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Autumn 2012

Issue 13

news Earning Independence


News and Updates


Overcoming barriers to employment


Mud, mud, glorious mud!

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

Message from Dave

News and Updates...

Dear friend, Hello, and welcome to the autumn issue of Livability News. As some of you may know, in August we bid a fond farewell to Mike Smith OBE who retired from his position as our Chief Executive Officer. Mike, who has a clear passion for tackling disability issues, joined us in 2010 and made an important contribution to the running of our organisation. He was particularly concerned with providing employment opportunities for disabled people and launched the Enterprise Agency, a self-employment service. We wish him all the best for the future. However, we need to continue to provide beneficiaries with the support they need to live life to the full. It may take some time to recruit a suitably high calibre individual to steer Livability into the future, so while our Trustees conduct this search, they have asked me to be Acting Chief Executive Officer. I have worked for Livability as Director of Operations since 2007 and before this for the Shaftesbury Society since 2002. I want to assure you, as a valued supporter of Livability, that I and my colleagues will remain at all times focused on delivering the best possible service to the disabled people we work with.

Sparkle Success Thanks to our supporters, construction of the new hydrotherapy pool at the Victoria Education Centre (VEC) is now underway. We greatly appreciate the time and money donated so generously to the appeal and the tireless effort from everyone involved in raising funds and awareness. The new pool will mean our disabled students and young people will benefit from longer hydrotherapy sessions which are so important for their muscles, movement and wellbeing. “It is difficult to explain how I feel in the water, I’m able to do things I can’t when I’m in my wheelchair” David, student at VEC Our patron, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, laid the foundation stone of the new hydrotherapy pool at a special event in July to mark the start of the building work. Joining in the celebration were supporters, pupils, parents, governors and staff of Victoria Education Centre, as well as special guests including football manager Harry Redknapp, children’s television presenter Chris Jarvis and presenter Esther Rantzen.

Best wishes,

Our Sparkle Appeal is raising funds to build a much needed hydrotherapy pool and therapy centre at Livability’s Victoria Education Centre and Sports College.

Dave Webber Acting Chief Executive Officer

The College supports 100 disabled children and young people aged 4 to19 years, some of whom have complex and profound needs. Hydrotherapy is an essential part of many of the students’ treatment, it helps relax, mobilise and exercise as well as restore posture and balance.

Thank you for your continuing support.


Molly, a VEC student, meets Her Royal Highness

Give when you shop Whenever you shop online, you could be helping to raise money for Livability. All you have to do is sign up to The Giving Machine – it’s free – and make Livability your charity of choice. Then every time you buy something online from any of the 400 big-name retailers involved, they will make a donation to us. So whether you are buying groceries, sprucing up your home, or looking for a new outfit try shopping via The Giving Machine website. Knowing that you’re helping to provide some extra help for our beneficiaries while buying something new will make you feel twice as good! Visit – and tell your friends and family about it.

Helping residents live life to the full Assisted activities such as a walk down the street or a trip to the shops or local café are not frivolous extras for disabled people: they are fundamental ingredients for leading happy, fulfilled lives and preventing feelings of isolation and exclusion from society. Do you remember Andy’s story? Having suffered a brain Andy with mum Enid injury Andy is now a resident at Livability home Treetops. His mum Enid is very proud of his progress and feels that regular activities – as well as a special trip to see the Olympic flame – have given him a renewed sense of purpose and hope. These assisted activities are funded entirely by donations and would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters. We have already raised just over £30,000. This is a great start towards reaching the £149,156 we need to provide disabled people like Andy with the choices and opportunities that most people take for granted. Thank you to everybody whose donations help us provide access to stimulating activities for residents. If you have not already done so, please take the time to find out more about Andy and Treetops on our website at

Help give choice to disabled people at Christmas Christmas is a time to enjoy celebrating at home in our own way. We all choose how we celebrate Christmas - we might put up a tree, have friends and family over or cook a delicious Christmas meal. It is important that our disabled residents also have the choice and independence to spend Christmas at home doing things that they want to do. However, to help our residents enjoy the festive period we need to continue to provide suitable accommodation, adapted to their needs that allows independence and freedom of choice. For example accessible kitchens where residents can cook their own Christmas dinner and go about the rest of the day as they please. We want to give our residents the choice and independence to celebrate Christmas in their own way through providing adapted kitchens, hoists and other accessible features in their accommodation. However, we rely upon donations in order to make these improvements and maintain existing equipment. Please give disabled people independence and freedom of choice this Christmas by responding to our letter which you should receive in November. 3

Earning Independence More than a century ago John Groom, one of Livability’s founders, employed many orphaned and disabled girls and women to produce artificial flowers which were fashionable among wealthy Victorians. Known as John Groom’s Flower Girls, the young women were able to earn a wage and support themselves. This was a revolutionary concept in Victorian times.

We know that you, our supporters, want to see change in the employment market after speaking to many of you this summer. In our Supporter Survey employment and education were rated as two of the top five areas where you felt Livability should prioritise spending. And after speaking with many of you by telephone this summer we realised just how passionate you are about these issues.

In today’s employment market, disabled people face different challenges. Only 49 per cent of

Encouraging work

disabled people are in employment compared with 78 per cent of nondisabled people. Disabled young people find it

particularly difficult to find a job and by the age of 26 are four times more likely than their non-disabled peers to be unemployed. When we asked disabled people about the main factors that give choice and control in their life, ‘work’ came out on top. Having a job is about much more than earning money to pay the bills. It’s about gaining life experience, learning new skills, and maybe even realising a lifelong ambition.

Barriers to employment Some of our beneficiaries told us that they find it hard to get hired, even though they would very much like a job. Employers’ concern about ‘health and safety issues’ was suggested as a barrier and the caution around employing disabled people could be due to society’s misunderstanding of ‘disability’ in general. Even when a disabled person does get a job they earn, on average, a third less than nondisabled people and are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work*. 4

Livability is helping disabled people find the training and opportunities that they desperately want and deserve. At our colleges, Nash and Hinwick Hall, special courses help young people with learning and/or physical disabilities develop skills for going to work. This includes finding work placements which play a crucial part of students’ successful transition from college to a more independent lifestyle. And employers get to find out first-hand that disabled employees are just as dedicated and hard working as non-disabled employees. Our support doesn’t stop with help to gain paid employment. Many disabled people have the passion and ambition to set up their own businesses and work for themselves. We believe that if a disabled person wants to be their own boss, then we should offer them the support and guidance they need. That’s why we introduced our Enterprise Agency. Since January, 77 disabled people have started our programme for self-employment, and we want to develop this service and help even more disabled people. *Source: Labour Force Survey, Quarter 2, 2011

Creative future Dave Scates, 26, is one of the budding entrepreneurs benefiting from Livability’s Enterprise Agency. As the result of a spinal tumour and having cancer twice as a child, Dave now uses a wheelchair to get around. He lives in London and has a degree in digital animation. “I wanted to find a junior position in graphic design as it’s always been a passion of mine. I sent my

CV to about two hundred companies

and signed up with a number of recruitment agencies specialising in this type of work, but

got four or five interviews.


“I also completed several internships. These were great for gaining experience – at one place I designed promotional material for big music events – but I needed to earn some money.” After three years, despite his consistent effort, Dave was still without full time paid employment. A bit disheartened, but not demotivated, he spent some time considering his future. With creative skills and design experience, one option was to set up a graphic design business. “I signed up for the New Enterprise Allowance scheme and enrolled on the eight-week course run by Livability Enterprise. This covered all the things I needed to know about starting up my business. My Livability advisers Alice and Liam were great, they helped me produce a business plan and their support helped give me the confidence to go it alone.” Meeting other people wanting to work for themselves also proved fruitful. “It gave us all a chance to

discuss any problems we came across and how to get round them. Some of my colleagues hired me to design leaflets to promote their business and that sparked my idea of offering a range of package deals to suit new and young start-up businesses to ensure that their brand and identity is consistent.”

Dave now works for himself as a graphic designer and is proud of what he has achieved so far. “Business is slowly taking off via recommendations – I’ve gained two or three clients through connections at Enterprise and my portfolio of work has grown significantly. Hopefully my business will continue to grow and allow me to become self-sufficient.” Livability is passionate about helping disabled people realise their ambitions, whether that’s through further education, increasing everyday independence or self-employment. Challenging the inequalities that disabled people face when finding training and work will be a key focus for Livability in the future. It costs just £30 to provide two hours of advice to a disabled person like Dave who is keen to set up their own business. With the help of you, our supporters, more people could benefit from our Enterprise Agency – in fact, we want to double the number of beneficiaries in the next year. It’s heart breaking to turn away those who need our advice, but with your help more disabled people like Dave could have a brighter future.

To see some of Dave’s work visit 5

On a mission When William Booth founded the Salvation Army he coined the motto ‘work for all’. He believed that to help people have purpose in life, employment was critical. Clearly, work and purpose were fundamental concepts to our founders, Lord Shaftesbury and John Groom. Inspired by their faith, both men pioneered work opportunities that gave people a route out of poverty. John Groom helped disabled women become ‘flower girls’ – making silk flowers. Lord Shaftesbury’s political work saw a ban on women and children working in coal mines, the first limits on the length of a working day, and the end of employing young boys as chimney sweeps. Reading Matthew’s gospel (chapter 20) in the Bible we hear Jesus talking about fair pay and equality of opportunity for workers in the vineyard. Clearly Christianity does have something to say about employment as throughout the Bible we discover that God sees no divide between what is deemed by some as ‘sacred’ and that which is labeled ’secular’. The Community Mission team has spent many hours this year helping managers in all kinds of churches and projects to better look after their staff. Our training resource ‘Are you really managing?’ is always popular and helps managers learn to be good stewards of the staff they lead. We hope and pray that Livability can both enable employment opportunities and work towards better employment experiences for disabled and disadvantaged people across the country.

Will you be the key to my future? You could help us unlock the potential of a disabled child by including a gift to Livability in your Will. We’re already helping disabled children like Matthew (right) whose new speech aid equipment is enabling him to communicate with confidence, and Michelle, who took her first steps at the age of nine. But both will need continuing support. That’s why legacies are a vital part of our income – they help make it possible for us to support and empower disabled people throughout their lives. We are very grateful to our supporters who have already included Livability in their Will and are keen for others to help our beneficiaries in this way. To find out about leaving us a gift in your Will: • • •

contact Alastair Emblem on 020 7452 2118 and ask for a Life is Precious booklet tick the box on the donation form attached visit our website

Mud, mud, glorious mud! It may have been the wettest summer in 100 years, but that didn’t stop Livability making the most of our involvement in the Greenbelt festival. This summer saw the third year of Livability’s partnership with Greenbelt, the faith, arts and justice festival. We sponsored ramps, hearing loops and accessible toilets so disabled people could enjoy the festival independently without barriers or discomfort. For the first time, we hosted a panel discussion as part of the speaking programme. Our topic, Will I need a blue badge in Paradise?, covered many issues of disability from the Paralympics to healing, and drew great questions from the audience. Feedback was positive. Panelist Jonathan Bartley summarised by saying ‘there is no them and us, only us!’. Greenbelt attracts around 25,000 Christians interested in justice and social action, and offers us an opportunity to meet and talk to those who share our passion for removing obstacles that prevent disabled people from being fully involved in their local community. To find out how we can help your church become more inclusive, email Mat Ray ( or visit:


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

Thanks to all the Livability supporters who came to speak to us at the festival. It was a pleasure to meet you.

Friends of Livability

Events calendar

We have recently set up some volunteer-led Friends Groups to support our work. They are made up of individuals from all walks of life and ages – our youngest member Emma is 15 years old and our eldest supporter Alfred is 92 years old. The groups have a lot of fun supporting disabled people in engaging with the local community and organising activities to raise awareness and funds for Livability’s work.

A spot of bowls?

Friends Groups have been hard at work carrying out supermarket collections; holding coffee mornings, afternoon teas, cake sales and dinners; hosting local carol services and much more. One Friends Group held a garden day this summer with tea, coffee and cakes, dancing and bowls. Everyone had a fabulous time and over £1,400 was raised. Another Friends Group sell Christmas cards for Livability every year and bring in a substantial amount of much needed funds.

We currently have local groups in Essex, Norfolk, Kent and Northants but we are forming new groups in Suffolk and north London. Being part of a Friends Group is so rewarding. It's an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life; give something back to the local community; and have great fun whilst doing so.

Or just a spot of tea?

Christmas carol service at St Martin-in–the-Fields 11 December This event promises to be one of the highlights of your Christmas calendar. A beautiful historic venue in the heart of London is the perfect place to hold an evening of festive music and readings. Guests include Song of Praises presenter Pam Rhodes and solo soprano Mary Plazas. Tickets are £12.50 for the evening

If you would like more information on how to start your own Friends Group or more information about what your local group is doing please contact our events team on 020 7452 2115 or email

Rising to the challenge Family and friends of beneficiaries are often keen to help raise funds. In July, Keith Hodgkin and Chris Davis took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge: a 12-hour hike that takes place in the Penine peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Neither bad weather nor flooding dampened the lads’ spirits and they completed the trek in 11 hours and 40 minutes. Their sterling effort raised £800 for York House, where Keith’s sister Sarah lives. Our thanks to Keith and Chris. Donations like these can help provide extra services, such as access to clubs and groups, that residents enjoy. We can offer support to individuals or groups who want to raise funds for Livability. From fundraising ideas and tips to publicising and running an event, take a look at our Loving Life booklet online at or contact our events team.

Virgin London Marathon 2013 Whether you’re a first time runner or have run many races before, we would love to welcome you to the Livability Virgin London Marathon team. Once you’re signed up, we will support you every step of the way. This year another record was broken and £52.8 million was raised in total for good causes. You could be part of breaking next year’s record. Registration fee: £50 + VAT (£58.75) Minimum sponsorship: £1,500.


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

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If you pay tax in the UK, Livability can reclaim 25p for every £1 you give to help disabled people. For example, if you gave £15, we can reclaim an additional £3.75, making your gift worth £18.75. If you have not let us know already, please confirm your tax status below and allow us to claim gift aid on your behalf. I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. Please treat as gift aid donations all qualifying gifts of money made Today In the past 4 years In the future Please tick all that apply Sorry I do not pay sufficient tax in the UK




Email is a great way for us to communicate with you as it is very cost effective and enables us to dedicate more money to helping disabled people. Email address

It is our usual policy to acknowledge donations. However, if you do not wish to receive an acknowledgement please tick here. If you would like to find out about leaving a gift in your Will to Livability please tick here. Please pop this form, with your cheque or postal order if appropriate in the envelope enclosed and send to: Livability, Freepost RSYJ – HGEK – RGBX, 126 Fairlie Road, Slough, SL1 4PY. You don’t need a stamp. Registered charity no:1116530 Registered in England no: 5967087 Livability is a company limited by guarantee


Livability News Autumn 2012  

Livability News Autumn 2012

Livability News Autumn 2012  

Livability News Autumn 2012