Brenda's blog for Lewisham Works
(Mon, 27 Sep 2010)
A big and final hello to all,
The Employer Guide is finally complete. It is printed and will be given out soon. I think it looks fabulous and once again, a big thank you to everyone in Lewisham, and elsewhere, who made this possible.
At the end of September 2010 the Lewisham Works project will be officially over. It has been a very positive experience and it has been wonderful to find out about all the good things that are being done for people with learning disabilities who want paid work. Thank you to everyone for supporting us in our work and so willingly sharing information with us.
We hope that the final report and the Employer Guide will be really useful to the community and that they relect the good work that is being done in the borough. We hope that more local residents with learning disabilities continue to find paid jobs.
The good news is that the Co-trainers’ contracts have been extended for a further year. This means that the Learning Disability Awareness training for employers will continue. They will also be available to do sessions to raise aspirations and awareness of employment, for peope with learning disabilities, for any interested groups e.g. college students, school pupils, families, carers, support staff and professionals.
If you would like to book the Co-trainers please contact Helen Key at:
So this is it for me, my last blog on real roles. Bye Bye, Adios, Saynara and a very big thank you.
(Mon, 09 Aug 2010)
Oh my, where does time go? It’s over two weeks since I’ve written anything here and it seems like yesterday.
I am very pleased to report that the employer guide for Lewisham is going very well. It’s in the final stages of design. Once that is done we will make sure all who appear in it are quite happy and that no more changes or corrections are needed. Soon after that it will be ready for printing.
The employer guide has involved a lot of work and a lot of people. Thank you to the many people in Lewisham who got involved and contributed to this brochure. Everyone will soon see who they are, once the guide is printed and distributed in Lewisham.
I hope this guide will be an inspiration to many employers in Lewisham. Most importantly I hope that inspiration leads to more jobs being created in Lewisham for people with learning disabilities. There are so many people with real talent who can work and want to work. The employer guide gives some excellent examples of this. Some employers also tell us some great success stories about people with learning disabilities in work.
Hopefull I’ll catch up with you at the end of the week before I go off for a little summer break.
Bye for now.
(Wed, 21 Jul 2010)
Our current contract is in it’s final stages but we’re still doing as much as we can to talk to people in Lewisham about employment for people with learning disabilities.
Yesterday we had a very successful training session with Job Centre Plus. Staff from the three branches in Lewisham met us in their Deptford office. We were told that staff were very impressed by the Co-trainer’s work and their stories about how they found employment. It was interesting for them to hear how important work is to people with learning disabilities.
One staff member said she would like us to talk to many more of the staff in South London and invited us to do some more workshops. If there is time before the contract ends we would love to do that. Job Centre Plus is a very important link in the route to employment for people with learning disabilities. I know they have helped many people. If our training sessions can increase that number, we will have done our jobs well.
But now it’s back to writing for the Employer Guide so that I can meet my deadline.
Enjoy the rest of the week in this lovely summer weather.
(Wed, 07 Jul 2010)
What a busy time this is! We have so much going on.
We are nearing the end part of our project so there’s a lot to do. We are writing an employer guide. This will have lots of real success stories of people in paid work. It will also give lots of good advice to employers about employing people with learning disabilities. We should have this completed by September.
We are also writing our final report about the things that are happening for people with learning disabilities in Lewisham and our recommendations.
As far as the Co-trainers are concerned, we had a very good talk with parents of the Family Contact Group yesterday. I think they were very impressed with the positive messages our Co-trainers had to give about work. There was lots of clapping so I think they liked what they heard.
That’s all until next time
(Fri, 18 Jun 2010)
We have had a very good and busy week.
We had an interesting talk with the staff and service users at Aurora Options. We found that many people there already had jobs. And many people wanted paid jobs. We spoke about how to look for a job and who people could ask for help and support when looking for a job. The Co-trainers gave some advice on interviews. They talked about dressing smartly, being on time, and about what to do if you don’t understand what someone is asking you. They also gave some good tips about what to do when you’re in a job. We discussed things like working hard and being polite and who to go to if you don’t know how to do something and need help.
On Tuesday we all went to The Camden Society’s big meeting which is called our AGM. We were told about all the good work that has been done for people with learning disabilities in the past year. We were given lovely food which our staff cooked. Then there was a big party afterwards where we got to talk to all our friends and colleagues who we don’t always see. The best part was the line dancing which I sadly missed. I was told that there were some very talented dancers doing some amazing moves!
That’s all for now folks. Have a great weekend whatever you’re doing.
(Fri, 11 Jun 2010)
Hi. It’s been a quite some time since I’ve blogged but we have been working!
Unfortunately employers have not managed to take up our free training as much as we would have liked. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is the economic situation. Everyone is going through a tough time.
We are still training employers when we can. However, we have changed our focus so that we still do good work around employment. The Co-trainers and I are talking to more people with learning disablities about work. These are adults who may be in day services, young people in secondary school and students in colleges. We are also trying to speak to carers and parents about the benefits of paid jobs.
If any organisation in the borough would like us to come and talk to them, please contact our Lewisham Works office on 020 8694 3499.
My colleague Penny has been working with many providers and services in Lewisham so that Skills Audits and Employment Profiles can be completed. This has given us very valuable information about what skills people have and what they would like to do. We have found that many people would like to work or know more about work!
We are looking forward to speaking to people at Aurora Options next week and I’ll let you know how that goes.
Next week we also have The Camden Society’s AGM which we’ll all attend. We’ll meet up with our lovely colleagues from projects all around London and get to catch up with all the important news as well as having a bit of fun time with our colleagues afterwards.
Bye for now
(Thu, 25 Mar 2010)
I’ve just come back from a great morning spent with some lovely people. Lewisham Speaking Up invited the Co-trainers and me to talk to people with learning disabilities about jobs.
Becky, Kayleigh, Tara and Tom shared their stories of work and what it has meant to them.
Then we spoke about how to find a job, how to get support and the good things about having a paid job. Things like money that is your own. Independence. Confidence. Making friends at work. Keeping busy and keeping your mind busy.
People asked us lots of questions. I hope that we helped to make more people with learning disabilites think about getting paid work. I hope we are helping people to see that work is a good thing.
We did have some really good feedback and that makes us happy and proud to do our jobs.
Now we are all on holiday until the week beginning 12th April so this blog will be silent for a little while.
We wish you all a very happy Easter. Hopefully you’ll enjoy some treats but remember, not too much chocolate!
Bye for now
(Thu, 04 Mar 2010)
It’s been about a month since I’ve blogged and so much has happened.
Our success with the College continues and we keep getting invited back to speak to more students. Last week we spoke to a group of school pupils from a local Special Educational Needs School who were visiting the College for a taster session. It was really good to be speaking to 16 year olds about work and why it is a good thing. I was really pleased when one pupil said he wanted to get a job on a Saturday now, while he’s still at school. It would be really fantastic if more young people started thinking seriously about work at this age.
This week we spoke to the Learning Disability Team from Southwark PCT. They were a lovely group of people who asked the Co-trainers lots of questions about their experience of work, how they got their jobs and what their families thought of them working. Of course, each Co-trainer has a different story to tell which makes it very interesting. This group already know so much about the subject so I thought we would have nothing to teach them, but we had very good feedback about our presentation. For the first time our CV DVD worked because we had sound. Everyone was really impressed. It showed that there are other ways for employers to look at CVs. Why not watch a film where someone talks about themselves and their work, rather than read it from paper. I think it’s better sometimes.
We were spoilt with a lovely lunch afterwards. Thank you so much for that.
Next week we’ll be talking to some more school pupils from a different Special Educational Needs School at the College.
That’s it for now. Speak soon
(Fri, 22 Jan 2010)
We’ve recently done some training with a difference. We were invited by a tutor at the Deptford Campus of Lewisham College to come to a question and answer session for some students with learning disabilities who are soon going to be looking for work.
We were all a bit nervous because we did not have much time to practice. It was the first time we had done something like this. We had no reason to worry. They were very welcoming and friendly. After the introductions were done, we told them a bit about ourselves. They had lots of questions about work. They asked the Co-trainers things like:
How did you find your job and do you like working?
What do you do with your money?
What do you do in an interview and were you nervous in your interview?
And much more.
I’m proud to say we got very good feedback from the tutor. As we know good news spreads and because the Co-trainers did such a good job we have now been invited to speak to three other groups of students at Lewisham College.
That’s really exciting and we are hoping to send the message to young people that paid employment is a good thing to do. Some of the advantages of working are having your own money, being more independent and making friends at work.
I will let you know how it goes. In the meantime, please don’t forget to let me know about any employers who may want our training.
Have a good weekend.
(Mon, 04 Jan 2010)
Hello All. We are pleased to be back and have enjoyed a little break. We are excited about doing more disability awareness training to employers and are enjoying our work. If you are an employer or know of any employers who would like this training please contact us on 020 8694 3499.
The Co-trainers have a few words – Kayleigh is not with us today but we look forward to having her with us tomorrow.
Tara: Hi. I’m excited about being back at work. I would like to go back to other trainers as I want to know what they think about people with learning disabilities. That’s a very interesting point.
Becky: Well I am so glad Brenda chose me for a Co-Trainer and nice knowing that there are nice people round me to work with.
Tom: I am pleased to be back at work I am looking forward to doing more training for employers.
That’s all for this week. We look forward to a successful year and wish you one too.