I’ve decided to do a regular blog to let people know what’s going on in Iris Care Group. I will also comment from time to time on wider issues in our sector. I will also use it as an opportunity to celebrate the work of the great staff and the achievements of the people we support.
I would like to start by saying a big congratulations to James, who is one of the individuals we support in our Supported Living Services. James won Highly Commended for the People’s Award at this month’s Learning Disability and Autism Awards for the fantastic volunteer work he does in our central support office.
In my experience, people enjoy working for good care organisations because they feel a sense of purpose, helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society to live fulfilling lives, and also because they have fun. We are looking to hold regular events in Iris Care Group which will be aimed at both creating a strong culture for the organisation and enabling people we support and our staff to have fun. I am delighted that we held an Independence Day event in Gloucester on the 8th July.
We are also getting on with the nitty gritty of integrating Holmleigh Care and Ludlow Street Healthcare which involves things like bringing together two sets of policies and procedures and creating new supervision and appraisal templates. We are also going to be rolling out an electronic care planning system across Iris Care Group starting in September. A lot of the preparatory work has already been done. This should make it a lot easier for our staff to keep documentation up to date and also for us to monitor it.
A big congratulations to the team at Pirton Grange who received a very positive CQC report. The service was rated as “good”. A big congratulations as well to Wentwood Court who received an extremely positive report from CIW.
I would like to say something about meaningful activity. I think the most important thing we do is supporting people to participate in meaningful activity. Not only does it help people have a good quality of life, but it enhances their self-esteem and teaches them independence skills. I want to see people we support in paid or voluntary employment and playing an active part in the local community.
Leisure is great, but most of us don’t spend all our time on leisure activities and I don’t think people we support should either. Quite a lot of people with learning disabilities lead sedentary lives, can become overweight and sadly tend to die younger than non-disabled people. I’m really keen that we encourage people to get involved with sport. I’m always pleased to hear about people going out cycling or to the gym when I visit services. We should also use every opportunity to involve people in everyday household activities like cooking, cleaning, gardening and hanging out the washing. People we support should always be involved, irrespective of their level of disability.
We have two services called Cherry Tree, one in Bristol and one in Gloucester. I visited the one in Gloucester last week, which is a supported living service. One of the gentlemen who lives there showed me his kitchen which he helped to paint. He was incredibly proud of his achievement. The week before I visited Caerau Manor in Newport. One of the people we support there has been developing her ideas for her own future business making accessories for dogs like dog collars. I spoke to a lady who helps out at a local charity shop which she really enjoys. In my experience, charity shops are incredibly welcoming towards people with learning disabilities who want to volunteer.
I’ve had some anecdotal feedback on my first blog including someone saying that they agree with my comment about weeds and the importance of first impressions. I would like to encourage people to let me have feedback on the contents of my blogs. Please e-mail email@example.com. I would also love to hear about examples of good practice from across our organisation which I can share.