ARC England is very proud to update you all on this year’s successful David Wandless Bursary winners: Parenting Additional Needs, Halas Homes and Positive Support For You CIC.

Once again this year, a £5,000 pot of funding was made available to all ARC England members, courtesy of Real Life Options, named the David Wandless Training Bursary, after Real Life Options founder.

Parenting Additional Needs (PAN) was set up in 2011 to listen, support and empower parents and carers of children with additional needs throughout Derbyshire. Parenting Additional Needs meet during term time and hold family activities during the holidays.  They have guest speakers and offer support in a confidential and friendly environment where family and carers can speak to others who understand what life with a special needs child is all about.

PAN were successful in their application for the David Wandless Training Bursary earlier in the year. Their idea is to put 3 members of the team through a Level 3 Award in ‘Working with Parents’. The Group Leaders are parents of disabled children themselves and work for PAN as volunteers. Also their founder Emily Brailsford will be completing the Level 3 Award in ‘Assessing Competence’ so that she can support some of the group attendees to work towards qualifications themselves.

Emily Brailsford, Co-Chair and Founder of PAN said:
Thank you to RLO, this training bursary is going to make a huge difference to the confidence levels of our team and will formalise our existing knowledge and experience. It will enable us to support even more parents and carers and to give quality advice on living with and understanding their children, who have special needs and disabilities.” The academic qualifications will also help the group to move in to the Social Care workforce once their own children have grown up and continue to use their talents within the sector.

Halas Homes Halas Homes picture

Halas Homes is based in the West Midlands and specialises in four distinct areas of expertise ranging from Respite Care, Residential Care, Day Activities (The Meeting Place) and Supported Living. Halas Homes were also successful in their application for the David Wandless Training Bursary this year, with their fantastic idea of introducing poetry, prose and songs to some of the people they support – their project is called ‘Black Country speaking through poetry and prose’. 

These sessions are now up and running with two professional Black Country writers / performers / local historians joining Halas to facilitate and develop skills which provide staff with the tools to be used for allowing creative discussion, triggering memories and thoughts amongst people who use Halas services. The plan is for the group to perform their own piece of poetry or prose in front of an audience, at a few different community-based venues around Halesowen and the surrounding area. This is a life enhancing experience, particularly for those with dementia. ARC England Director, Lisa Lenton, visited the project recently – “What a wonderful project! I had the opportunity to watch the group in action and it was amazing. People who usually lack confidence or voice were stood in front of us all reminiscing about day’s gone by. It actually got me thinking too about my childhood and younger days – powerful stuff. What a great vibe from the staff and people being supported”.

Alison Sayer, CEO of Halas Homes told us it has been a fantastic project that has struck a real chord with the group; confidence is growing as is discussion around the dinner table between the people they support. Support staff have also learned so much more about the individuals they have known for years.

david-wandless-version-2-captionedPositive Support for You C.I.C.

Positive Support for You (was Positive Support in Tees) C.I.C is a not for profit social enterprise which began trading in 2011. The organisation has a passionate belief that with effective high quality care and support, people with learning disabilities or autistic spectrum conditions and very complex histories or presentations can be enabled to live in their own home in the community, and have great lives.

This organisation successfully placed an application to the David Wandless Training Bursary to develop and deliver a sustainable and financially robust Individual Service Fund (ISF) model to the people that they support. This is achieved by bringing in an independent ISF specialist, Doreen Kelly (CEO, Beyond Limits) and Jill Barbour (Financial Director, Beyond Limits) to deliver initial training for Positive Support for You Team Managers and Operations Managers. Mentoring relationships with staff will continue for a period of 6 months, and with the purchase of new accounting tools to enable clear sharing of financial information with all stakeholders, four existing support services will be established on the new ISF arrangements, before finally rolling out across the organisation’s wider existing provision on an opt-in basis. The introduction of Individual Service Funds enables real decision making to be devolved to the people being supported, their family and support teams. This takes power away from a care management based and sometimes risk averse system, and encourages people to become involved (if they choose to) in financial decisions, making the service more responsive and person centred.