Action on Disability’s CEO, David Buxton looks back on 2022 and shares his thoughts as well as his hopes for 2023
“From my own armchair, I am sitting here and reflecting on what Action on Disability and our Disabled members have achieved throughout this year, and also what we hope for 2023:
- January to April 2022: we set up pilot Co-production training sessions, online, every week. 20 Disabled people attended and now 17 of them are actively involved in the various co-produced groups in Hammersmith and Fulham! A Great Result!
- On Monday 16th of May we said goodbye to Linda Shampan, who had volunteered with our Welfare Benefits Service for over 7 years and had provided great support to local people. A woman who cared and will not be forgotten for her contribution.
- End of July 2022: finally, we moved into the new Centre for Independent Living, after 5 long years of working with the architects, Shepherds Bush Housing Association, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and building contractors – countless meetings, phone calls, site visits, all the highs and lows – add in our hard work fundraising for the capital project to ensure that our new Centre would be fully accessible – a conference room with kitchenette, 3 small meeting rooms, changing places toilet, we have it all!
- In August, we revived our Advice partnership with H&F Law Centre and Citizens Advice H&F, after the pandemic limited the support, we could provide each other. This has meant a great deal to the support for those wishing to access Welfare Benefits advice from AoD.
- Youth Holiday projects were back up to full physical delivery after the pandemic had prevented us from allowing full access. We also started 2 new partnership projects with Lyric Hammersmith: Acting up and Soundz. The latter funded by Youth Music. We also started a new youth partnership with the Urban Partnership group at the Masbro Centre.
- We said a very sad goodbye to former youth service member, volunteer, DofE Graduate and employment service internship graduate Charlie Taggart. Our thoughts remain with Doreen, Tony, Gemma and all of Charlie’s friends and family.
- In September 2022 young people from AoD produced their very first Youth Charter which lays out their expectations from those who engage young disabled people.
- Since the start of 2022 the Direct Payment Support Service (DPSS) has seen the working relationship with LBHF grow from strength to strength supported by our critical friends on the Steering group. We are also thankful to be supported by the local Authorities Direct Payments Champion, and the peer support group. The DPSS has continued to provide training for Social Workers which have been well attended and well received. We have been involved in ensuring the Direct Payment Agreement is user friendly and fit for purpose.
- November 2022: we received great news from the National Lottery that AoD has been awarded 3 years funding for the ‘Our Space’ project. This means more Peer Support involvement and a forward-thinking activities programme. We will advertise for a new full time Project Lead in the New Year!
- Dec 2022 we completed a review of our Direct Payments Advice Service and will take the recommendations from this review into the new year.
- In December we also celebrated International Day of Disabled People with a fantastic event at the Lyric Hammersmith supported by LBHF. We heard from inspirational speakers John Kelly, Michelle Daley, Tara Flood and Cllr Ben Coleman. Thank you to everyone that came and made it such a great event!
Now looking forward to new 2023
- We are advertising five new full-time jobs – Independent Living Adviser, Finance and Administration Officer, Employment Support and Access Project Lead, Youth Project Coordinator (maternity cover) and an Our Place Project Lead. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We urge Disabled people to apply – be part of our exciting new Independent Living plan! Apply here: http://aod.org.uk/jobs/
- Grand Opening of AoD Centre for Independent Living – we will invite you to come to the grand opening, to look around and ask questions of our Project Leads. We will send a separate e-news in the new year with further information.
- Our New ‘Open Place’ project will be launched – we want to see more Disabled residents take part. We plan to set up new Peer Support Groups. Please contact us if you feel there is an urgent need to set up specific groups; for example, we have a local Deaf BSL signer wanting to set up a regular Deaf BSL Club – we are open to ideas!
- AoD – our key message for 2023 – we want to see more co-production, peer support and Independent Living activities at our brand new Centre for Independent Living. Nothing about us, without us! We need you to get more involved, become active coproducers, be more visible to the local decision makers, working together is a MUST!
On behalf of Action on Disability, we wish you a happy festive and peaceful New Year for 2023!
Employment Service Update
Our supported interns at Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith Supported Internships have learnt many great skills from their first work placements. They have improved their confidence and independence and these transferable skills and qualities can be used in their second placements which the interns are excited to start in the new year.
Below picture is an intern working along side his workplace mentor
As an end of term Christmas treat one of our partners Lyric, Hammersmith kindly invited our interns to watch their Aladdin pantomime which was enjoyed by all!
The interns also had a Christmas stall at 245 Hammersmith Christmas market selling AoD Christmas cards and crisp packet keyrings as well as dressing up as Santa!
Fairshot cafe update- Trainees have settled in well, learning their barista and customer service skills and are working well in their shift groups!
Fairshot will be moving to a new, larger location in Covent Garden in January where the trainees will be able to improve and learn even more tasks.
Graduates from last years traineeship are smoothly moving into their paid employment roles supported by AoD job coaches and support workers.
It is wonderful to see the progress of these young people as their confidence and independence grow breaking down the barriers disabled people face in society.
In work support from AoD
The employment team continue to support disabled people who are in paid employment with job coaching and support work funded via Access to Work grants, working closely with employers and young people to create reasonable adjustments and carved roles where needed.
If you would like any more information on any of our employment services please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or call 0207 385 2098
Please check our website for latest vacancies at Action on Disability within the Employment Service: http://aod.org.uk/jobs/
Youth Service Update
Young people who attended the Junior club enjoyed an evening out at Tenpin Acton where they got to bowl, eat some pizza and play in the arcade
This term young people engaged in the Soundz music programme delivered at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. In each session, they developed their musical interests by learning to play instruments, creating music and performing in a band. Young people also have the opportunity to gain an Awards Discover
AoD is a licensed centre to offer the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Pictured is five young people who are currently completing their gold, during a hiking expedition in the Surrey Hills. Once completed, they will be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet with a member of the royal family and receive their award and celebrate. Well done to all our young people who took part!
Direct Payment Support Service Update
Recently, we have seen our service going strength to strength, with so many residents requiring support with direct payments.
We had our direct payment peer group Christmas party, finally in our brand-new conference space and it was a joy to see many of the residents there.
We are still holding peer group meetings, remotely and in our office, every two weeks on a Tuesday. If anyone would like more information on this, please do get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The direct payment steering group, which take place every six weeks, in our office and remotely as well is a fantastic platform to communicate with Hammersmith & Fulham council. It is an excellent opportunity for residents to have their say and express their views and experiences when it comes to using their own direct
A new member of our team, Franklin have joined the support service a few months ago and has been a huge help.
We have some exciting plans and events lining up for next year and we can’t wait to share this with you.
Happy holidays all and see you in the new year!
AoD conference room for hire!
As part of Action on Disability new facilities we are excited to announce that we have a fully open plan conference room available for hire. The room has access to an a kitchenette, AV system for hybrid meetings and presentations along with a hearing loop system.
The space is perfect for meetings, presentations or community groups and parties! If you are interested in finding out more, then please get in touch with our Centre Coordinator, Ellen: email@example.com or call 0207 385 2098 for more information.
Peer Support Service Update
AoD runs a range of free social and fun groups that are open to our members to join! We have a Health & Wellbeing group, Writing for Wellbeing group as well as a new Creative Group.
Everyone is welcome and we are always looking for new members to join. We are also always looking for new volunteers who may want to lead their own groups with new interests anything from exercise, bookclubs, IT groups! Please get in touch as we would like to hear from you!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 0207 385 2098
Community Research Training