Tag Archives: Wales

“We’ve already got four referrals!” New befriending services open

Susan Shingler works as a Service Development Manager for Scope. Part of her work has included opening two new Face 2 Face befriending services in Wales. Today she writes about these two new services and what they hope to offer.

Over the last week, I have helped launch two new Face 2 Face services in Conwy & Denbighshire and Anglesey, Wales.

I would say the launches were incredibly successful. Loads of local organisations and service providers came along. I’ve heard from many organisations that these new Face 2 Face services in North Wales will really benefit them.

At the launches, we got the chance to present the new befrienders/parents their training certificates. They also received their new official befriender name badges. They were all really happy to complete their training and were looking forward to helping out other parents.

Here’s some of the great feedback from parents and befrienders alike:

Beckie Mann: “After diagnosis, you try to find out what ‘help’ is available. No one really helps you, but we want to help support [parents] as much as we can.”

Lucy Williams: “I wanted somebody like a befriender after my son was born. Since he was a few months old, I’ve wanted to help other parents so I jumped at the chance to be part of Face2Face.”

Goretti Chilton: “I felt bombarded with all of it at once and I didn’t remember any information given afterwards. I could have really done with a befriender then.”

Gina Stevenson: “What we want to do is make a difference to parents who are going through what we’ve been through. It’s a lonely and emotional period in your life that we can relate to and empathise with.”

Kathryn Elsmore: “Sometimes you feel that no one could possibly understand but there are some of us, with all different experiences, who do understand.”

Now that they’ve opened, let’s hope they keep growing!

As for myself, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response over the past few days and I couldn’t have done with without Sharon Bateman and the Createasmile charity for seeing the potential of Face 2 Face and working with us to make it happen.

And of course, we’re eternally grateful to our parent befrienders, who make the service what it is.

Now that befrienders have given their valuable time to help someone who’s been in the same shoes, our aim is to grow the service in North Wales.

We’ve already received four referrals! So hopefully we will continue to grow.

We’re always looking for befrienders across England and Wales to meet with other parents of children with disabilities for emotional and practical support. Become a befriender today.

I was chomping at the bit to get back into work – #100days100stories

Sean, 28, was supported by Scope into a placement at a camping supplies shop in north Wales, which became a permanent job. He and his employer, Tracy, are sharing their story as part of Scope’s 100 days, 100 stories campaign.

Sean says:Sean, a man in his late 20s, working behind a shop counter

The worst thing about being unemployed is not having a direction – not having a plan, not having anything to do. You find yourself in a lot of despair just trying to do the simplest things, and it’s very difficult.

I’d had to stop work because of illness. I’ve had depression since I was about seven years old, but I’d had a good spell of probably about 10 years where I had no problems at all. But then I just dipped and I needed some help.

In time I got the help required from my GP, and I felt ready to start working again probably about six to eight months after I had to stop.

I definitely knew that I was ready to get back in there – chomping at the bit, to be honest with you.

Getting into the work market was tough. The Jobcentre was quite poor. I think they were more keen on pushing me into any job than the right one.

I really couldn’t say how many jobs I applied for. I still have a big lever arch file of all the applications I’ve done.

Starting at the shop

After having an interview with Scope, I started at the shop in February of 2014.

I love my job. The people I work with are great. There’s quite a lot involved – serving customers, getting stock ordered, a lot of ICT work, and we do a lot of internet sales.

I also did a lot of training through Scope during the first few months,  including an ICT course which I’d had no qualifications in before.Sean, filling in paper work

I think I integrated really well here. They’ve given me a lot of confidence, because they’ve given me a lot of trust; a lot of faith has been put into me.

We’ve just started stocking and selling air rifles – Tracy and Neil didn’t know much about it, but with me being somebody who does go shooting, they thought he could use my knowledge to expand the business.

It’s nice working for somebody who puts faith in their employees, and it gave me a big morale boost to be trusted so much.

I’m feeling like I’m a part of this business, more than just an employee – I’m actually an active part in driving it forward, which makes you feel good about yourself.

Tracy says:Tracey, in the shop

The help that we got from Scope initially was so helpful. I think he was matched well with this place – there was obviously a lot of thought about what Sean likes doing. His adviser was only a phone call away if he ever needed anything.

We knew that if things didn’t work out with Sean we could say so, which means you’re not under so much pressure as a small business.

But it was always going to be that he would come on board with us – and that’s mainly because of the support that he’d got through Scope.

We don’t see any kind of disability as a stumbling block. As long as you can do the job it doesn’t matter, and if you can’t do something, just tell us.

I think most people’s families have been touched by some kind of disability. We certainly have – so if someone is struggling to get a job, then let’s give them an opportunity to get a foot on the ladder here. What better way of getting somebody back in?

It’s been invaluable for us, it really has. And I’m confident that even if we hadn’t been able to take Sean on, he would have walked into another job – his confidence was boosted literally overnight.

Group photos with Sean, Tracy and another man

Find out more about the 100 days, 100 stories campaign, and read the rest of the stories so far.

Film of the week: Jamie’s story at Craig y Parc school in Wales

Meet 17-year-old Jamie Love – aspiring star of the future.

Jamie is a student at Scope’s Craig y Parc special school for disabled children (near Cardiff, Wales). In this new film from Scope, he talks about how the school has inspired him to follow his dreams. For information about other Scope schools.

The paralympic legacy

Guest post from Matt O’Grady at Scope Cymru

The last few weeks have been a real festival of sport. It seems like an age ago that Team GB kicked off against New Zealand in the Women’s Football in Cardiff and no-one could have imagined how exciting both the Olympic games and Paralympic games have been.

What was even harder to imagine perhaps before the game is just how much support the disabled athletes of the Paralympic games would receive. It has been fantastic, with the public seeming to grasp the opportunity to watch the highs (and occasional lows) of those who truly excel at their events. I was lucky enough to be in the stadium the night David Weir won gold in the 5,000 metres and Oscar Pistorius was beaten by Alan Oliveira. The support for athletes in those competitions was as passionate and fierce as any other sporting event I’ve been to.

The impact of the Paralympics

Before the start of the games, Scope said that for the games to have an impact the general public had to engage with them. Polling showed before the games that an estimated 67% of people intended to watch the Paralympic games.

The Opening Ceremony gave Channel 4 its biggest audience for 10 years. For two weeks disabled people have been everywhere. The focus has been on sport, but disability has never been so widely talked about.

And the fact that these games were virtually a sell-out makes it clear that there really was great public engagement.

But what should the public take away from the Paralympics? There can be no doubt that the games were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the country reconsidering disability.

Attitudes towards disabled people

Prior to the Games, disabled people told Scope that attitudes towards them have been getting worse. More than two-thirds say they have experienced name-calling, hostility or aggression and half say this has gotten worse in the last year.

When those we have spoken to are asked why they think this happened, many think that it is linked to the issue of benefits and a perception that disabled people are ‘scroungers’ and ‘faking it’. Given that the Westminster Government’s own figures show a fraud rate of only 0.5% with Disability Living Allowance, it is concerning that such negative rhetoric is able to take root.

Hopefully, the stories told at the Paralympic games will begin a shift in the public perception of disabled people away from this ‘scrounger’ image and towards a more positive vision. An image that focuses on what disabled people can achieve and doesn’t set limits on potential, regardless of the challenges.

Much was made about challenges in the Paralympic games. I heard so many people say how the achievements of disabled athletes were so impressive because of the challenges they had to overcome.

Barriers to disabled people still exist

There can be little doubt that these challenges and barriers do exist. Whether it is access to wheelchairs (opens a PDF report)railways (opens a PDF report) or even elections (opens a PDF report), there are still many access barriers around.

For the Paralympic games to have truly achieved a lasting legacy, the games need to have created a shift in attitudes that means these barriers are not seen as acceptable any more and begin to be broken down. We also need to ask what else we can do, so that disabled people are visible not just in sport, but in the media, in politics, and above all in everyday life.

This legacy is one that the Welsh Conservatives, along with other political parties in Wales and the Welsh Government, have a role to play. With legislation reforming both social care and special education needs on the agenda for the next 12 months, we have an ideal opportunities to ensure that every disabled person has fewer challenges to face in their ordinary lives.

If the 2012 Paralympic Games are able to leave a desire for social change as their legacy, they will be the most successful games of all time.

Originally posted on Your Voice in the Assembly.