AoD June 2021 E-Newsletter

June 2021 E-Newsletter

Last month AoD celebrated lots of great events, from Eid to Mental Health Awareness Week. In May it was also Deaf Awareness Week. The theme this year was ‘Coming though it together’ we helped to encourage everyone to celebrate Deafness and raise awareness for positivity and change. Watch AoD’s Chief Executive have his say here: http://aod.org.uk/2021/05/05/deaf-awareness-week-2021/

Welfare Benefit Service Update

During the past year, the AoD Welfare Benefit Service dealt with 398 cases in addition to giving advice by telephone and e-mail. It also handled 2,150 phone calls and emails, of which about half entailed giving one-off advice to other organisations and disabled or ill people in the H&F borough.

Action on Disability’s (AoD) Welfare Benefits Service (WBS) offers free benefits advice and assistance to disabled adults and children of all ages – including parents and carers of disabled children – living in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The help given is hands-on casework up to First-Tier Tribunal level, and in some cases, Upper Tribunal level.

AoD would like to acknowledge the tremendous input of its volunteers. The smooth running and success of the AoD WBS would not be possible without their dedication and hard work.
If you would like any Welfare Benefit Advice, please email: info@aod.org.uk or call 020 3080 0382

Employment Service Update

Interns from the David Forbes Nixon Project SEARCH have been supporting the Trust’s Covid-19 response by assisting with the Trust’s lateral flow testing programme.

Project SEARCH is a transition to work programme for students with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions, and sees interns aged between 16 – 24, and who are who are on an educational healthcare plan, come to the Trust to gain work experience in a range of roles in the hospital. It is run in partnership with the College of North West London.

As with the rest of the Trust, the 10 interns who joined this year had to adapt to the new ways of working created by the pandemic response, with adjustments made to their work experience. A number of interns joined the team
distributing the lateral flow Covid-19 testing kits to staff, making a huge contribution to the testing programme to help keep staff and patients safe.

Before Covid-19 a normal day for interns on the programme would start with an hour’s lesson with course tutor Jasmine Jade from the college, working towards a City and Guilds qualification, followed by work experience in the hospital.

Jasmine said: “The interns work closely with their job coach to establish a career pathway and find out what their skills are and what they like. However, because of the pandemic, during their first term, they were only able to do the lesson part of their programme, as this could be done online. We tried to emulate some of the things they’d be doing at the hospital, so we got hold of some wheelchairs and we also did some washing and cooking role-plays to
make it as realistic as possible.”

However, after Christmas, the interns were given some important work to do by the team that was implementing a project to get lateral flow Covid-19 testing kits to all
members of Trust staff.

“The lateral flow team approached us to give the interns a chance to do some work experience while they were waiting for the regular jobs to start,” says Kevin Watson, who is the Action on Disability Job Coach supporting the interns on site in their work rotations at Charing Cross Hospital.

“Their roles were meet and great, and they were also registering first and second time users of the lateral flow kits and helping to distribute the kits. They were also touring the wards helping to get more people to sign up to do the lateral flow testing.”

Happily, the 10 interns are all now doing regular jobs around the hospitals, and two – Elijah Akajagbo (pictured) and Visanicka Ambalavanar – have stayed on in their
roles supporting the lateral flow team. “The team enjoyed having them so much and they did so well in those roles, and contributed so much to their teams, that they were asked to stay on,” says Kevin.

One of those who stayed on with the lateral flow team, Visanicka Ambalavanar, says: “During lockdown we were doing online lessons with my teacher, we were learning about first-aid training, which was very useful. When I heard about the lateral flow kit opportunity, I was excited, as it sounded interesting. I decided to go for it as I wanted to help.”

Project SEARCH Supported Internship is recruiting!

The Imperial Healthcare Trust, The College of North West London and Action on Disability are recruiting now for our Project SEARCH Supported Internship to start in September 2021!  

Supported Internships are work-based education programmes specifically for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

Our internship is based at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith and offers three work placements around the hospital with the support of an expert job coach 
We will be holding interviews and assessments at the College of North West London Willesden campus on Tuesday June 8th 2021, so please get in touch with us as soon as possible if there are any young people you are connected with who might be thinking about this pathway. 

Please contact either: Jasmine Jade, course lead and tutor, on 07860 754014/ Email: jasmine.jade@cnwl.ac.uk or Kevin Watson, Action on Disability Supported Employment coordinator at Charing Cross Hospital on 0742 963 1953/ Email kevin.watson4@nhs.net 

Ability not Barriers for Leaning and Employment 2 (ABLE2) Project!

The new ABLE2 Project at Action On Disability, is to help support 16-24 Year Olds who are Not in Education, Employment or Training with a Physical Disability and/or Long-term Health Condition into Education, Employment or Training. For further details on how to enrol, please email rose.sambou@aod.org.uk.

This Project is funded by the Mayor of London and the European Social Fund.

Youth Service Update

This term our youth service has been delivering our Thursday youth club and our Friday Junior club. Following NYA guidelines, we have been able to invite more young people back which has had such a positive impact on young people mental well-being.

Young people have been able to socialise with their peers once again and enjoy a variety of activities. We have been delivering a vibrant photography project during the Youth club which encourages young people to explore identity and nature through photography. Our junior club has also been working with CFC to engage young people in fun football sessions.

We are now back delivering our Duke of Edinburgh awards and the young people participating are very excited for their new adventures. Please contact admin.youth@aod.org.uk for more information about D of E.

AoD’s next holiday project will be delivered from the 27th July until the 19th August.

AoD is hiring!

Welfare Benefits Advisor (Adults) 
Salary: £23 – £28k dependent on experience
Contract period: Permanent
Deadline: 12noon Friday 25th June 2021

The Welfare Benefits Service provides free independent advice and assistance to all disabled residents and their carers who live and work in Hammersmith and Fulham borough. The service is for all ages, including parents and carers of disabled children. We provide free advice and assistance, up to and including Tribunal level, on all Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) benefits, Tax Credits, and some local authority benefits. The team is recruiting for the position of Welfare Benefits Advisor (Adults)

To read the full job description and how to apply, please visit: http://aod.org.uk/2021/06/03/welfare-benefits-advisor-adults/ or email info@aod.org.uk for the application pack. 

Independent Living Advisor (Direct Payments)
Salary: £23 – £25k dependent on experience
Contract period: One year (with possible extensions to another two years)
Deadline: 5pm Monday 21st June 2021

AoD’s Independent Living Service
The Independent Living Service (Direct Payments) is a new service that will provide support to Direct Payment users within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The service will enable disabled people to have genuine choice and control over the way in which they lead their lives. The post-holder will be working alongside disabled people to enable them to have more choice and control over their care and support needs. 

Purpose of Post
To work with individuals, their family and friends (where appropriate) to provide them with information, advice and assistance to enable them to access and manage a Direct Payment (DP) and recruit and manage a Personal Assistant (PA).

To read the full job description please visit: http://aod.org.uk/2021/06/01/independent-living-advisor-direct-payments/ 
CV & Cover letter are to be emailed to viv@bettertalent.co.uk not AoD.

Other News…

Peer Support Gardening Group

AoD is starting a new Gardening Peer Support Group and is looking for donations for the group. We are looking for any spare hand tools such as trowels, forks along with packets of seeds such as flowers and herbs.

If you are interested in finding out more about the gardening group or other groups we have available, please email: stella.anaman.gillan@aod.org.uk

Heart of Hammersmith Festival

Tickets to the Heart of Hammersmith are now on sale! Heart of Hammersmith festival runs from 12-14th August 2021. All tickets £10 and are on sale at: www.lyric.co.uk

Heart of Hammersmith, the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s first large-scale community play in its 125-year history will take over the main house this August, bringing together a cast of over 40 West Londoners, including 17 young members, aged 18-25, made up of first-time actors, a secondary school teacher, drag artist, call centre worker, students, new graduates and community volunteers.  

Written and created by Nicholai La Barrie (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical Resident Director) with The Lyric Community Company, and directed by Eva Sampson (Decades) with Alex Hurst (Lyric Resident Assistant Director, Birkbeck Placement).Heart of Hammersmith celebrates West London stories past and present. The production will also feature a community chorus from Young Lyric partner.

Exciting Job Opportunity

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Council are advertising for two exciting opportunities Co-production Co-ordinator. To apply for the positions, please click here: https://careers.newjob.org.uk/LBHF/job/London-Coproduction-Coordinator-LBHF67570-DGY/677645901/?locale=en_GB

Take part in Inclusion London’s Survey!

Lockdown Easing – assessing Disabled People’s experience – Please take part in Inclusion London’s survey about Lockdown Easing and assessing Disabled People’s experience.

Inclusion London want policy and decision-makers to know what is happening to Deaf and Disabled people on the ground, so they can campaign for changes and influence central government, the NHS and local authorities. 

Inclusion London will use the results of the survey to influence decision -makers. People who read your answers will not know who wrote them. If you are interested please fill in the survey. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Z3ZB298

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