BILD Confrence

Three Girls from Suffolk go to co-facilitate at a British Institute of Learning Disability (bild) Conference in Bristol 3rd October 2014

From left to right: Debbie Charles Community Safety Co-ordinator – Manager of Suffolk Hate Crime Service, Lynn Cross, Consultant for Lapwing, Ria Towill, Director and Tutor for Phoenix Rising
From left to right: Debbie Charles Community Safety Co-ordinator – Manager of Suffolk Hate Crime Service, Lynn Cross, Consultant for Lapwing, Ria Towill, Director and Tutor for Phoenix Rising

“BILD is the British Institute of Learning Disabilities. We want people with learning disabilities to be valued equally, participate fully in their communities and be treated with dignity and respect.”

www.bild.org.uk

Debbie Charles spoke about Mate Crime and how this can affect individuals, where you can go for support and the importance of reporting Mate Crime.  Debbie highlighted how this can affect the way people see the imbalance of a one way friendship and, through good support, education and better understanding of how mate crime can affect you, vulnerable individuals can be empowered to control their friendships and have a better understanding of how the law can protect them.

Lynn Cross spoke about the importance of understanding the different relationships we have in our lives, from professionals, friends, family and Adult Relationships, highlighting where the differences are, the depth and many steps it takes to have a trusting relationship.

Ria Towill spoke about the importance of understanding yourself and communicating to others your needs wants and desires and practicing safe sex, opening the question if you don’t understand yourself how you can expect others to understand you.

An element of the workshop was to empower people to look at their own safety and part of this was to enable people, many for the first time, to look at and hold different types of male and female condoms. This was well received and a very upbeat workshop, one conference attendee said “I am not comfortable describing words about sex”, but later felt comfortable putting a condom on a teaching aid.  “I have never been allowed to do this before, I loved it and I did not know there were so many different coloured condoms.” Hearing this made it worthwhile travelling from Suffolk to Bristol.

The conference for me was full of remarkable individuals who shared their positive stories about having relationships and getting married. But sadly for some in society, their lives can be made difficult  because they have fallen in love and want a relationship, and how we as a society can put up so many barriers saying that people with learning disabilities do not have the capacity to fall in love.

With positive support and enabling people to communicate their feelings, taking the time to understand individuals (only 7% of what we communicate is verbal) develops an holistic approach in the way we teach and support individuals to accomplish their aspirations.

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton
This conference raised awareness of the barriers people, surprisingly in 2014, still face in their everyday lives, encouragingly many individuals and their partners have safe, mutual respect and loving relationships.

Reflecting the conference whilst at Liverpool street station at 10pm and eating a pasty and drinking coffee, is this not an aspiration for all of us?

This is my reflective thoughts of a positive and uplifting conference I would like to share with you.

Ria

 

National Hate Crime Awareness Week

Working in partnership with Deborah Charles, Community Safety Co ordinator – County lead for ASB & Hate Crime Service and Kate Evans, Manager Leading Lives and Info-Bar and Realise Futures.

Monday 13th October the vigil candle starts its journey at IO Radio, Ipswich where Kate, Ria and Debbie are interviewed by Ben on the importance of Hate and Mate Crime, how it effects people and the significance of education and independent support working in partnership to empower people to find their voices, to be respected and respect themselves.

The next time Phoenix Rising meets up with the vigil candle is on Wednesday 15th October where Ria and Kate talk to students, customers and staff about what is Hate Crime and what is Mate Crime. By reading out different scenarios they had to decide for themselves if this was Hate/ Mate Crime or something that is acceptable within an equal friendship, ensuring that they have confidence and can make informed choices even though they are perceived to be vulnerable.

phoenix rising meets

Phoenix Rising as part of their Citizenship course are looking at what makes a good Citizen and what are your rights and responsibilities.  They launched an election for The Hand of Friendship, which will give a peer to peer contact and support  to discuss any Hate/Mate Crime issues. This is run as a fair and democratic election, with candidates being nominated through speeches, individual campaigning and actions, leading to a secret ballot.

The students/Customers at the Info-Bar fully endorsed the Hate and Mate Crime campaign and the Hand of  Friendship as many had been affected by these issues and they felt this was a way of taking control and ownership of their own lives and moving things forward by leading by example.

PC John Firth, has committed himself to support the Info-bar in this campaign, and with students and customers came along when they met with MacDonald’s who have endorsed and joined the Stay Safe Scheme which will ensure vulnerable people have safe havens to go when out and about in town if they feel victimised.

Friday 17th October began for Ria and Deborah with an early morning live Radio interview with BBC Suffolk with Etholle George

The vigil candle arrives at BBC Suffolk at 7.20am.

Talking about the importance of education and partnership working and community as a whole being aware and reporting Hate/Mate Crime, and if you are victim knowing that there is support for you.

On Friday evening The vigil candle is finally  lit at The Mix, Stowmarket and reflections and thoughts for all victims.   Also present at the Vigil was Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington.  Ria and Kate had the opportunity to explain the Hand of Friendship to him.

Kate presents Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington with his Hand of Friendship badge which he wore with pride
Kate presents Assistant Chief Constable David Skevington with his Hand of Friendship badge which he wore with pride

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Ria holds out her hand of friendship.
Ria holds out her hand of friendship.

Celebration Day and Partnership Working

Celebration Day and Partnership Working

It is with great joy and fond memories that we write this News Letter, wow what a day the students, their families and friends had and so did we.

Seeing what education can do for self esteem, empowerment and confidence, when you give marginalised people opportunities to take ownership of their future and acknowledging their achievements. This was the first time for many of our students that their skills and qualities have been recognised, the legacy of this celebration open day will have a much wider positive impact not only on the students but also the wider community.

The superheroes from the Info Bar in Bury St Edmunds, organised a fundraising day to showcase their heroic achievements in lifelong learning through education.

Phoenix Rising working in partnership with Realise Futures, Leading Lives, Terrance Higgins Trust, Suffolk constabulary and Suffolk Hate Crime Service  offer a variety of courses such as, Relationships and the Impact on You and Others, Internet Safety, Personal Life Skills, Citizenship and Access to Work.

These courses have helped to empower the students through a personal journey to find a voice within their community.

On Thursday 11th September 2014, we had a ‘day of celebration’, which  included:

  • Stalls
  • Food
  • Music/entertainment
  • Graduation ceremony
  • “Fun times” and stuff !!!

All the students had a graduation ceremony and were presented certificates by the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds, Robert Everitt and the Lady Mayoress, Diane Everitt

Graduation Ceremony

“It was an honour to be able to hand out the certificates, what a pleasure it was to see so many happy faces as they realised that all their hard work had been recognised, and finally they had something to show for it, as you said on the day, Education is the window to life, no matter what the subject is, it’s learning something new that makes you a better person.”

Mayor Bury St Edmunds

 

Working together has its dark side!!! Revenge is sweet!

The students get their own back on their tutor, Ria, who has made them work hard for the past twelve months, by nominating and paying for her to do the Ice Bucket challenge,
The students get their own back on their tutor, Ria, who has made them work hard for the past twelve months, by nominating and paying for her to do the Ice Bucket challenge,
PC, John. Bury-St-Edmunds local police officer also has his just desserts
PC, John. Bury-St-Edmunds local police officer also has his just desserts
Kate, Leading lives Manager of the info-Bar, has her faecal and hair wash by her clients
Kate, Leading lives Manager of the info-Bar, has her faecal and hair wash by her clients

 

Feedback from students and family, “it was an awesome day I was very proud of my daughter, when does the next course start I’m going to save up more money to get Kate and Ria back next year”

“Who thought education could be such fun”

Education is fun

Show casing and selling students work
Show casing and selling students work

We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Celebration Day.

Adrian Figg

Director & Tutor

During his care career Adrian has worked for many organisations in a number of roles including being Registered with OFSTED and CQC. A number of his roles have had him setting up care homes, running teams of core support staff and supporting young adult’s transitions. Adrian’s qualifications include Protection of Vulnerable Adults, Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberties, Autism Awareness, NVQ’s in social care and management and holds a diploma in the fundamentals of business management. Alongside his own qualifications, Adrian has also developed and delivered training and bespoke educational courses for individuals with Autism and learning disabilities, person centred support, management and is a qualified tutor. Alongside Ria, Adrian is also currently studying for his TEFL Masters.

 

Adrian has worked in the care sector since 1995, before which he was working full time as a qualified chef. His change of career was motivated by the birth of his son, who has Autism and Learning Disabilities, which fundamentally changed his perspective on life. Adrian’s favourite quotes demonstrate his down to earth nature, this ensures that his students have the ability to further develop and understand choices that they make within their everyday lives. “Let’s use old school technology, a pen and paper is always good” “whoever has the pen, has the power!” Adrian’s caring outlook translates through to his work within Phoenix Rising, and can be shown by feedback from previous students who value the support that he has provided them with. Adrian ensures that within all of the Phoenix Rising courses, communications are accessible to all users. “Adrian is so kind and supportive, he always finds the time to support me” Adrian also ensures that students are able to speak about any issues they may have with him. This has guaranteed that students are able to feel comfortable, within all training that Phoenix Rising deliver. “Nothing is ever too small for Adrian to stop and listen to, I am able to go to him whenever I feel I am having difficulties”

Ria Towill

Director & Tutor

Ria has worked for a number of organisations since she joined the care sector, and has held numerous positions such as support worker, communication officer, team leader, felicitator and advocate for individuals in order to empower them to move to lifelong learning. Ria has achieved NVQ in social care and management; specialising in using communication, British Sign Language, Dual Sensory Loss, Autism Awareness, Mentoring and Equality, WRAP trained, and is a qualified tutor. Ria is qualified to deliver Art and Design, Silver and Bronze Art Award from Trinity College London as well as Safe Guarding. Alongside her work, Ria is presently studying to obtain her TEFL Masters. Ria has worked in the care sector since 2005, before which she ran a design business. Her change of career was destined after she suffered a major accident in 2002, and she was left with paraplegia. After a long convalescence period, great determination and courage she was able to walk and function normally again (But what is normal!).

 

Ria’s favourite quotes demonstrate her distinctive character and the understanding she has of her students, Ria ensure that they are not deterred by new challenges that they face during their day to day lives. “The world doesn’t stop spinning just because you try something new” “This is really good if you’d like to be average, but if you’d like to be the best version of yourself, more time and dedication is needed” “Self-learning about oneself is a journey that we’re all on.” Whilst under Ria’s support and scaffolding, many of her students have demonstrated the ability to make independent and informed choices, whilst understanding the consequences of their actions both positively and negatively. This is at the forefront of the courses that Phoenix Rising deliver, and can be displayed by the feedback that their students have provided. “With Ria’s support, I can now be more independent and make independent choices. Ria always makes me take ownership of all our decision making.” Whilst delivering Phoenix Rising courses, Ria also ensures that her students feel supported in other areas of their lives. This has guaranteed that the work that Phoenix Rising delivers is carried on within their everyday lives. “Ria is really positive around all of my achievements, both small and large milestones. The only downside about Ria is that she makes me work hard to achieve.”

Phoenix Rising and students as part of the Citizenship Course spend the afternoon with the Mayor at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds.

Phoenix Rising and students as part of the Citizenship Course spend the afternoon with the Mayor at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds.

The Students were giving a guided tour around the council offices by the Mayor who explained different parts of the building and how they worked. The students found the emergency room most interesting and as one of the Students put it, “Bury St Edmunds has its own Cobra unit” which deals with emergency situations from floods to power cuts across St Edmundsbury, and how they use Google Maps to locate and direct personal.

The Mayor explained how the local taxes are being spent and how savings are made by the councils sharing the same building and this made meetings easer across departments such a s planning and the effect it would have on local communities.

The Mayor also spoke about how green the foot print of the building was including using ground water at 11C which saves heating costs as well as having solar panels on the roof which some students had the opportunity to see.

Following the tour around the building the students had refreshments in the Mayors parlour and given the rare opportunity to see the ceremonial sword and maze and had the opportunity to ask the Mayor questions about how he became Mayor, what his duties are, what councillors do and how elections run as well as the importance of having a voice in the community.

The Students felt that the Mayor had answered all their questions honestly and in depth making this feel like a BBC Question Time programme

When the Mayor explained the historical value of the position of Mayor in Bury and the history of the office chains and explaining that the body guard with him at all times when wearing the chain of office had to protect the chain first and not the Mayor himself, which amazed the students

As the Mayor this year supported the first ever Phoenix Rising and Leading Lives Graduation ceremony, he was presented with a piece of bespoke art work created by one of the students, this is now displayed in the Mayoral chamber cabinet along side many other important artefacts and the Mayor stated that this meant a lot to him which pleased the students.
As the Mayor this year supported the first ever Phoenix Rising and Leading Lives Graduation ceremony, he was presented with a piece of bespoke art work created by one of the students, this is now displayed in the Mayoral chamber cabinet along side many other important artefacts and the Mayor stated that this meant a lot to him which pleased the students.

 

The students had a group photo with the Mayor in the council chambers were decisions are debated and made. The students thoroughly enjoyed this experience and having the opportunity to see how the importance of voting and how the council works.
The students had a group photo with the Mayor in the council chambers were decisions are debated and made. The students thoroughly enjoyed this experience and having the opportunity to see how the importance of voting and how the council works.