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the link Issue 2 Autumn 2009

choices for people with learning disabilities

Leicester welcomes the Games Souvenir Issue: Special Olympics

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Leicester welcomes the Games The 8th Special Olympics Great Britain Summer Games took place in Self Unlimited’s home town of Leicester this year. Leicester is the first city in England to have hosted the Games twice, the first time being in 1989. The Special Olympics has always meant a great deal to our Charity. Two members of our East Midlands staff are Special Olympics coaches and a number of people who use our services train regularly to enable them to take part. This year was no exception and the East Midlands Cycling and Athletics teams contained many of our own athletes, determined to do well, but also to enjoy the whole experience of competition. The Opening Ceremony took place at the Walkers Stadium. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his wife Sarah and their two children were present for the Ceremony, which was a very colourful and exciting event. One of Leicester’s favourite personalities, former professional footballer Alan Birchenall, hosted the evening’s entertainment in front of nearly 25,000 people.

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East Midlands’ athletes Fleure O’Donohue and Lee Penfold welcomed everyone and local dance group Narpur Arts provided some spectacular Bollywood dancing. Fanfares greeted the athletes’ parade and the crowds cheered as 2,700 competitors from 19 regions across the country entered the Stadium. Walking alongside were famous sporting heroes, such as former England rugby captain and manager, Martin Johnson, and ex England wicket keeper Paul Nixon. The entertainment continued with a range of musical performances, from the Philharmonia Orchestra to the newly reformed group ‘Beautiful South’. There were gymnasts and huge carnival animals, and then the arrival of the Special Olympics flag, which was hoisted aloft on stage to further cheers and applause. The Flame of Hope, which had been escorted through 45 English towns and cities by police officers, was paraded through the Stadium and used by swimmer Jonathan Bradley to light the beacon that would burn throughout the week. And, as the evening drew to a glorious finale, Martin Johnson declared the Games officially open.


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We’ll meet again... The Special Olympics closed with a special event held in Abbey Park, Leicester, to enable the athletes, their families, friends and coaches to celebrate their achievements and to say their goodbyes, at least until the next Games. The event was of particular importance to Self Unlimited, because we supported this Closing Ceremony with a grant very kindly donated by The Forbes Charitable Foundation to ensure its success. Our volunteers were out in force, meeting families as they arrived. Cheering crowds greeted the athletes as they paraded through the park in their teams to join the festivities. The carnival animals from the Opening Ceremony weaved in and out of the audience and the excitement grew as dusk fell. People were drawn to the floodlit

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stage and the music from the live bands, including tribute band ‘Abba Now’, filled the Park. Even the rain showers were forgotten as everyone joined together in celebration and laughter. The evening drew gradually to a close, and our Chairman Nick Townsend and Chief Executive Patrick Wallace took centre stage with Steve Humphries, the Games Director, and members of the Special Olympics Organising Committee to pay tribute to the dedication and commitment of all of the athletes that took part. As the fireworks faded and the park emptied, people climbed into their team buses or walked arm in arm into the night, wearily talking over the highs and lows of the week, with the sounds of the music and applause still lingering in their heads.

It had been a wonderful week!


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Bryan Steel with our cyclists

Proud! Viv Smith, Regional Manager for Self Unlimited’s East Midlands services, is also the Coach of the East Midlands’ Special Olympics Cycle team. She helps us to understand just what it was like to play a part in the recent Games. “The run up to the Games was really busy. The Cycle Team had regular training sessions as well as being involved in lots of photo shoots. Olympic medal winning cyclist Brian Steel stopped by to give our athletes some excellent advice and to wish them all good luck. We delivered the bikes to the cycling venue at Abbey Park on Friday 24 July, the day before the Games began. On Saturday morning, we joined forces with the East Midlands Athletic team and set off together to take our bags to our accommodation in Leicester. Meeting all of the other athletes was really exciting for everyone. We gathered at Bede Park and escorted the big Special Olympics flag into the city centre. We felt like celebrities, walking through streets lined with crowds of people cheering.

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Jenny Jones & Jayne Gibson

Then we made our way to the Opening Ceremony. “WOW!” The noise was deafening as we entered the Walkers Stadium as part of the athletes’ parade! The entertainment that followed was brilliant and, at the end of the evening, we all walked back to our accommodation buzzing. It was a good start to the week! Monday was the first day of competition and after a bit of a chaotic start, all the ‘divisioning’ was completed. This process takes into account each person’s abilities so that they are able to compete together in groups on a much fairer basis. On Tuesday, everyone in the team competed in medal races and did really well. Cycling throughout the week was excellent, despite the terrible weather. At times, it tried very hard to disrupt the proceedings, but cyclists are made of strong stuff and the racing continued, even through the driving rain! The East Midlands Cycle team finished the competition with seven Gold medals, six Silver medals, seven Bronze medals as well as three 4th places.


The Closing Ceremony was fantastic. It was amazing seeing so much pink across Abbey Park, as far as the eye could see. There were Self Unlimited bags and balloons, and lots of pink signs. Our Athletics Team coach, Mick Hilliam, went onto the stage to get his award. We had a great time, despite the rain showers that threatened to spoil the party throughout the night. Overall, a very special week that made me feel proud - proud of my home city... for the warmth and the welcome and for hosting the games; proud of Self Unlimited... for showing its commitment to Special Olympics by supporting the Closing Ceremony; and most of all, proud of the eight cyclists in our team... who were

excellent ambassadors to themselves and their sport. And I would like to add a special “thank you” to everyone who supported us with donations so that we could take part.” Vivian Smith East Midlands’ Special Olympics Team Cycle Coach

It is with sadness that we dedicate this article to the memory of James Brigstocke, a member of the East Midlands Cycle Team, who died on 6 September 2009. We send our warmest wishes to family and friends.

The Season is upon us! How many of us are still in ‘summer’ mode? We have had a good summer, even if there were a few little ‘blips’ in the middle and we didn’t get quite as many barbecue evenings as promised by the long range forecasters! However, with summer fading fast, and town centres everywhere beginning their annual count down towards December, it is now a sensible time to begin to plan our own seasonal activities. With this in mind, we hope you will take some time out to look through Self Unlimited’s Christmas Collection, mailed to you with your Link magazine. By buying your Christmas cards direct from the Charity, you can rest assured that all profit goes straight back into services. That means people with learning disabilities will benefit directly from your purchases. And that makes the pleasure of giving cards two-fold! This year, we are also offering you the opportunity to buy your cards online, so to make your choice, visit our website www.selfunlimited.co.uk and click on our Shop. And for those happiest seeing their cards before purchasing, each region’s main offices will have cards that you can buy, or you can visit a ‘Cards for Good Causes’ Shop in your area.

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BBC Wiltshire visits Self Unlimited South Central BBC Wiltshire presenter Mark O’Donnell visited our South Central services in August to meet everyone and find out more about the organisation. He was shown around Furlong Close, the main site at Rowde, by Alan Jones, Job Coach. Mark asked Alan about life at Self Unlimited. They discussed how people originally come to use the Charity’s services, either through their local authority or private sponsorship, and how, by using the support available from the staff teams, each person can work at what they want to achieve. Alan explained the various activities on site and introduced Mark to Carrie Pike, Produce Workshop Supervisor, who gave Mark a tour of the kitchen, where trainees then introduced him to the skills required to make good, sticky toffee! Carrie told Mark about the range of jams, chutneys, sweets and cakes made on site

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and sold at many outlets in the area, including some of the local farm shops and cafes and the nearby Community Shop. She explained that people choose which activity they want to undertake. The recent Summer Activities programme had given everyone a wonderful opportunity to try new activities and to get a taste for what each of them would like to do next. David Wilkinson, who is supported by our South Central Services, showed Mark his paintings and discussed with him the many artists that have inspired his work in recent years. And then Mark and Alan walked on, and they talked of the many successes achieved at South Central, including the resident who now travels on his own to work in a local pub after his catering training on site at Rowde. “We work alongside WITS, the Wiltshire Independent Travel Service, who are marvellous in assisting us to help people gain the confidence to travel by themselves.” Alan explained. “It’s one area of support that can open up so many opportunities, and Self Unlimited is all about providing increased choice while refusing to label people”.


Summer concert success Eastry Court, one of the oldest houses in England, was the spectacular venue for a classical concert organised by our Canterbury Fundraising Group in early September. Eighty guests enjoyed canapés and wine in the formal garden at Eastry in the warmth of the fading sunshine and then joined owners, David and Cilla Freud, in their drawing room to listen to the talented Sollertinsky Piano Trio perform some popular classical pieces. The musicians are currently with the ‘Live Music Now’ scheme, set up by Yehudi Menuhin in 1977 with the two main principles of bringing live music to audiences as both an educational and therapeutic experience and assisting gifted musicians at the start of their career. The Trio delighted a spellbound audience, who were treated in the interval to an impromptu tour of the house by David Freud. Eastry Court can be traced back to 600AD, with some of its ancient framework still able to be viewed behind more ‘modern’ refurbishments, which took place in Tudor

and Georgian times. Built as a palace for King Ecgberht of Kent, it is the subject of one of the oldest legends in the county which describes how the King’s two cousins were murdered in the house by one of his staff. The King discovered their bodies in the little chapel and, saddened by their ordeal, had them both buried as Christian martyrs and founded abbeys in their memory, one of which was established in Eastry. Thomas Becket visited the house many times and was said to have hidden at Eastry Court before making his escape to France in 1164. Our Canterbury fundraisers, who are all volunteers, were extremely grateful to David and Cilla for offering to host the concert, which has raised just over £2,000 for Self Unlimited’s South East services. Marion Gear, Chair of the Fundraising Group, was delighted with the success of the evening. “The evening was a complete sellout and I know that we disappointed many who were unable to obtain tickets. We are extremely fortunate to have the support of the Freud family, who were the perfect hosts and made the evening very special for everyone.”

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A Minor detour for brothers Over recent years, Derek Thornley has driven many people in his taxi to and from Stanley Grange, the site that forms the main hub of our services in the North West. In the meantime, his brother David, an ex AA patrolman and now a delivery driver for Tesco, had been undertaking the restoration of a 28-year-old Austin Minor van with the intention of eventually entering the annual Barnsley Jogle Morris Minor Endurance Rally.

David and Derek finished the rally at Lands End in remarkably good form, although David did comment, “We would have completed it, even if we had to push the van home!”

This year, David sadly lost one of his closest friends, which he says made him appreciate that life is very precious. “He was only five days younger than me. It made me realise that life is too short. The 24-hour endurance rally is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but kept putting off because things got in the way.” So David decided that he would participate this year and asked his brother to join him. The pair also announced that they would be raising sponsorship for the 840-mile journey from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of Self Unlimited. Bev Reynolds, member of staff at our North West services was delighted. "The money raised is such a bonus to us and will benefit everyone who uses our services. We badly needed to update our computers and buy some voice activated machines.” The rally began at 11am on 23 June at John O’Groats and finished 24 hours later, with Village Travel and Taxi Service of Leyland, the company that Derek drives for, kindly funding the cost of the fuel.

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Derek and David


Legacies Self Unlimited has recently joined ‘Remember A Charity’, a consortium formed in 2000 and hosted by the Institute of Fundraising that now has over 140 member charities working together to encourage more people to consider leaving a gift to charities in their Will. Gifts in Wills are more commonly called ‘legacies’ and form the foundation of charities in the UK. Many charities depend on legacies - without them, they would not exist. Legacy gifts are vitally important to Self Unlimited. Gifts in Wills range from £100 to £1million, but every penny we receive really does help us to make a positive difference in the lives of people with a learning disability, now and in the future. We are producing a new booklet that will be mailed to you over the coming months and we hope that you will find it both interesting and informative. The booklet explains why it is important to have a Will and keep it up to date, as well as offering useful contacts and information that may relate to your personal circumstances. If you have been considering making a Will but haven’t yet made the necessary arrangements with a solicitor, then you might require help contacting the right professionals in your area. For this and any other information about leaving a legacy to Self Unlimited, please contact Sue Spare on 0116 279 3225, extension 1110. And if you have already remembered Self Unlimited in your Will, then we would like to say “Thank You” and would like to assure you that you are investing in the future of many people with learning disabilities across the country. See more about ‘Remember a Charity’ by visiting www.rememberacharity.org.uk

Can you help by making a regular donation? Our regular giving programme is our life-blood. It allows us to plan far more cost effectively towards the future. Each and every contribution impacts directly on the people with learning disabilities across the country that use and benefit from the opportunities we are able to provide. Many of our supporters already donate to us by making a regular donation at a time that suits them, whether monthly, quarterly

or annually, and as always, we are very appreciative of their continued support. Can you please consider joining our regular giving programme? By giving a regular donation, you help us continue to provide the breadth and quality of services that make Self Unlimited so special. It is easy to join - simply fill in the form on the back page of The Link and send it to our Fundraising and Communications team at the address on the bottom of the form.

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I would like to support Self Unlimited Please fine enclosed a donation of £…………....................... OR Please pay Lloyds TSB (30 94 97) of 7 High Street, Leicester for the credit of Self Unlimited (Account No 0465872) the sum of £…… each month/quarter/year* until further notice. (*please delete as necessary) Starting on / /*2009 (*please choose a start date at least one month from now) To (Name of Bank/Building Society) ………………………………………………………............... Address ……………………………………………................. ………………………………………………………............... Postcode ……………………………………………............... Your Bank Sort Code ………………………………................. Your Bank Account No …………………………...................... This cancels all existing bankers orders to our Charity: YES/NO/NA* (*please delete as necessary) Name:(Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms) …………………………................ Address ………………………………………………............ ………………………………………………………............... Post Code ……………………………………………............. Email Address ……………………………………….............. Signed ………………………………………………………............... Date ………………………………………………….............. GIFT AID DECLARATION I am a UK taxpayer and I wish Self Unlimited to treat all donations I have made over the last six years, until I notify you otherwise, as Gift Aid donations. I am currently paying Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax that is equal to or more than the tax deducted from my donation. Name ………………………………………………................

Dates for your Diary North West Wednesday 14 October 2009 - Design for Life Golf Day Royal Liverpool Golf Club Sunday 25 October 2009 Remoska Cookery Demonstration – Lady Grenfell Baines Stunning winter hanging baskets – Jane Coultherd 2.30 pm at Stanley Grange Thursday 3 December 2009 - Ladies Lunch at Stanley House Sunday 6 December 2009 - Christmas Craft Fair 1.00 pm at Stanley Grange Monday 10 May 2010 - Design for Life GALA CONCERT Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Carl Davis CBE (Hons) King George’s Hall, Blackburn For further details call Joan McLarnon 01254 852878 North East Saturday 5 December 2009 - Christmas Fair 10.00 am to 2.00 pm at North Road, Ponteland East Midlands Saturday 14 November 2009 - Christmas Fair Melton Road, Shangton South West Friday 20 November 2009 - Gift and Craft Fayre on site at East Anstey 7.00 – 9.30pm £5 entry to include Drink and Canapes + free entry on Saturday Saturday 21 November 2009 - Gift and Craft Fayre on site at East Anstey 10.00am – 4.00pm £2 entry Refreshments available to purchase South Central Saturday 28 November 2009 - Christmas Bazaar Marsh Hall, Furlong Close, Rowde in the afternoon South Coast Wednesday 28 October 2009 - ‘It’s A Knockout’ For more details, call 01243 542714 Monday 14 December 2009 - Christmas Festival For more details, call 01243 542714 South East Saturday 21 November 2009 Christmas Fair 11.00 – 3.00pm at Phillippines Close, Edenbridge

Date……………………../……………………............../2009 Self Unlimited will never make your personal details available to outside organisations. If you do not wish to receive further mailings from Self Unlimited, please tick this box

PLEASE RETURN TO: Fundraising at Self Unlimited 1 Phillippines Close Hever Road Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5GN

The Link is produced by Self Unlimited’s Communications Department 1 Phillippines Close, Hever Road, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5GN Editor: Ann Spencer The Link is published twice a year. To help us improve our communications, we would be very grateful to receive any comments or suggestions regarding its content. Please telephone 01732 782711 or email the editor: ann.spencer@selfunlimited.co.uk. Self Unlimited is a national charity that aims to maximise choice and opportunities for people with learning disabilities. www.selfunlimited.co.uk Self Unlimited is the operating name of Cottage and Rural Enterprises, a company limited by guarantee. Registered Charity No 250058


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