 year old pupil whose life is being transformed through Victoria's excellent therapy. She has been attending VEC from the age of 2, and was a wheelchair user until a few years ago. Through intensive daily therapy sessions, she started to use a walking frame. Then, last September, the breakthrough that her family had scarcely dared hope for finally came: Michelle took her first independent steps.

This would not have possible without the dedicated therapy Michelle receives at VEC which, in turn, could not be provided without your kind support. So many people have given generously and Michelle - progressing one have now become step at a time Friends of Sparkle. Sparkle Champions are people who have made particularly large gifts - they will have their name, or that of a loved-one engraved in the reception area. Thanks to all of you who were able to give. We hope you will continue to support Sparkle over the next few years until the project is complete. In the meantime, we’ll keep you up to date with our progress! 5

Proud mother of the bride One mother had to overcome more than most to be part of her daughter’s wedding day. Elaine had imagined her moment as mother-of-thebride since the day her daughter Lisa was born. “It’s the dream of every mother to see her daughter get married,” she says. But in 2004, a life-changing event threatened to end Elaine's dream before it had a chance to come true. In the preceding weeks, she sensed something was wrong. There was a numbness in her hand that would not go away. Elaine explained her symptoms to the doctor, but her GP could not provide a successful diagnosis. “I felt something was going to happen,” Elaine says “I felt the numbness in my hand get worse.” She had also fallen over unexpectedly a few times, without understanding why. Then, one evening, after a sudden and intense headache, she collapsed at home. Her daughter, Lisa, called an ambulance immediately and Elaine was rushed to hospital in Birmingham. She was later moved back to Hereford, but it was 10 months before she was well enough to be discharged. Elaine had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, or bleeding in the subarachnoid space of the brain, a rare but particularly dangerous type of stroke. Up to half of all cases are fatal, and 10-15 per cent of people diagnosed die before they are able to reach a hospital. Those who survive, like Elaine, often become severely disabled. Her movement became restricted and she lost her ability to speak. For months, Elaine communicated with her family through picture cards, pointing to explain what she wanted to say. Thankfully, a course of speech therapy worked wonders. Now she can speak again, and although her words come slower than they used to, she is careful to repeat herself until she gets her point across. Her next goal is to walk again, and through weekly physiotherapy, she is making gentle progress. Elaine lives in Livability’s Wall Street centre in Hereford, where she receives full-time care. “It’s wonderful here,” she says. “They really look after me.” She has her own room, decorated with photos of her daughters growing up. She enjoys playing on her 6

computer, watching TV and reading celebrity biographies. Yet she admits that she is hardly ever in during the day. “I go out a lot with my friends,” she says. “I go to day centres where I can do all sorts of activities. I listen to music, practise communication, and do woodwork. I even made my own bedside table.” Elaine also loves taking cookery lessons in a group of ten at the day centre. She particularly enjoys making sweets. “Sweets are my favourite, but they bring different ingredients every week. You have to go with the flow,” she says. Elaine has accommodated the radical change in her circumstances with admirable grace, patience and fortitude over the last six years. “She does as much as she can,” says Lisa, her daughter. “She’s a big part of our family.” So it only seems right that, in May 2010, her dream of helping her daughter to get married should come true. “It was a very good day,” says Elaine. “It was a small affair, as we are a very close family. The sun shone all day – it only rained later when it was all over.”

Where she belongs: Elaine at the heart of her family

Lisa, helping her to get ready. “Lisa put her dress on upstairs,” she says. “When I saw her, I was so proud. She looked so pretty.” Elaine describes Lisa’s dress fondly: strapless, straight, with pretty detail across the middle. But what is her verdict on the groom? “Simon is a good son-in-law,” she says. “I approve.” Elaine is looking forward to collating the wedding photographs in an album, and adding them to the collection on her wardrobe door. But she’ll need to

leave space, as her other daughter, Terry-Ann, has just announced her engagement and is planning a wedding for next year. It’s not time to pack the fascinator away just yet. Despite the stroke that threatened her life, Elaine has survived, achieved the goal of regaining her speech, and developed the personal strength and courage to adjust to a new way of life. Now, her reward is to enjoy the fulfilment of the dream that any mother has for her child. Happily, she gets to do it twice.

The marriage took place in a registry office, followed by a reception at a golf club. “We had pork for the meal,” explains Elaine, “Then the wedding cake was a tower of cupcakes.” Lisa carefully arranged the day so that there would be wheelchair access for her mum at every venue. “I organised the whole wedding so that Mum could be there,” Lisa says. “It meant the world to me that she was able to come. I wouldn’t have done it without her." Elaine wore a stunning outfit in red: matching suit, shoes, bag and a fascinator in her hair. She enjoyed spending the morning of the wedding at home with Thanks to Livability, a stroke didn't stop Elaine from being part of her daughter's wedding 7

heat of the stage lights as he performed in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Later, bridging the often traumatic transition from school life to adulthood, he lived in Livability’s Talbot Manor, just outside Bournemouth. Here, he received the full-time residential care he needed. But through working with staff at Talbot Manor, the time came when he didn’t need such constant support. He was able to do his own washing up. Andrew joined a waiting list to move into a block of shared flats where staff members are on-hand to support him when he needs help. Four years ago,

‘I cook lasagne, cottage pie, I couldn’t do that before.’ he moved to Shaftesbury Court. In his kitchen at Shaftesbury Court, the work surfaces are deliberately low so that Andrew and his flatmates can use them easily from a wheelchair. A detachable tray helps him to balance the mugs as he dries them. He can control the doors and other functions within the flat using his “magic key”, as he calls the electronic device in his pocket.

The time of their lives From school, to residential care, to their own flat: two friends celebrate the opportunities and care they’ve received through a lifetime of support from Livability. Andrew chases a blue-and-white tea towel round the inside of his mug. He places the mug back in the cupboard, smiling, leaving the draining board sparkly and clear. Here is a man who loves the washing-up.

“I’m not like most men,” he laughs. “I like cleaning.” Kitchen chores may sound like a hassle, but to Andrew they mean freedom. Living in supported accommodation at Livability’s Shaftesbury Court in Bournemouth means Andrew can plan his own day, get up when he wants, and look after his home. For a lifelong wheelchair user, independence is everything.

‘I’m not like most men I like cleaning’ “I find it great, living here,” says Andrew. “It’s my home.”


Your support for Livability has allowed Andrew to enjoy quality care and the opportunity to thrive throughout his life. As a child, he studied at Livability’s Victoria Education Centre in Poole, where one of his favourite memories was feeling the intense

He can choose his own food and goes shopping every Monday with his mum to stock up his shelves. Shaftesbury Court staff members then cook the food with him when he wants to eat. Timing his day according to his own agenda is one of the many benefits Andrew enjoys from supported living. “I enjoy the independence I have here,” he says. Another benefit Andrew has discovered is having his own space. He’s proud of the 37-inch plasma TV in his bedroom, where he watches sport on Sky and catches up with the soaps. His room is a retreat, a private place that clearly means a lot to him. When you rely on other people to help you bath and dress, it’s understandable to crave time to yourself. But Andrew does have the chance to make friends and get outside, too. He’s just back from a sailing trip on a catamaran in Poole Harbour. In a group of partially sighted people, he was the only wheelchair user on board, but that didn’t stop him wanting to steer the boat. “I wanted a challenge,” he says. “Besides, I love the sea. Once, I went on holiday in the Mediterranean and I steered the ship then. We got caught in a big thunderstorm. The sky went dark and blue flashes appeared. Then there was a massive bang. I loved it.”

Andrew shares his flat with two friends, including David, who shared his path from Victoria Education Centre to Talbot Manor and now Shaftesbury Court. “He follows me everywhere,” says Andrew, before teasing David on the baseball cap he’s wearing. “Take your hat off, Mr. Gangster,” he says. Andrew and David go back a long way. They have both experienced the uncertainty of moving on from a school that was well suited to their needs. They have both chosen college courses to develop their interests and improve their skills. Now they share a desire to be able to do more for themselves at home.

‘I find it great living here. It’s my home’ David moved into the flat more recently, but his presence already shows in the wrestling stickers glued to the fridge. Posters of his fighting heroes plaster his bedroom door, too. He has an 9

involve waiting for a suitably adapted property and hiring home-help. One married couple already lives at Shaftesbury Court, but most of the flats are for three sharers and waiting lists are long. “For disabled people, it’s a parallel universe,” says Garry. “Everything we take for granted becomes more complicated.” The dream of living in their own place is not entirely out of reach for David or Andrew, but it would take a lot of patience, planning and adjustment.

encyclopaedic knowledge of the World Wrestling Federation and is keen to explain the strengths of all the wrestlers, past and present, as well as their signature moves. “My favourite wrestler is John Cena,” he enthuses. “He’s a real champion.” David draws well, and is studying art at college. To practise, he copies pictures of wrestlers from books in the Resource Centre of Shaftesbury Court. This is an open-plan area of sofas, tables, DVDs and board games: a place where the residents can spend time together, watch TV and learn new skills. David is also learning to cook for himself in lessons he’s taking in the Resource Centre. “I like peeling and chopping carrots,” he says. “I cook lasagne, cottage pie. I couldn’t do that before but I can now I live here. I’ve got more independence.” At Shaftesbury Court, David has a support worker, Zac, who helps him to go out and have an evening social life. Together they go to the cinema, to plays and recently to a comedy night at Bournemouth International Centre. “We saw Katy Brand,” says David. “She’s really funny. I liked her impression of Lady Gaga.” David also goes out locally with his friend Adrian, who shares one of the other 13 flats in Shaftesbury Court. Together they are regulars at the local pub. “We take ourselves there,” says David. “Well, Adrian uses a scooter so I hang on behind. Sometimes we went to the pub at Talbot Manor, but never by ourselves.”


Moving to Shaftesbury Court has given David more independence than he has ever experienced before. And his confidence and determination are growing to help him take advantage of all his new opportunities. Garry Stevens, deputy head of Shaftesbury Court, has watched David develop: “One morning, he surprised us all. He suddenly appeared fully dressed all by himself. He’d chosen a smart combination of clothes, his hair was combed – he’d even put his shoes on, which we had thought was too difficult for him to do for himself.”

‘For disabled people, it’s a parallel universe. Everything we take for granted becomes more complicated.’ Perhaps David had been inspired by his favourite wrestler’s signature move, known as ‘Attitude Adjustment’. Or maybe his fresh motivation was an effort to impress Kellie, the girlfriend who has just become his fiancée. The couple met when they were both living at Talbot Manor. When David proposed in March, Kellie said yes straight away. He claims she was “very pleased and a bit surprised”. It hadn’t been quite the same, a few years ago, when he first asked her out in front of her whole family. “She didn’t know what to say,” David remembers. “But her family were there and they all told her, ‘Go on Kellie, say yes!’” Getting married will not be straightforward for Kellie and David, as moving into a new home together will

“Some people could never live independently, but others can move further out if that’s what they want to do,” Garry explains.

A brave new world?

Major life changes can be difficult for anyone, but for people like Andrew and David, who rely on others for help in their everyday lives, it is crucial that they always have a choice in how they live.

What does a new government mean for disabled people? Livability's parliamentary expert Rachael Christophides explains.

That’s why Livability has supported these men, and hundreds of people like them, as they have made important transitions towards greater independence.

The recent general election was the most closely fought in living memory and resulted in the first hung parliament for a generation. Out of the chaos emerged Britain’s first coalition government for 70 years and the first Conservative-Liberal alliance since 1922. But what does this mean for the UK’s 10.6 million disabled people?

Thanks to your generous support for Livability over the years, both Andrew and David are able to live rich and varied lives, full of interesting experiences and achievements. They’ve been able to study, follow their interests, make friends and go on holidays. Andrew and David may have experienced greater obstacles than others to reach the milestones in their lives. But, as their progression to supported living in Shaftesbury Court shows, the everyday independence they hunger for can be achieved. One sink-full of washing-up at a time.

We now have both a new Minister for Disabled People, Maria Millar MP, and a new Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP. Together they are responsible for delivering the government’s health and social care policy and the decisions they take in the coming months and years will have an enormous impact on the lives of disabled people. The new government has announced the establishment of an independent commission on the future funding of care which will report within a year and lead to the introduction of a new system by Autumn 2011. The commission’s work will take place at a time when the UK is facing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The money allocated to local authorities to deliver care has already been slashed by over a billion pounds and further cuts are inevitable. It is more important than ever that the voices of disabled people are heard by those who have the power to make a real and lasting difference to their lives. This is why Livability will be working closely with the new government and the commission to ensure that the rights of disabled people are at the heart of the political agenda. 11

On a mission

Building independence Tell us a little bit about your job at Hinwick. Well, I am a care support worker which basically means I support students at Hinwick in all areas of their lives. This can be anything from helping them wash and dress in the morning to supporting them in lectures throughout the day. What is the ultimate goal of your work? I work to help my students become more independent, develop their abilities and make sure they are happy and safe. Livability is all about helping disabled people live their lives as independently as possible. Even if that means helping someone make a sandwich for themselves for the first time, I am there to help my students achieve that.

“Seeing students change is incredible”: support worker Cat

Cat is a support worker at Livability’s Hinwick Hall College. For five years she has dedicated her time and energy to the care and support of disabled people. We wanted to find out a little bit more about Cat and the kind of the work she does.

What does working at Hinwick mean to you? It means the world to me. I can’t imagine doing any other job – I love it. Working with the students at Hinwick is so rewarding. Seeing how they change and develop is incredible. There is nothing like seeing someone achieve a goal they never thought possible. The students inspire me. What would you like to say to our supporters? I just want to say thank you. I think Livability supporters like you are brilliant. You help so many disabled people achieve so much. Every day I get to come to work and see how much of a difference you have made. Thank you.

Stress-free giving John Chappell has been supporting Livability for six years with a Direct Debit. We spoke to him to find out a little more about him and why he is so dedicated to the work we do with disabled people. Why Livability? I started supporting John Grooms back in 2004 before it merged with the Shaftesbury Society and became Livability. I think the work they do for disabled people is excellent and I want to be a part of that.


Why a Direct Debit? Direct Debits are the easiest way to give. I don’t have to think about it once I’ve set it up. I know exactly when my money is going out and where it’s going and I can just relax knowing that I am contributing to a marvellous charity. Are you interested in supporting us with a Direct Debit? To find out more give us a call on 020 7452 2121.

Shaftesbury Society mothers and toddlers group, 1920

Livability’s oldest friends Long before Livability started working with disabled people, we existed as a string of churches across London. In the 1800s, London was the world’s biggest city and was rife with social problems including a sky-rocketing crime rate, widespread alcoholism, and a lack of sanitation leading to terrible diseases. The Shaftesbury Society set up mission churches in some of London’s roughest, poorest areas. They reached out to offer people both practical support and spiritual hope. Today the churches that Shaftesbury set up are independent, hiring their own leaders and making their own plans. Yet we still enjoy close relationships with them. Brian Watts runs the Shaftesbury Christian Centre in Battersea, a mission church set up by the Shaftesbury Society over 150 years ago. “We’ve never lost our mission ethos” he says. “150 years ago we fed people, looked after single mums and took local children on holiday, and today we still do all of those things. “ “We really appreciate our relationship with Livability. The Community Mission team give us advice and support and they help us out in very practical ways like staff training and payroll. Above all, they help us to keep our focus on reaching out into our community.”

Stop press:

Livability film goes to Cannes! Our award-winning film has just been entered into the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards. The competition may not have the glitz of the summer film festival, but it will still mean that even more people are able to find out about our work.

I’m writing this column on the train back from Birmingham, where I’ve just spoken at a conference run by the Church Urban Fund, which helps churches work positively in their communities. One of the main speakers was Eugenie Harvey who wrote a book called “Change the World for a Fiver” and started the “We are what we do” movement. Her words were particularly inspiring as she explained that her motivation to see people make positive steps for local and global change arose from her own difficult and painful childhood. “We are what we do” is a great clarion call for Livability. We are about bringing choice, challenging injustice, being with the isolated and simply being all God has called us to be wherever we find ourselves working and living. Eugenie encourages us to consider how our every day choices about our time and money really can change the world just as many Christian heroes like Mother Teresa have done before us.

Adam is interim director of Livability's Community Mission team, helping churches transform their communities. 13

Events calendar Garden open day 19 September Feeringbury, Essex It’s our last garden party of the year! Bring your friends and family to enjoy this beautiful garden. At Feeringbury, ancient meets modern with a contemporary garden surrounding a 14th Century house. As well as exploring the garden, you will have the opportunity to buy cuttings, enjoy refreshments, and find out a little more about Livability’s work.

Harrow lecture 14 October Livability has enjoyed a close relationship with Harrow school for over a century, and we are pleased to continue that tradition by hosting the regular Harrow Lecture. This year our speaker is General Sir Richard Dannatt. Currently Constable of the Tower of London, he has had an illustrious military career, including leading troops in Bosnia, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. It promises to be a fascinating evening.

A legacy of choice Keep on running Congratulations to all Livability runners in the 2010 London Marathon! They put in a huge effort, both on the day and over the months of training. All 44 runners who started the race crossed the finish line. Running a marathon for charity isn't just an impressive physical feat. The team also raised over £60,000 in sponsorship, which will make a huge difference to Livability's work. Join us for 2011 Although the official ballot for entry into next year's Virgin London Marathon has closed, Livability has a number of places still available for the race. If you'd like to run the marathon and think you could raise sponsorship money for Livability, we'd love to hear from you. As part of the Livability team, we will support you every step of the way. You will receive: • Professional training advice to help you prepare for the big day • A Livability t-shirt or running vest (your preference) • A ‘carb-loaded’ pre-marathon party at a central London location • A fundraising pack and your own online sponsorship page • Regular newsletters to inspire you and help you with your training

For too long, disabled people have had decisions made for them. Questions like where to live, who to live with, and how to spend their time have been decided by professionals in offices. But Livability believes that disabled people deserve to live lives of independence and choice. They should be supported to make decisions for themselves. Leaving us a gift in your will help us support disabled people to live the life they choose. For more information or a confidential discussion, please contact Alastair Emblem on 020 7452 2118

Date for your diary Although Christmas is a long way off, we just wanted to let you know that we have secured the beautiful church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, for our carol service. The service will be held on 13 December. We’ll send out more details later in the year, but this event is our most popular of the year, so you may want to put it in your diary now. For tickets or more information on any of these events, please call the events team on 020 4752 2115 or email 14

For more information, contact Yvette either by email at or phone on 020 7452 2115. “Ever since watching the first London Marathon on TV back in 1981, I have always wondered what it would be like to be part of such an amazing experience. I decided when I hit the big 4-0 that I should have a go but it was hearing about Livability which pushed me into doing it.” Stephen Reed 15

Inspiration “Prejudice is a mist, which in our journey through the world often dims the brightest and obscures the best of all the good and glorious objects that meet us on our way.” Lord Shaftesbury

Livability 50 Scrutton Street, London EC2A 4XQ Tel: 0845 264 1194 Fax: 020 7452 2001

Livability is the new face of John Grooms and the Shaftesbury Society

Please help Livability continue to change people’s lives. Title

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Signature : Date: It is our usual policy to acknowledge donations. However, if you do not wish to receive an acknowledgement please tick here. Please send your gift in the enclosed envelope to: Livability, FREEPOST RLYJ – UJHU – EKHJ, Slough, SL3 0EN. Thank you. Registered charity number 1116530

Livability News Aug 2010  

This is the Livability News in August 2010

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