Thirty years supporting people who have suffered a stroke and their families

Anne Adams, Dudley CVS Trustee, has been supporting people who have suffered a stroke and their families for more than thirty years and is now up for an award for her lifelong dedication to helping others.

After forming Dudley Stroke Association in 1987, Anne still devotes many hours of her time to the organisation, supporting people who have been affected by strokes throughout their journey to better health.

Through the organisation, Anne also coordinates evening events, coffee mornings, day trips and lunch clubs for people who have been through a stroke. Anne said:

“Our motto ever since we started in 1987 is ‘there is life after stroke’ because people who have been through it feel so isolated and alone before they realise support is out there.”

In 1977, Anne worked as a speech therapist with people affected by stroke. In those early days, Anne was convinced more could be done to help both the person suffering a stroke and their loved ones. In 1982, Anne formed the Dudley Stroke Club to provide opportunities to share experiences and organise social events. But specific information about how to help people post-stroke was very limited.

In 1987, a stroke victim, Jeanne Hignett, encouraged Anne to create Dudley Stroke Association.

Between 1987 and 2007 Anne wore two hats, by day a professional speech therapist and at other times a volunteer champion of the work of Dudley Stroke Association and people affected by stroke.

Anne retired from paid work in 2007, but continued to give her time volunteering with the Dudley Stroke Association.

About her 25 years as a Dudley CVS Board Member, Anne said, “Dudley Stroke Association is indebted to Dudley CVS for the help and support we have received over many years, particularly when we were applying for Charity status. Dudley Stroke association would not be where it is today without Dudley CVS. I feel privileged to be a Board Member.”

Today, Anne has been nominated for volunteer of the year at the Great Big Thank You Awards.

Anne said: “If I won the Volunteer of the Year Award, it would really be for everyone who has helped make the group what it is today. It would be for all the people who have worked so hard to overcome their obstacles. For all those people who have tried so hard to get their lives back on track after going through such a difficult time.”

Each day, until November 18th special vote tokens will be published in the Express & Star to collect. For more information on how to vote for Anne visit: http://www.starthankyou.expressandstar.co.uk/

Stourbridge hairdresser championed as a safe place for parents to bring their children with special educational needs

We recently caught up with Anthony Cokeley, Interim PSIAMS manager at Dudley CVS, to talk about exciting developments of a new online resource for children with special educational needs (SEN).

Care & Share, developed by PSIAMS systems, is an online community website and platform that supports children with SEN and their families. The website houses useful information and resources whilst behind the scenes lies a bespoke system which allows families, carers and professionals to document, track and celebrate the progress of the child.

One of the great things about the website, due to officially launch this month, is how the featured information has helped people with additional needs to connect to local businesses recognised as safe places in the community.

Labichi’s, a local hairdressers in Stourbridge, has recently featured on the Care & Share website as a safe place for parents to bring their children with SEN for a comfortable haircut experience.

Manager, Ben Searley and his colleagues at Labichi’s gent’s hairdressing, situated in Market Street Stourbridge, have a ‘no rush’ attitude and do their very best to make all children and parents feel welcomed into their shop. The team recognise the importance of listening to parents to understand their child’s exact needs before beginning a haircut, Ben said

 “We understand that having a haircut can be an unpleasant experience for kids, and even more so for those with special needs. We have a wide range of kids that come in for a trim and we try to make the experience as smooth as possible. Some of the children may suffer from very short attention spans or sensitivity to the skin, which makes having a haircut very uncomfortable, or perhaps they are in a wheelchair. For those children, we want to make especially sure they feel right at home and assure them that they don’t have to worry about having their haircut. We love seeing all the kids that visit our shop and love to make sure that no matter what their disability they leave the shop feeling great without compromising on the quality of the haircut.”

Labichi’s has now been officially recognised as a safe place in the community and proudly displays a ‘Safe Place’ sticker in the shop window.

The Safe Place scheme has been developed by Dudley Voices for Choice and the sticker has become a recognisable symbol in Dudley borough to show that a place is safe for vulnerable people in the community. It means that people can expect a friendly welcome inside and people ready to assist if needed.

The shop is also now officially part of the Autism barbers assemble.

Rhys is 5 years old, he has Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, developmental delay and other additional needs. Rhys is now a regular at Labichi’s Barber and now enjoys having his haircut, but this wasn’t always the case.

Anthony, who is Rhys’s father said,

“When we first came to Labichi’s we were worried about the waiting, let alone the haircut itself. Rhys can be very impatient and very noisy if he is getting restless. Every time we went somewhere I always felt like people were constantly watching and secretly wishing we would just be quiet. The staff immediately made us feel at ease and welcomed us regardless of how much noise Rhys was making. They always make an effort to engage with him. When Rhys first sat in the chair, my concerns were that because he has a Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt in his head, and he can be quite sensitive to it and this was going to make his experience even more unpleasant, but after I explained it to the barber he took extra care with him. Rhys was also sensitive to the noise of the clippers and found it really scary. He has now got used to this and is quite happy to sit the chair.”

Ben and his team at Labichi’s are always trying to find new and inventive ways to adapt to a child’s specific needs, recently inventing an imaginary ‘fidget button’, a fun way for a child to get any fidgeting out of their system before or during a haircut, by pressing the button for a 5 minute time-out.

Mason is also 5 years old, he has a rare genetic disorder, is partially sighted with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, and Sensory Prepossessing Disorder (SPD). Mason’s mother, Charis Taylor, describes their first visit to the barber shop:

“After years of unsuccessful and traumatic experiences for us trying to get Mason’s haircut, going through the kicking, screaming and taking two of us to hold him down for a haircut, we were at the end of our tether. Labichis barbers was recommended to us, so very reluctantly, we decided to try it. We didn’t expect him to even sit in the chair, to be honest, and wasn’t very hopeful. He watched his friend have his haircut first which helped him to get his head around it, and eventually Mason sat in the chair! Yes he fidgeted, he moaned slightly and was very nervous, but he just sat and watched a cartoon on my phone the whole time while the barber worked around him patiently. The barber was very calm, didn’t force him to look up, just worked around him, explaining each step to him before cutting, and more importantly, he didn’t rush. The end results were a fantastic haircut, very proud little boy, and an exceptionally happy mummy.”

Ben and his team at Labichi’s are now looking to spread the word to parents, local autism support groups and special schools in the community to let them know that there is a safe place to bring children with additional needs. On occasion, the staff at Labichis will make out of hours appointments for parents that don’t feel comfortable to come for the first time during normal opening hours.

If you would like to get in touch with the team at Labichi’s, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Labichibarbers/

If you would like to find out more about the Care & Share project contact Anthony Cokeley at anthony@psiams.com

Nurturing caring, vibrant and caring communities – A snapshot of our story over the last year

We are really pleased to share the work that our Dudley CVS team have been doing over the past year in our most recent annual review. The 2016-17 review is a snapshot of the work we’ve done between April 2016 and March 2017 to support individuals, communities and organisations across Dudley borough.

Take a look at our annual review website and read about how we’ve been connecting and inspiring people and organisations to achieve positive change and championing their work.

Visit www.dudleycvsreview.org

Or, if you would like to read a short snapshot of our story, you can download our pdf version by clicking on the image below:

I hope you enjoy learning about the work we’ve been doing over the past year. If you’ve any feedback please feel free to leave a comment!

Be part of our collective story and share how you’ve been involved in our work or how you would like to get more involved! #dcvstory

Meet our new starters!

We are pleased to introduce our new members of staff to Dudley CVS, Sarah working with Healthwatch Dudley, Keeley and Abdullah with Integrated Plus and, Luke and Donna with the newly formed Children, Young People, Families and Communities team.

This week we met Keeley, Sarah and Luke:

Meet Keeley Waldron, Locality Link Development Officer for Integrated Plus

“My name is Keeley Waldron and I’m the new Locality Link Development Officer for Integrated Plus. I will be working in Kingswinford, Amblecote and Brierley Hill. The part of my role that I’m most looking forward to is being able to help people learn more about the support and options that are available to them in their local communities. I’m also looking forward to being able to work closely with other professionals to make sure that we’re seeing people as a whole, not just focusing on their medical needs.

I previously worked at Alzheimer’s Society. In my time there I worked as a Dementia Support Worker and a Dementia Friends Regional Officer. I’m hopeful that my knowledge of dementia and experience of supporting carer’s will prove useful in my new role. I’ve also been able to form good links with a number of voluntary organisations who I will be able to continue to refer into. It will be great now to be able to support people with a wide range of different challenges. I’m sure that I have a lot to learn but I’m raring to go and looking forward to it!

Since starting back in April this year I am now addicted to running (very slowly I must add) but I love taking part in various races and collecting the bling at the end. I have a six year old son called Ethan, who despite being too laid back does keep me busy. When I find the time I like to relax by watching TV, Game of Thrones is a firm favourite followed closely by (I need to be honest) Eastenders!”

Contact Keeley: keeley@dudleycvs.org.uk 

Meet Sarah Hill, Support Officer for Healthwatch Dudley

“Following an illness in 2015/2016, I wanted to get back into ‘the swing’ of working. So, I thought volunteering would be a good way of getting my confidence back and use to a working environment again.

I started volunteering at Dudley CVS in January 2016 assisting with admin/front of house duties and I also got involved with ‘Tea and Chat’ at Russell’s Hall Hospital.

Whilst volunteering at Dudley CVS, it was suggested that I approach White House Cancer Support in Dudley about volunteering with them, which I did and started there in April 2016 helping the Information and Support Officer at the time.

In July 2016, I gained full-time employment with White House Cancer Support as their Information and Support Officer, until May 2017 when I decided to leave. In August 2017, I joined the Healthwatch Dudley team as their Support Officer on a part-time basis.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and socialising with my friends. I enjoy meeting people, I am outgoing, chatty and helpful.

I am a fan of Rugby and like to watch matches at Worcester Warriors and I also enjoy swimming and jogging. I love days out that usually involve a walk, picnic or pub lunch and a visit to a National Trust, where I get inspiration from to help transform our garden at home.”

Contact Sarah: sarah@healthwatchdudley.co.uk

Meet Luke Hamblett, Youth and Community Work Development Officer working with the newly formed Children, Young People, Families and Communities team

“Hi, I’m Luke, I’m 21 and I’m the new Youth and Community Work Development Officer at Dudley CVS. My role entails helping to support and establish open access youth work across the borough, as well as finding out and connecting with the already established voluntary youth work organisations that we have here across Dudley. I’m really excited to be joining the team here and look forward to working with all of the organisations and volunteers across all sectors that work with children and young people.

My background is in voluntary youth work where I worked for a local church for a number of years, whilst studying a degree in Youth Work. I have several years of experience in running and helping with youth clubs as well as small groups and one to one youth work activities.

I enjoy working with young people and am really passionate about seeing them achieve their goals and meet their full potential. It is really important for me to create authentic relationships with young people and build very honest and open relationships. Building trust whilst maintaining professional and personal boundaries has been key for my work with young people and I place a lot of importance on that principle.

In my spare time I enjoy film and media and I have experience in the graphic design and television industries where I designed for and worked alongside a local television station during my time at college. I think that by transferring those experiences to my youth work I have developed a unique view point on how marketing and visual communications can play a key part in the voluntary youth work sector.”

Contact Luke: Luke@dudleycvs.org.uk

 

 

Dudley CVS Trustee, Mary Turner, appointed Governor with The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

Mary-Turner picLast week I had the pleasure of meeting with long standing Dudley CVS trustee, Mary Turner, to talk about her new role as an appointed Governor supporting the continued development of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.

Appointed in February this year, Mary will provide a vital link between the Trust and the community, representing and reflecting the interests of local people to improve health services and patient experience for the future.

What will this mean for local people?

“We have greater freedom from central government control in the way we develop and deliver healthcare services. It means that the Trust can deliver services that meet the needs and priorities of the local population and ensure they are providing services local people want, in the way they wish to have them delivered.” Mary then told me quite simply, “It’s about giving local people a voice.”

I asked Mary to tell me more about what the role will entail.

“Part of my role will include gathering views from local people and groups to identify and gain an awareness of general health trends to feedback to the Trust. It will involve working closely with Healthwatch Dudley and Dudley CVS’s Carer Co-ordinator to build up knowledge of what’s happening in the community.”

Mary’s working life started in the nursing profession but the majority of her professional career has been in social work and community development. After realising that her real passion was to work with families rather than in hospitals, Mary worked for many years for children’s charity, Barnardos. During her time here, she seconded to complete social work training and went on to manage services for children and their families.

With a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over her long career in social work and community development, Mary will quite aptly sit on the Foundation Trusts ‘Experience and Engagement’ subgroup.

Although now officially retired, Mary still works in the borough in a voluntary capacity mainly with Home-Start Dudley, (an organisation supporting families with young children) which she has supported for over 20 years, also, Dudley’s adoption panel as well as being a school governor and working within Dudley CVS.

This all keeps Mary very busy, but like a super-hero, she still finds time for leisure activities and spending time with family, particularly her seven wonderful grandchildren! She tells me “No two days are the same!”

“I have lived, worked, volunteered, and raised four children in the Dudley Borough. I consider myself to have some knowledge and understanding of the needs and views of the people and their communities.”

After listening to Mary’s story I can see why she is the perfect person to represent Dudley CVS and local people as an appointed Governor with the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

If you would like more information on how to get in touch with Mary about general health trends that are affecting your community, contact Dudley CVS admin@dudleycvs.org.uk

A Fantastic Family Fun Day for all! @DudleyMBC @DudleyMayor @2ndcityradio @PCPaul999 @DY1venue

Volunteering Counts in Dudley borough

A fun day for all the family was held on Saturday to celebrate Volunteers and Carers Week, and the launch of the Dudley Volunteer Awards 2017.

The Family Fun Day, organised by Dudley CVS, welcomed a steady stream of people throughout the day, taking part in activities including arts, crafts and sports. We’ve put together a gallery of fab photos from the day, so please click here to visit the gallery.

Families arrived in the glorious warm weather to enjoy a fun filled day at the DY1 venue in Dudley, with music from Second City Radio, refreshments, a bouncy castle, a marketplace of local groups and emergency response services, and a visit from the new Mayor of Dudley.

Eileen Fielding, the organiser, said: “It was great to see so many local families enjoying activities and meeting groups and emergency services who give their time to support local communities. Groups were…

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My first weeks at Dudley CVS

It’s been an action packed start!

I’ve hugely enjoyed my first few weeks as Communication Officer at Dudley CVS, there are so many exciting and innovative projects happening in the Dudley borough.

To introduce myself, my name is Helena and I thought with this first blog it might be interesting to pull out some particularly exciting moments from my first few weeks..

Connections

In my first week I was invited to ‘Mass Connect’ an event organised by Andy Mullaney, Dudley’s first Business Connector. The concept was created to encourage connections and collaboration between the Public, Private and Third sectors.

Andy used an effective method to connect people at the event by introducing each person with a short summary of their company, enterprise, charity or group, providing an opportunity for people to note down key connections for collaboration.

This was followed by a productive networking session, a great opportunity to mingle and find new people to connect with. The room was buzzing with exciting conversations.

The event really opened my eyes to the importance of partnerships and connections.

Volunteers

On my second week I visited Age UK Daybreak Centre where I met long serving volunteer Judy, and youngest, Bailey, a Doberman puppy, both nominated for a volunteer award.

It was great to meet someone who had devoted so many years to volunteer to help other people, and also, as a mad animal lover, it was very nice to meet Bailey.. who interestingly seemed to take a particular shine to me… until he smelt lunch.

Visiting the centre reminded me of the importance of volunteers and providing safe social spaces in order to tackle the health and wellbeing issues older people face. It was also interesting to learn more about the therapeutic influence of animals.

This led me on quite nicely to the Dudley CVS Volunteer Awards, which was a very special evening.

Red carpet, gold statues, decorated tables… I thought I had accidentally walked into the Oscars! The effort that went in to the make the evening special was very evident.

There are some truly inspirational and generous people who devote their time to volunteer in the Dudley borough and I’m pleased that I started just in time to see them all collect their awards.

Communities

Another great brainstorming event I recently attended was the East Coseley Big Local Forum. The ideas were flowing and there was a real sense of community spirit and passion to make a positive difference to the Coseley area.

Inspirational special guests were invited to give talks about their current projects in the area identifying possible collaborations in the room. Similar to ‘Mass Connect’, the main message that seemed to crop up was the importance of working in partnership and that anything can happen if we all work together.

Innovation and communications

The most important thing that I have learnt over my first weeks at Dudley CVS is that if you have a good idea, a space and the right connections, anything is possible.

I’m looking forward to supporting these great ideas and stories in my communications role and working with colleagues to make the best use of design and technology.

And remember you can always contact me at comms@dudleycvs.org.uk