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Spring 2011

Issue 10

news Livability at Downing Street


Campaigning success


Sharing knowledge in Asia


The best summer events

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

Message from Mike Campaign success means Hinwick students will still be able to get to college

Transport campaign gets things moving

Dear all, This is the first time I’ve written in Livability News. My name is Mike Smith and I’m Livability’s new chief executive. I’ve been in post for six months now and I’ve managed to visit many of our services and meet a good number of staff and service users. As a newcomer I’ve been impressed with so much of what I’ve seen. Livability is an organisation that truly has disabled and disadvantaged people at its very heart. So many of the staff I meet are passionate about the work they are doing and the people they serve, whether they are support workers, teachers, physiotherapists or community mission advisors. It’s great to be leading such a passionate, dedicated team. It’s a real responsibility to be at the helm of an organisation with such a strong sense of history. I believe that my role is not just to ensure that Livability continues our high quality work, but also continues to be a pioneer in our field. We must always be looking for new ways to bring hope and real opportunity to the lives of disabled people, and it’s thanks to your ongoing generosity that this is possible. I’ve got high hopes for the future of Livability, and I hope you do too. Thank you for your support,

Mike Smith OBE Chief Executive 2

Livability campaigners have persuaded a local authority to reconsider its cuts. In the last issue of Livability News, we told you how Northamptonshire County Council had threatened to cut transport funding for disabled people, which would have left our students stranded, unable to attend Hinwick College. Livability worked with students, parents and the local media to campaign against the proposal. And we’re excited to report a real breakthrough. Under the new deal, students will only be charged for their transport based on their ability to pay. And those with low incomes will receive significant subsidies, with more grants available for disabled students who are in full-time care. We are so relieved at this result. For some students, this cut would have meant an end to their education, but now they will be able to stay in college. It’s so encouraging to see that campaigning really can make a difference.

Locals help launch new service Londoners are helping Livability to launch a brand new service. Our new Lifestyle Choices project will be based in northwest London so we asked locals for support. We’re really grateful that together with our friends and supporters, we have raised the money needed to get the project off the ground. Because Lifestyle Choices is all about helping disabled people get back into the community, it’s really encouraging that members of the community have given us their support.

Adverts featuring Emma helped us raise money

A big thank you In March we wrote to you about the financial challenges we were facing; a funding shortfall threatened to stop our refurbishment projects. Today we are so grateful for your generosity. At the time of going to press, you have sent in over £75,000. That means we are now able to go ahead with some of our planned upgrade work. Thank you so much for your support. It’s so encouraging to know that we are in this together.

Win a car As part of the Sparkle appeal we’re raffling off a brand new car. It’s a white Smart Pulse cabriolet, just the thing to be driving this summer. Tickets cost just £5. To be in with a chance to win, simply visit the Sparkle website,, click on Calendar of Events, then download the ticket form. Once you’ve sent off the form along with a cheque, your raffle tickets will be sent in the post. The prize draw will take place on 30 June, giving the winner the rest of the summer to drive around with the roof down!

Samantha Cameron welcoming Livability to Downing Street

Livability meets Samantha Cameron What goes on behind the big black door of 10 Downing Street? If you watch the news, it seems to be a never-ending cycle of meetings with foreign leaders, policy planning sessions, strategy meetings and military briefings. But in March, London’s most famous address hosted a very different event - a reception for Livability. Last December we approached Samantha Cameron, the Prime Minister’s wife to ask for her support for the Sparkle appeal, raising money for a new hydrotherapy pool at Victoria Education Centre. The Camerons’ first child, Ivan, was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and sadly died aged just six. As a result, the couple have a real interest in children with special needs. We were thrilled that Samantha offered to host a reception for us at Downing Street. Among the guests were faces from the fashion world, including Vogue magazine. Also in attendance were Victoria Beckham’s parents, novelist David Nicholls and Paralympian David Weir, who just a few weeks later went on to win the wheelchair London Marathon. The real stars of the evening were students from Victoria, who talked about their school and the importance of hydrotherapy. The students were soon surrounded by well-wishers and were even given a behind-the-scenes tour of the house.

Welcome to our new room sponsors If you have recently signed up to sponsor one of our rooms, we would like to say thank you. Your regular gifts are helping us maintain and upgrade rooms, particularly their specialist equipment such as hoists and powered beds. Although maintenance doesn’t grab the headlines – it’s not an exciting new project – it is vital. Rooms will always need maintenance and upgrades and your gifts are helping us provide the accommodation that our service users deserve. If you would like to find out more about becoming a room sponsor please contact us on 020 7452 2121.

We were so privileged to have been given this opportunity to talk about Livability’s work. As a result of the reception some guests have already given us gifts, taking us closer to our dream of providing our students with a brand new hydrotherapy pool and therapy centre. However we still have a long way to go before we are able to start construction. We will be writing to you later in the summer to tell you more about the appeal and the children whose lives will be changed by the new pool. 3

Livability's advice helps Kathmandu's Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre meet local needs

Sharing knowledge, changing lives While most of our work focuses on supporting disabled people here in the UK, Livability is committed to sharing our knowledge with some of the world’s poorest people. We have been supporting clinics and therapists across Asia for over 15 years. Fifteen-year-old Anita Kumal lost her step as she sliced long grass with a scythe. She fell over a 20foot cliff and lay unconscious, her spine crushed, until her family found her. She had cut fodder for her cattle hundreds of times before on the dangerous slopes of her Nepalese village in the foothills of the Himalayas. But this time, luck wasn’t on her side. Her family carried her for three hours down the mountain to the nearest road. With no telephone and no ambulance service, they lifted their injured daughter onto the local bus. Nine hours later, they reached Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. But their struggle to find treatment was not over yet. They took Anita to three different hospitals before her condition was properly diagnosed. Finally, following surgery – and now in a wheelchair - she was referred to the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC), supported by Livability. At SIRC, Anita received physiotherapy and occupational therapy, helping her strengthen her muscles, learn to use a wheelchair and adapt to her new physical condition. “There are not many services available in Nepal for people with spinal injuries,” says Esha Thapa, 4

director of SIRC. “In fact, this centre is the first one of its kind in the whole country.” Livability has been involved in the centre right from the beginning. We helped to plan and organise every detail, from fundraising advice to staff training. We have helped the centre to grow from five staff members to 40, from a small rented building to a custom-built centre and from the capacity to treat 10 patients at a time to space for 39. Today it is a flagship service, regularly hosting tours and training events for doctors and therapists from all over Asia.

‘This centre is the first one of its kind in the whole country’ Livability first started working in Asia in 1995. Maggie and Stephen Muldoon had been working at Treetops, our residential centre in Colchester. They were sent to investigate how we could work internationally. Over 15 years later, the two of them remain at the heart of our Asian network. Livability doesn’t directly operate services in Asia – we leave that work to local organisations. Instead we help their staff to develop their professional skills.

One of the most important aspects of our work is in helping people share knowledge. Livability set up a cross-Asia network which encourages people working in the field of spinal injury to meet and discuss their work. We gather experts from right across the region – in all there are 15 countries represented. They advise and encourage each other, sharing experiences and findings, creating a vibrant network of professionals who are committed to learning and improving their work. One example of a great idea that came out of the network and is now starting to be implemented right across Asia is peer counselling: people who are already disabled helping others to cope with the emotional trauma of their spinal injury. Peer counselling helps to reduce depression in patients, improve their motivation and build confidence to return to their communities. Although newly disabled people have pressing physical needs, it’s vital that emotional and social needs are met too. In the UK, the last few decades have seen real advances in the way that disabled people are supported to play an active role in their communities. And Livability is sharing this kind of learning with partners across this region, where strong support networks for disabled people do not yet exist.

‘We desperately want to see this vital work expand’ One young woman who benefited from peer counselling is Laxmi. She sustained injuries to her spine falling from a tree when collecting firewood, an injury common in women who live and work in rural Nepal. After a period of intensive therapy at SIRC, she returned to her village but found life incredibly hard. “The village environment is simply not suited to a wheelchair,” she says. “How can I help my parents cook?” Laxmi found village life so difficult that she decided to move to the city. Back in Kathmandu, SIRC was able to help her access peer counselling. “At first, other disabled people showed me how to do things and then I believed that I could do them too,” she says. Her confidence steadily grew and now she has her own home and is studying at college. She can fetch water, cook and clean for herself in a specially adapted ground floor flat, and she is enjoying the independent life she is now able to lead. “I’m really happy here,” she says. “If I were in my village now, I couldn’t do the things I used to do. Everything would have to be done for me.”

In areas where disability is stigmatised, it's vital to meet patients' emotional and social needs.

When she has finished her studies, Laxmi wants to get a good job in an office. Negative attitudes towards disabled people are beginning to change in Kathmandu, and employment opportunities are growing. With her determination and eloquence, Laxmi has every chance of success. She says, “In the village, people say that disabled people can’t do anything. But here I can do everything for my own life. I can show them that a disabled person is no less than an able-bodied person.” This is why Livability is so committed to working with our partners across Asia. We are able to advise, support and encourage them using the skills and knowledge we have built up working with disabled people here in the UK. We’ve enabled our partners to take some fantastic steps, but there is still so much to do: In Nepal, disabled young people like Laxmi still struggle to live in their home villages; there is still social stigma attached to disability. However Nepal is just one country – we desperately want to see this vital work expand. With relatively humble resources, Livability’s overseas work has a huge impact. Our small team of advisors works with seven key rehabilitation centres, supports 74 organisations in 15 countries and train over one thousand staff each year. Could you support our overseas vision? A gift of £25 would help to sustain this life-changing work. 5

On a mission

Volunteers have been the backbone of our communities for generations. They’re involved in everything from youth work to ‘knit and natter’ groups. But, as many other resources are reduced by financial cuts, there is now a growing need to rely on these precious people. In its report Church and Community Involvement 2010, the Cinnamon Network found that UK Christians spend around 55 million hours volunteering. Livability works hard to support volunteers; those who are often found running toddler groups, community cafes, mentoring schemes and homeless drop-ins for some of our most marginalised neighbours. In the last month alone the Community Mission team has trained over 100 people how to better recruit, support and manage volunteers. At the latest training day, called 'Managing Volunteers: Manipulation or Motivation', a participant commented “I am leaving with practical ideas for inspiring new volunteers and tactics for existing volunteers too”. See for more info about our courses. PS. Could you spare one or two days a week to help out at our central office in London? See back page for more details.

Adam Bonner is director of Livability's Community Mission team, helping churches transform their communities. 6

Pass it on Tessa Hayward and her late husband Derek were supporters of Livability, and before that, the Shaftesbury Society, as their son Leo lived in one of our care homes. Derek, who Tessa Hayward: her husband’s legacy is had been an Archdeacon improving the lives of disabled children in the London diocese, sadly passed away last year, but he was able to express his gratitude to Livability by leaving a gift in his will. “Derek was not sentimental about objects, even this portrait of his grandfather” Tessa says, “but leaving a legacy to Livability was very important to him. They were very good to us.” Tessa and Derek’s son Leo was diagnosed with an aggressive nerve disease when he was a little boy and Livability helped care for him throughout his life. “My husband’s gift will improve quality of life for other children like Leo, keeping them comfortable and well-cared for,” says Tessa. “Derek was a servant hearted man and the wellbeing of others is the only memorial he would want. To anyone considering leaving a legacy to Livability, I would say it would be a very good thing to do, to help disabled people improve their lives.” If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift please contact Alastair Emblem on 020 7452 2118

Putting it all together Throughout its history, Livability has worked with churches and with disabled people. In the past few years, we've started to unite these two areas of expertise. We started by organising an event called `Beyond Disability', which aimed to help churches and Christian groups understand more about disability. A number of the facilitators were themselves disabled, and together we discussed how churches could be more open and welcoming. The event generated a lot of positive feedback, so we have decided to organise a similar day this summer. It will take place in London on Wednesday 8 June, and we'll be running it with another Christian disability charity, Through the Roof. Delegates will hear directly from disabled people, have the chance to ask questions and discuss tricky issues. If you would like to learn more about disability, and particularly how your church could engage more with local disabled people, then we'd love you to come along. Our desire is to see churches really reaching out to the disabled people in their communities. For more information and booking details, visit the Community Mission team's website:

Livability events

Events calendar

Hi, I'm Yvette and I am the events manager here at Livability.

Crossword Challenge

This time of year is very exciting for us in the events team – all our planning is coming together into a fantastic array of summer events. This year we’ve even got an event you can be a part of without leaving your living room! The Livability crossword challenge is a brand new idea and it’s included in this magazine. I really wish I could enter - I’d love to win a flat screen TV and home cinema system! And I’m excited to let you know that Livability has been invited back to Latchetts for another summer garden party. Last year we really enjoyed our day in Mr and Mrs Hardy’s exquisite garden in East Sussex and we’re thrilled to be able to go back this summer. This year will be even more enjoyable than last, with a variety of musicians performing throughout the day, as well as a fantastic line up of guest speakers to give you the benefit of their gardening expertise. There will be plenty for children to do, and even the chance to buy plants and cuttings to take home. The date to put in your diary is Saturday 9 July. Tickets are now available – just get in touch with me by phone or email.

Entries close Thursday 30 June Why not enter our crossword challenge, included with your Livability News. It costs just £5 to enter, and you have the chance to win a fantastic prize. If crosswords aren’t your thing, why not pass it to a relative or neighbour?

Jurassic Coast Trek Friday 16 - Sunday 18 September The Jurassic Coast is England’s first Natural World Heritage Site and has the most geologically diverse coastline in the world. A group of Livability supporters will spend two days trekking 23 miles from Old Harry Rocks in Dorset to Orcombe Point in East Devon. Join us for an exhilarating break in some of Britain’s most dramatic scenery.

Finally, have you got any old foreign currency lying about at home? Maybe you’ve got some notes left over from a holiday? Or perhaps even lira, pesetas or deutschmarks from before the Euro. If you send them to us, Livability will be able to change the old money into new pounds, which we can then use to support disabled people. Hope to see you at one of our events over the summer. Yvette

Join our trek along the breathtaking coastline

Royal Parks Half Marathon Sunday 9 October This spectacular run winds its way across four Royal Parks: Hyde Park, St. James’s Park, Kensington Gardens and Green Park. Apply now for your place on the Livability team. This unique half marathon promises to be one to remember! For tickets or more information on any of these events, please call the events team on 020 7452 2115 or email We hope to see you on 9 July at Latchetts 7

Livability needs you Do you have one or two days to volunteer in our London office? We need people like you to support the fundraising and communications team in an administrative role. Donating your time can really make a difference. For more information on what's involved, please contact Deborah Lee on 020 7452 2121 or send us an email to Want to help out more locally? Watch this space for the launch of Livability’s volunteering programme!

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

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Make your gift worth more at no extra cost to you. If you are a taxpayer, Livability can reclaim 25p for every £1 you give to help disabled people. All you need to do is tick below. Yes, I am a UK taxpayer and would like Livability to treat all donations I have made in the last four years, and all donations I make from now on, as Gift Aid donations. I confirm that I pay an amount of income tax or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax that Livability will reclaim on my donations in the tax year. Sorry, I am not a UK taxpayer.

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It is our usual policy to acknowledge donations. However, if you do not wish to receive an acknowledgement please tick here. Please pop this form, with your cheque or postal order if appropriate in the envelope enclosed and send to: Livability, FREEPOST, RSHU-ZJKL-LCZK, 3 Mercury Centre, Central Way, Feltham, TW14 0RN. You don’t need a stamp. 50 Scrutton Street, London, EC2A 4XQ Tel: 020 7452 2121 Fax: 020 7452 2001 Registered charity no:1116530 Registered in England no: 5967087 Livability is a company limited by guarantee


Livability News May 2011  

This is the Livability News May 2011