Bowls sessions provide a range of benefits

One of the most popular activities that we arrange in-house for our service users is the weekly bowling sessions that we hold in the main hall at The Mews each Monday.

We are fortunate to have Duggie Mitchell on our team, who is an experienced bowling instructor and has played competitive bowls for 35 years with success at Club, County and National levels. Duggie joined the board of Disability Bowls England in 2016 and continues to be inspired by the achievements of people with disabilities. His experience, skill and enthusiasm for the game as well as his empathy with the service users have contributed to the success of the sessions. Duggie is assisted by Lisa Hutchins, the Administrator at 144 Boughton Green Road, who helps with the organisation and keeps the score.

Bowling adapted to suit the players
The format of the game is Short Mat Bowling, which is very similar to Carpet Bowling. A mat 45 feet long and 6 feet wide is laid out in the main hall with guards at either end to stop the bowls running too far. A jack is placed at one end of the mat and each player uses weighted bowls to try and hit the jack. We have adapted the rules to meet the cognition needs and suit the various abilities of the players. They bowl eight balls each and Lisa records the number of ‘strikes’. People from all of our homes join in and we have a league in which around 20 players take part. One of our service users who is blind has mastered bowling very successfully. Other service users come along to watch and support, and it’s a lively, social occasion with lots of cheering.

Key benefits to individuals
What may just look like a leisure activity is actually an important element of our service users’ care. As well as being very enjoyable, the bowling sessions also help to improve:

Physical strength and dexterity
Cognition and communication
Motivation and self-esteem
Social Skills

Duggie has been running the sessions for around two years and new players can join in at any time. He has noticed significant improvements in some of the participants and says: “I have seen so much change in many of the group since we started: going from little or no eye contact or verbal communication in the early days to total interaction and response. My partner and I went along to the Christmas party recently and it was lovely to have them recognise us and want us to join them dancing.”

Thank you to Duggie and Lisa for their help and commitment to these sessions. They have contributed to some significant improvement and much enjoyment for our service users.

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

Dawn is finalist in Learning Disabilities Awards

Dawn BriggsWe’re delighted to report that Dawn Briggs reached the final of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2017 in the Support Worker of the Year Award.

Dawn started work at The Richardson Partnership for Care in 1995 as an Administrator and Co-ordinator/ Activity Support Worker, soon becoming an integral part of the home, developing relationships with service users.

To care means genuine concern for others, to listen, empower, be adaptable, dedicated and have integrity. Dawn has all of these attributes, most of all she is sociable, compassionate and good natured. She is dependable and responsive to people’s needs, wants and aspirations.

An essential part of Dawn’s ethos is her interpersonal skills, enabling her to relate to service users and understand individual’s differences. On many occasions Dawn has gone the extra mile to help service users, which demonstrate her strengths as a carer.

Here is just one example of Dawn’s supportive and compassionate nature and we are very proud to have her as part of our team.

Denise’s story
In the early years, one service user in particular, named Denise, started becoming close to Dawn. In 1998, Dawn invited her into the office for coffee. When Denise showed an interest in photocopying, Dawn was patient and took time to show Denise how it worked. After a couple of months Denise felt confident to start using the photocopier.

Denise has now been working in the office with Dawn for 19 years and Dawn has become an integral part of her care. She has supported Denise with her personal care, medical appointments and shopping trips, as well as making her feel valued in her role in the office. Dawn is never phased by Denise’s, at times, ‘colourful’ behaviour, and calmly, verbally de-escalates any anxiety that Denise feels, which has enabled her to live a more fulfilling life.

Dawn is now the most significant person in Denise’s life, which can be illustrated by a situation recently when Denise became critically ill with a life threatening condition. After being admitted to the local hospital, she was transferred to an ICU ward in an induced coma, in a specialist neurological hospital in another county.

Dawn took time out of her day to travel to the unit, where she spent time talking and reassuring Denise’s family: her mother, sister and brother.

Dawn also sat with Denise, talking quietly about their 19 years. In fact, Dawn was the first person that Denise asked for when she woke from her coma, and Dawn was there.

Thank you letter
And this is the letter that Denise’s sister wrote to Jackie Mann, Registered Manager at Denise’s home:

“I wanted to drop you a line to tell you again what wonderful people you all are for looking after my beloved sister Denise, and I would like to personally thank Dawn who is like a second mum to my sister. She has given her the time and patience to learn new skills while working in the office with her and helps Denise with all her personal needs, which is a difficult task with Denise. And recently, with Denise’s stay in hospital, Dawn went above and beyond for Denise. I could see the bond they have, which was wonderful to see. The first person Denise asked for when she woke up from her coma was Dawn. Please pass on my thanks to her for caring for my sister, which she does flawlessly, and to you and all your wonderful team.”

My warmest regards,
Mrs Karen Bence


National Learning Disability & Autism Awards 2016

We are delighted to have been shortlisted as finalists in the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards 2016 in the Employer Award category.

In order for us to provide a consistently high quality of service to the people in our care, we recognise that we need to have skilled, caring and hard-working employees who are dedicated to their work. It is only fair that we support them as best we can and help them to gain the skills that they need to progress in their roles, and this is what we always aim to do.

What makes us different?
Dr Pedro Areias Grilo, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist has worked at The Richardson Partnership for Care since 2014 and has a substantial array of clinical experience, both in the private and public healthcare sectors. This allows him to have significant insight and awareness about the services that we offer to meet effectively the needs of individuals we cater for. He has highlighted what makes The Richardson Partnership for Care stand out against other care homes.

Supporting staff
The Richardson Partnership for Care (RPC) is on the forefront of care offered in the UK and is currently able to offer, meet and surpass the needs of all individuals they cater for. They strive to go the extra mile to effectively support people. How? They empower staff to strive and accomplish. They develop their staff through in-house weekly training sessions, weekly reflective practice facilitated by Consultant Clinical Psychologists, effective supervision and open-door practice. Likewise, staff feel skilled, supported, cared, involved and motivated to deliver outstanding care and to strive on their roles. The professional satisfaction, sense of belonging and ability to acknowledge what needs to be done to support individuals in need is immense. This impacts positively on the care being delivered. The individuals’ lives change immensely and they feel they are part of a family, rather than people just “living” in a place. They have a home, a family, a social network and happiness. This is what care is about: Enhancement of life quality. The Richardson Partnership for Care without any doubts, offers this and much more.

Multi-disciplinary team
RPC also employs a Multidisciplinary team (MDT), currently offering to the individuals they support an in-house Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, two Consultants Clinical Psychologists, one part-time and one full-time Assistant Psychologist, one Occupational Therapist, one Physiotherapist and one Speech and Language Therapist. I must say, this is extraordinary. As evidenced, RPC has the ability to offer in-house clinicians to immediately and efficiently meet all the needs of the individuals they support.

There are also constant innovations. The MDT and Registered Home Managers meet frequently to evaluate the best treatment and intervention plans to support the individuals they cater for. In-house treatment directories were developed, based on NICE guidelines and clinical evidence, to effectively meet and support individuals’ needs. This makes a substantial difference in terms of care being delivered.

I believe RPC could offer what the majority of other organizations do. But no. They have decided to take the hard route. The route that requires an outstanding commitment, the route that might bring discussions, challenges, the route that brings changes, the route that takes people out of their comfort zone. However, this is the route to excellence, which RPC is and will continue to follow.

Greg and Laura are far ahead of their time. They have a clear understanding of the service they offer and where it must go. They have the individuals’ care on the centre of their hearts and the awareness and rationality to observe, analyze, discuss and establish action plans to meet individuals’ needs. This makes the difference and impacts substantially on the service being delivered. This brings innovation and positive changes to care services in the UK.

Dr Pedro Areias Grilo
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Birmingham University Honorary Tutor

What makes RPC different?

Supporting Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club

We recently became involved with the Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club and have sponsored the training tops used by the team. The club was set up in 2013 by Tracey Western as one of her sons has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD and there was nowhere he could go and play football.

The club caters for boys and girls over the aged of six. There are two squads – under 16 and 16 plus, so young adults can play too. The teams train every week at Tresham College in Kettering, with around 20 attendees regularly taking part, and compete in tournaments once a month. These are against other multi-disability football clubs from Northampton, Wellingborough, Raunds, Rushden and Corby.

The club provides a warm friendly atmosphere where everyone is accepted straightaway. Anyone over the age of six with a learning disability, physical disability or sensory difficulties is eligible to join. As well as providing fun, physical activity for its members, the club helps them to improve their football skills, fitness and hand/eye co-ordination. It also helps to improve communication, listening and social skills, as well as learning discipline and teamwork. Members can associate with different people and make new friends.

Founder and Organiser, Tracey Western commented: “The football club provides a real sense of community for everyone involved and it’s a place where each member is willingly accepted straightaway. Everyone has some type of disability so it’s really not a problem. It’s very satisfying to see all the benefits that these young people gain from the club and I’ve never had so much respect from children! They really appreciate it.”

Richardson Partnership for Care Maintenance Manager, Dexter Griffin, went along to a tournament recently with some service users from our homes. He presented the training tops to the Kettering team and it was a fun and inclusive event for everyone involved.

Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club requires ongoing support to fund the hire of its training facilities every week, so if you would like to support the team or become a member, please contact Tracey Western via Facebook:

Kettering Multi-disability Football Club in their new training tops

Dexter Griffin from RPC with Kettering Multi-disability Football Club in their new training tops

Jane is Finalist in National LD and Autism Awards

Jane Payne, Service Manager at The Richardson Partnership for Care is a finalist in the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards 2015.

She was nominated for the Employer Award for her commitment to providing top quality care to people with learning disabilities by heading a group of specialist residential care homes in Northampton. Jane has responsibility for supervising the managers and support staff, and has overall accountability to the owners. She is entirely service-user focused and always assesses the impact on service users when making decisions.

Jane has been praised for achieving a careful balance of providing empathetic, ethical care and maintaining a successful business. She believes that the two can go hand in hand and that profitability is vital to safeguard placements and provide a sustainable stable home for service users. Thanks to Jane, The Richardson Partnership for Care has thrived and grown over the last few years.

One of people who recommended Jane for the award was the father of a service user who has learning difficulties. He said: “I have worked with Jane, as my son’s advocate and in other capacities, for the past ten years and I am very familiar with, and a great admirer of the leadership she provides for all of her staff and, through this, the incredibly high quality of the care the homes provide. Jane’s personality shines through all of the dealings I have had with the Company. Her dedication to her staff and residents, from the major strategic issues down to the tiniest detail is outstanding.”

He added: “Through the leadership provided by and the example set by Jane, the culture of the company is a very open one, not only internally but also with respect to residents’ families and advocates. I can genuinely describe the excellent staff led so brilliantly by Jane as a ‘happy ship’ – and a very professional one.”

Jane Payne

Jane Payne, Service Manager at The Richardson Partnership for Care

Nominations for National Learning Disability and Autism Awards

We are pleased to nominate three members of staff for the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards 2015.

Wendy Coleman is Manager at 23 Duston Road, a home registered for nine service users, providing care for people with challenging behaviour. Wendy ensures that care is truly person-centred and the service users are at the heart of any decisions she makes within the home. Wendy has challenging individuals living in her home and still manages to ensure a happy, homely atmosphere whilst providing an excellent clinical care package. She works closely with the multi-disciplinary team of therapists including Clinical Psychologists, OT, SALT, Physiotherapists and Psychiatrist to ensure service users receive the right care plans and interventions.

Wendy Coleman

Wendy Coleman, nominated for the Manager of the Year Award

Jane Payne, Service Manager, has been nominated for the Employer Award for her commitment to providing top quality care to people with learning disabilities by heading our group of homes. Jane has responsibility for supervising the managers and support staff, and has overall accountability to us, the owners. She is entirely service-user focused and always assesses the impact on service users when making decisions.

Jane has achieved a careful balance of providing empathetic, ethical care and maintaining a successful business. She believes that the two can go hand in hand and that profitability is vital to safeguard placements and provide a sustainable stable home for service users. Thanks to Jane, our homes have thrived and grown over the last few years.

Jane Payne

Jane Payne, nominated for the Employer Award

Patience Vushemasimba has been nominated for the Support Worker Award because of her compassionate, cheerful and very caring attitude that contributes to her skills as a support worker. She brightens the rooms with her greetings and smile, and has a genuine concern for others, including the people she looks after and the colleagues she works alongside. Patience offers support no matter what the person’s background or condition is that makes their day a bit of a challenge. Patience listens and empowers those in her care by encouragement, helping them to regain, maintain or improve their skills towards independence.

We would like to thank Wendy, Jane and Patience for their continued commitment and wish them best of luck in the awards. We hope that they can follow in Jackie Mann’s footsteps as she was a finalist last year! If you think that any of our staff deserve an award, please let us know.

Managing the transition for young adults with learning difficulties

Now that Spring has arrived, we are looking forward positively to the year ahead. This is often a time when young adults with learning difficulties are preparing to move from school or college to a new environment. Below we outline how we can help to enable a smooth transition and assist service users in settling in to their new environment.

Supporting young adults with learning difficulties
Moving to a new environment can be daunting for both the individual and their family so we try to make the transition as stress-free as possible. Members of our Admissions and Referral Team often take part in transitions events organised by local schools and county councils, where they explain what life is like in our care homes for young adults who have learning difficulties.

Even if a placement is not needed in the near future, it is advisable to plan for a few years ahead. This extra time can reduce the pressure and stress on families and enable them to find out about the different funding arrangements for adults.   We appreciate that the transition from children’s to adults’ services means a significant change in funding. Our Admissions and Referrals team is experienced in providing information and evidence to support funding applications.

Familiarisation visits
We get to know service users and their families and facilitate visits to our homes. These may be initial visits to have a look around, then perhaps a day visit where they meet the other service users. We also arrange overnight or weekend stays. The transition can take many months, or longer, so that the service users gradually become accustomed to their new home.  In other cases, it is better for the service user to just move in, it depends on the individual.

Pre-admission assessment
Each service user has a formal, detailed assessment when they are admitted to one of our residential care homes and we develop a personalised care plan on which their care and treatment is based. Where appropriate, family members and existing social networks are consulted and involved in the assessment process.

During the pre-admission assessment, we monitor the person in different environments, such as at school and at home, so that we can continue any therapies that are seen to be working well. We also take note of situations that cause difficulties and see how these can be managed better.  If service users continue to attend school, then we liaise closely with the school, often using communication books, so that we can monitor and manage any changes in behaviour.

The individual care plan ensures that the service user’s needs are fully met. This includes their daily care support, medical needs, psychology and psychiatry support, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy as appropriate. We also continue to support their education with learning programmes and college placements.

For more information call our Admissions and Referrals Team on 01604 791266 or take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions

Sian Richardson

Sian Richardson, a member of the Admissions and Referrals Team

The National Autistic Society Professional Conference 2012: Our Visit and Experiences

Towards the end of February we attended The National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference in Manchester. The event ran over two days and provided the latest information and practical tools to increase the effectiveness of services and improve outcomes for people with Autism. Some of our Home Managers were fortunate to have a pick of expert speakers to listen to, who presented an overview of the changing environment and the latest developments in the field of Autism.

One of the really interesting seminars Wendy Coleman (Home Manager, Duston Rd Home) attended, was the one by Dr Gary Mesibov where he spoke about Autism in maturity (i.e. looking at the quality of life for people with Autism over their lifespan). It gave a good perspective to hear how (as part of the bigger picture of mapping care for people with Autism) about the realities of how people are living for longer, and are “younger” for longer. At the same time, those with Autism age quicker and the challenge comes in managing their interests over time.

The complimentary topics in the seminars throughout the two days helped to address common themes in adults who have Aspergers Syndrome.

We also had the opportunity to learn more about ASDAN which would be a great addition to the activities and courses we source for our service
users in our Learning Difficulty Homes.  ASDAN are a charitable social enterprise which provides programmes and qualifications to promote independence, and everyday learning living (such as meal preparation, accessing community, gardening, etc). Our service users would also be able to achieve credits and Certificates, which we know they love to work towards. Check out a short video they have put together to tell you more about ASDAN. You can also follow them on Twitter.

We attend and exhibit at this conference every year, and each year it adds more to our toolbox of understanding the changing landscape of Autism and how we can infiltrate new techniques and wonderful new ways into our path of care to assist and support our services users with Learning Difficulties, as well as their families.