Martha Trust – Frances House

Martha Trust is 25 years old and is a Christian charity that supports people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. We have three homes: Martha House (Deal), Frances House (Deal) and Mary House (Hastings). We also provide a day service at Deal and respite services in both Deal and Hastings that support 10 families.

We did not start the training until July 2013 so are only really 7 months into the project however it has been so successful that we have commissioned ARC to deliver training across the whole organisation as we believe Active Support has revolutionised the way we support people. In addition to this we are commissioning the Tizzard centre to work with our Senior Management Team to look at the strategic direction of the organisation based on the implementation of Active Support and we are sending a member of staff on a Train Trainer course so that all new employees will be inducted properly into our way of working based on the Active Support principles.

I believe that the difference we conduct our business now has allowed our reputation to grow with external professionals who visit our service and has lead to all our vacancies being filled

When I first joined Martha Trust I knew that we provided safe and good care but also that it was out of date and didn’t capitalise on all the opportunities for the people we support to have adequate independence and involvement. Active Support, whilst so simple, has allowed us to achieve this and I believe that the difference in the way we conduct our business now has allowed our reputation to grow with external professionals who visit our service and has lead to all our vacancies being filled. I feel that we have a service we can now be proud of and can genuinely market it as person centred, rather than just pay lip service to the principles, we actually do it!

The people we support have been able to achieve goals that they were never thought capable of, not only is it rewarding to see the change in motivation of the individual but also the staff team and their relatives.

People who were sceptical at the start of the project have seen the proof of the positives and have embraced the changes and celebrated the achievements together. I believe that it has brought the staff team together and made them think more about the support each individual needs to facilitate their engagement in their own lives.

I feel that we still have a way to go but the principles are now embedded in the way that we approach our work, staff arrive on shift with more enthusiasm because they know their day will be more rewarding rather than just be task orientated. There will be joy when an individual can brush their teeth and understanding when an individual refuses to wash up their bottles, it is part of the richness of the shift that was lost in the old way of working. Our weakness remains the paperwork required to evidence the achievements and the fact that we haven’t yet had training across the whole organisation so different services are providing different levels of support.

Glenda Roberts

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