Gr8 News

Gr8 News

#Gr8 Support is… fighting someone’s corner in the workplace!

Success Story of how WorkAid @Aldingbourne Trust supported a client into work, fought for Job Retention and ultimately dealt with discrimination in the work place.

The team at WorkAid started supporting a woman, let’s call her Janet (not her real name!), in August 2017.  Janet is 52 years old and has a learning disability. She had recently moved to West Sussex.

Janet was keen to find a job near her new home, having previously worked for 2 large businesses in their canteens for over 23 years!!

After attending a Job Fayre in November 2017 Janet was offered an interview with a contractor for another large business.  She was supported at the interview by a WorkAid team member.  At the interview Janet mentioned she had learning disabilities and could not write or read.

Janet was offered the job and started working the following week. After 2 days she was told she was being ‘let go off’ as she only had a trial and they had no awareness of her difficulties regarding writing and reading when they took her on.

WorkAid team members helped Janet challenge this, as she was initially offered a job, not trial and had made them aware about her particular support needs.  WorkAid supported Janet to keep her job by liaising with her direct manager, area manager and HR Department. It took nearly 3 months of persistent liaison with the company until she was finally reinstated into her job.

Later in 2018 Janet contacted her WorkAid Employment Consultant to make her aware that her manager had unfairly treated her in her job.  The Employment Consultant immediately met with Janet to write down the details of her concerns.  Janet’s concerns complaint related to organisational, verbal and emotional abuse.  This led to a safeguarding concern being raised with the local authority.

The local authority and WorkAid took this matter seriously and several meetings were set up to raise the concerns whilst the company carried out an investigation.

It was in everyone’s interest to get a satisfactory outcome for all.

Janet was advised by WorkAid not to attend work until all was resolved, but thanks to WorkAid support this break from work was on full pay.

A mediation meeting was set up between Janet and her manager and facilitated the senior area manager and WorkAid.

Ultimately, Janet is still in work!  The company has learnt some valuable lessons around supporting employees with learning disabilities.

In conclusion, this case shows the power of #Gr8Support.  We must stand up with and for the people we support.  We must not give in when things get tough!

A special thanks goes to everyone who offered #Gr8Support in supporting Janet (remembers it’s not her real name!)


Petrae Edwards

(#Gr8SupportMovement Change Maker and Aldingbourne Trust team member.

James is ALWAYS achieving!

James is a young man with Asperger’s who has turned his hobby of being a mascot into a providing entertainment for children’s parties and assisting at charity events. At first when James expressed that he enjoyed wearing giant sized mascot themed character outfits, no one in the support team had a clue, but as time has gone on James has educated us all on the importance of this role.

At the children’s parties, James as the mascot is the central part of the entertainment, dancing, signing autographs and engaging everybody in laughter and fun. To date James has now been a mascot actively participating in football and rugby events, charity activities, local community festivals and sponsored walks.

Recently James has been involved in designing his own unique ‘Mango Soar, flavoured craft beer’, in partnership with Gypsy Hill brewery and Certitude as part of a campaign entitled ‘Hops Not Hate’. This campaigns objective is to highlight the serious matter of Hate Crime directed towards people with autism and disabilities and opening up discussion for the need for better social integration to avoid loneliness and isolation for individuals. On first meeting James and getting to know his character I informed him that one day he would be famous. Working in line with this objective the new craft beer being launched in major stores and supermarket this week has a picture of James on the front of the can and he is over the moon about his great personal achievement.

As a Certitude staff team we are very proud to be a part of James’s person centred support, witnessing his confidence, happiness and skills grow is for us all is the added bonus. #Gr8SupportMovement #Gr8Support #Gr8Supportis #Connecting #Community

Mark Wallis Certitude manager 29/8/18

Mental Capacity Amendment Bill consultation (Deadline 5th Sept)

Thanks to David Towell for bringing this to our attention!  Change and Lucy Series have created this really helpful document to ensure as many people as possible can have contribute to the proposed changes to the Mental Capacity Act.
Can you chat with individuals or organise a small group to learn, think and answer some of the questions posed in this document?
The deadline for the consultation is the 5th Sept. Still time….just about!!!

The Gr8 Support Movement at the House of Lords

David Towell, a friend of Paradigm and international inclusion worker, invited eight Gr8 Change Makers to be part of an afternoon workshop with his Centre for Inclusive Futures board and an evening reception with colleagues.

Here is a snapshot of some of the conversation.  So much more to share over the coming months!  Click below to see the presentation:

CIF and Gr8 Support May 10th 2018 .compressed copy

First LIVE Gr8 Get Together hosted at the Houses of Parliament

An invitation for Gr8 Support Change Makers!  Have a read, check your diary and let us know if you want to join us!   Info on 10 May Gr8 Get Together

Gr8 Support Webinar March 28th: Community Circles in Action!

Many Change Makers have talked about the desire to offer Gr8 Support and real opportunities for people supported to live good lives as part of their community. ‘To have a life…not a service.’

No one wants to be surrounded all the time by people paid to be in their lives. We also know that in reality support hours are being cut so dramatically that paid support to live a full live just isn’t available. So many people are isolated and lonely.

We hear how organisations struggle to find ways of connecting with community members in a way that supports them to develop meaningful, Gr8 relationships with the people supported. What is it that limits us? What are we scared of?

Well Community Circles, a relatively new network/organisation is working to break down the barriers and connect people to ensure more and more opportunities and friendships are created.

We are really glad that Cath Barton from Community Circles has agreed to join us for a Gr8 Support Movement Webinar.

A Community Circle brings two or more people together around someone who wants a little help to make a change in their life. That change can be anything – from getting out and about more, to starting a new hobby or restarting an old one, or creating opportunities to spend more time with friends or family.

Everyone then works towards making this change happen with the support of a volunteer Community Circles Facilitator. The Facilitator keeps meetings flowing, following a tried-and-tested, step-by-step process that ensures that conversations are focused and lead to actions.

So…how is this different to a Circle of Support? WELL….JOIN THE WEBINAR AND FIND OUT!

You can see more about Community Circles here:

Go on….join us! 1pm on Wednesday 28th March.  If you are a Gr8 Support Member just e-mail and we’ll send you a link to join.  You just need a computer connected to the internet or a phone to join by phone.

In Support of Loving

Many Gr8 Change Makers are aware of the Supported Loving Campaign and Network. The Choice Gr8 Change Makers have hosted a couple of Gr8 Supported Loving events. Thanks to a Change Maker at Three Cs we have this list of London London based dating agencies to share with you all.

Love and Relationships – Disability Friendly Dating Websites copy

Supported Loving the and Gr8 connection (Radio Interview)

Wonderful interview about supporting people to find Love with Claire Bates! Claire founded the Supported Loving Network and we at Paradigm are so pleased to be working with Claire and supporting it’s development.

Claire covers so many important issues and essentially focuses on the desire of all of us to belong and to be loved. Claire also celebrates the wonderful support workers across the country making great stuff happen!

Listen from about 11 mins. (ps… Claire manages to mention the Gr8 Support Movement!!)

Here is the link: Supported Loving Radio Interview

Scottish Commission for Learning Disability. Support Worker awards and more!

We’ve only just caught this in time BUT it’s not to late for our Change Makers in Scotland to nominate someone in this and other categories. You may of course, already have done this. Here is the link:…
It’s great to see such thought and action focused on celebrating young people with learning disabilities. You can see all the info here:…

Here is a snippet from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD):
‘2018 marks the ‘Year of Young People’ in Scotland, and the theme for Learning Disability Week reflects that. ‘My Generation’ will focus the country’s attention on the experiences of young people with learning disabilities in Scotland.
The ‘My Generation’ theme is also a great way for older people with learning disabilities to highlight how much Scotland has changed during their lifetime. We will be encouraging people with learning disabilities of all ages to reflect on the things that summed up their younger lives.
What problems do young people face, and what needs to change to make sure this generation is able to reach their goals in life? What are the best parts of being a young person with learning disabilities in Scotland today? Are there opportunities that there might not have been in the past? How can young people overcome the barriers they still face? Have attitudes changed and what role has technology played in people’s lives?
No matter what young people want to focus on during Learning Disability Week, we will be sharing lots of exciting opportunities to get these messages out there.’

"Thank you!
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