On Friday 20 May, Francis House staff and residents welcomed MP Andrew Mitchell through the residential care home’s doors.

The visit marked a celebration of Lisieux Trust’s fantastic achievement, whereby the care organisation was presented with The Employer Award at the 2021 Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards.

MP Mitchell made the visit to learn more about Lisieux Trust and how the award came about. In fact, he admitted quite early on into his visit that this was not his first encounter with the charity.

He said: “I learnt about Lisieux Trust quite early on after being elected as MP. I visited shortly after I was elected, which was around 20 years ago.”

As part of the national accolade, Lisieux Trust was recognised for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting on this, Mary Heap, Registered Manager at Francis House, told MP Mitchell: “We did amazing in the pandemic. We did have some Covid cases across the organisation, but we handled it well, and received lots of support from Head Office. We were very lucky.”

Lisieux Trust further impressed the MP by showcasing its commitment to residents’ and tenants’ safety. When asked why employees continued to wear masks in the property, MP Mitchell was advised that Lisieux Trust teams would be continuing to wear PPE for the foreseeable future, based on guidance provided by the Government.

In response to this, MP Mitchell commented: “It’s a good reminder that you’re taking Covid seriously!”

Mr Mitchell further went on to celebrate the award achievement. Speaking of the award win, he said: “It’s a good feather in the cap!”

As well as this, MP Andrew Mitchell was keen to learn of the charity’s upcoming plans, and gain an understanding of how Sutton Coldfield could improve to better the lives of Lisieux Trust’s residents and tenants.

John Gillon, Deputy Manager at Francis House, used the opportunity to discuss the limited opportunities for learning-disabled adults in the Sutton Coldfield area.

He said: “There used to be an Adult Education Centre local to Francis House. This has now gone, and it hasn’t been replaced; it means our residents have lost placements. As a result, there is a real struggle to find meaningful placements for our people.”

Adding to this, Jess Alsop-Greenacre, CEO at Lisieux Trust, raised concerns over housing in the area. She advised that the recently introduced Article 4 Direction means that it has become increasingly difficult to secure more properties for care use in Sutton Coldfield.

Commenting on this, she said: “Housing is a real issue in Sutton Coldfield. The introduction of Article 4 has affected us, as we’re being told that Sutton Coldfield’s priority is family housing. This, of course, is not the type of housing we provide.

“A safe location is important to us, and Sutton Coldfield provides that, which makes the area ideal. Sadly, planning permissions means that we are experiencing great difficulty in accessing more properties in the area, which is hugely disappointing.”

For Francis House resident, MC, MP Mitchell’s visit was an opportunity to gain some advice on pursuing a career in politics.

MC is an avid Conservative supporter, and regularly facilitates the party’s local canvassing efforts.

He was keen to ask MP Mitchell how he could secure a role in the political world, and whether there were any particular courses to pursue.

Advising on this, MP Mitchell said: “You don’t need qualifications. All of life is politics. Academic courses are usually about political history. Politics should draw in people from all walks of life.”

Mr Mitchell then went on to query what MC would implement, should he become Prime Minister.

With a keen interest in mental health, MC admitted that he would aim to improve mental health services in the country, which was met with support from the politician.

After imparting further wisdom, MP Mitchell was offered a tour of Francis House by resident, EB, before being directed to the kitchen where a buffet had been prepared by employees.

While here, MP Mitchell learnt that Francis House residents are regularly involved in preparing meals for each other, and make a daily habit of eating as a household.

The MP also used this time to find out more about Lisieux Trust’s CEO, Jess Alsop-Greenacre; taking particular interest in how she manages her time as leader of an 11 property organisation.

Through this, MP Mitchell learnt that Jess operates from Lisieux Trust’s Head Office on a daily basis, but visits at least one service a week.

She further advised that Lisieux Trust’s Head of Operations, Alison O’Meara, makes regular trips to each of the organisation’s services throughout the week.

Having learnt all there is to know about Lisieux Trust, MP Mitchell invited residents and staff to the front of Francis House, where he coordinated a photograph.

Residents then sent the MP on his way, with a homemade cupcake in tow.

Bidding farewell, resident MC took the opportunity to declare: “I look forward to working for you!”

Meet Samantha. She joined our team of Support Workers in February 2022, and has been thoroughly enjoying her role, working within one of our residential care homes.

 

Here, she provides insight into just what makes her role so fantastic.

 

 

I am a support worker at one of Lisieux Trust’s residential care homes. A support worker role is nothing like an office job; there is no set day-to-day routine. Every day can be different, but with the same goal – to make a positive change in people’s life.

Although I have only been with Lisieux Trust for less than a month, I have felt welcomed and included since the first day of my role. I remember the first day, coming to work, I was nervous and worried about what the role would entail. However, through training and support from the Trust, my managers, and other support workers, my knowledge and skills as a support worker have been growing rapidly day by day.

During a morning shift, I normally start off providing personal care to residents, through verbal prompts or direct support, depending on what the individual needs. After that, some of the staff will help to administer medication while other staff members will start completing different domestic tasks, such as laundry, cleaning, and preparing food. We work as a team to deliver the best support.

The residents have their own schedule every day. Some of them may want to go shopping, some of them may want to go for a walk, and some of them may have work during the day. As a support worker, I will go out with them sometimes.

For example, I may be required to walk a resident to work and pick them up when they finish, due to safety reasons. Other times, we may just go walking around in the neighbourhood. We talk and laugh just like any other people. It may sound ordinary, but it could be enough to make their day.

In my evening shift, we tend to stay in the house at the project I work in. However, it does not mean that there is nothing to do. Sometimes, we do colouring together, we talk about football, about family, or even politics.

At teatime, we prepare meals. Sometimes I provide residents with personal care support as well. As mentioned, it depends on what the residents need. There is always something to do.

Each resident has a different nighttime routine. For instance, some of them like to spend time in their room using their iPad before bed, and some of them may like to spend time in the lounge with others until they want to go to bed.At the house that I am based at, the residents often have a cup of hot chocolate together before bed.

As well as physical support, I do have to complete some paperwork too. These can be daily records about what has happened during the shift, and any other information that other support workers may need to know about what has happened in a resident’s day.

Before I joined Lisieux Trust, I had been a support worker for a year within another organisation. After relocating, and seeing vacancies within Lisieux Trust,I decided to be a support worker again; despite being offered a number of roles outside of care. This is because of the huge sense of job satisfaction I get in this position.

From my perspective, being a support worker is not a job to just support others, but also improve yourself. In this role, you are able to enhance yourself in different aspects, such as communication skills, interpretation skills, confidence and leadership. When you are making a positive difference in people’s lives, you are also making a positive change in yourself.

 

 

On 21 September, Lisieux Trust held a Pride Tea party at its head office, which proved to be a roaring success amongst attendees.

Lisieux Trust loves to host different social events, particularly after many months of not being able to do so.

Going forward, Lisieux Trust is committed to holding a social event each month; either at the Lisieux Trust Head Office or a specialist venue to allow all of our residents, tenants and employees to experience a sense of community.

Other recent events include a disco and a Halloween themed karaoke ‘Fright Night’.

So, to coincide with Birmingham Pride which took place over the weekend of 25 and 26 September, CEO Jess Alsop-Greenacre felt it appropriate for us to host our very own pride event.

After all, Lisieux Trust is all about being welcoming and celebrating diversity.

Head Office was suitably decorated with rainbow flags everywhere.

Our people are at the heart of the Trust and we are always willing to listen to ideas from all quarters on how to improve the service provided.

So, it was great to have a couple of our residents and tenants involved in the creation of the pride event.

The party was tenant HH’s idea, and Francis House resident EB helped to design the flyer for the event which helped greatly in attracting people.

Jess Alsop-Greenacre said: “It was an idea we’ve had for a while, and now just felt like the right time for it. We have never celebrated Pride before as an organization, and now it will be an annual event.

“We want to hold inclusive events here at the Trust as it is what we are all about. And, it is a good excuse for a party, isn’t it?”

Well, party our people did.

Everyone had a good time, eating plenty of rainbow cake, posing for photos in the photobooth, and fashioning lots of temporary tattoos.

HH, who was the brainchild behind the party, said, “I really liked the idea. Everyone should be proud of who they are.

“I really liked the photobooth- it meant I could show off my tattoos.”

Unfortunately, for covid reasons, Jess felt it wasn’t right to go for one of the more typical aspects of celebrating pride; namely face painting.

However, the alternative of the tattoos went down an absolute treat.

The tattoos were pride themed with hearts and rainbows a plenty.

One of the Trust’s support workers, Donna Edwards, was integral in ensuring all who wanted tattoos managed to get them on.

Reflecting on the event, Jess said: “The main message was for everyone to be themselves – whoever they are – and be comfortable at work or whether they’re being supported by us.

“Overall, difference and diversity make us stronger.”

Employer of the year, anybody?

That’s right – Lisieux Trust is proud to have been recognised as Employer of the Year at the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards, which took place on Friday 29 October.

The last 18 months have been exceptionally trying for all, and as an organisation we have put all of our very best efforts into maintaining the safety and wellbeing of all of our people.

We believe it is this unwavering commitment that has led to us being recognised with such a highly acclaimed title at the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards.

The Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities, and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisations who excel in providing quality care.

With this in mind, we can not celebrate this award without acknowledging our incredible staff team, who have powered through admirably during such a challenging period of their career.

We’re incredibly grateful to have a strong team who we could rely on to help cultivate a culture of care and fulfilment for residents and tenants.

In their verdict, the award judges said: “The team representing the Lisieux Trust demonstrated a passion for their work force and tenant group, that was palpable.

“They gave numerous examples of enhanced support to staff during the last year and throughout the pandemic.

“They have utilised creative resources to provide online activities to tenants, providing and changing their approaches to management and support, and meet the needs of staff and tenants.

“Their articulated effective team working, and approaches were inspiring!”

It’s true – we definitely saw some great creativity with the approach to caring for our residents and tenants throughout the pandemic, which had been implemented from all levels of the organisation.

For instance, during the various lockdowns, online activities were introduced for our residents and tenants to stay active and engaged during a difficult time.

Not only this but our staff teams ensured there were plenty of activities to get involved with, to ensure our people were constantly occupied.

We were incredibly impressed by the efforts of all of our team, and the passion and appreciation apparently shone through during our shortlisting interview.

The judges were also impressed with the enhanced benefits package we afford to our teams.

Last year, acknowledging the declining mental health of our team, we made the decision to provide all our team with access to a specialist health plan scheme.

This was brought in place to allow employees to claim back the cost of health-related expenses and receive up to six face-to-face counselling sessions.

Employees have also been in receipt of treats, vouchers, and a one-off bonus, by way of senior managers displaying their appreciation during the challenging times.

All of these factors contributed towards the decision for Lisieux Trust to be recognised as Employer of the Year.

Jess Alsop-Greenacre, CEO of Lisieux Trust, was ecstatic at the news of the award win.

She said: “At a time where the morale within the care sector is at an all-time low, I am so proud that our team is being recognised for our tremendous work and efforts.

“Over the course of the last 18 months, nurturing a positive workforce has been crucial and, as such, our senior management team have explored many avenues to ensure our team feel supported and appreciated.

“We’re exceptionally proud to have this commitment recognised on a national level.

“We had a fabulous night at the award ceremony. It was a great chance for some of our team to celebrate after the gloom of the last two years!

“In all, I am so, so proud!”

Nine members of the Lisieux Trust community were invited to attend the awards ceremony, which took place at The ICC in Birmingham.

CEO Jess Alsop-Greenacre, Chairman Kevin Nagle, Director Helen Shields, Head of HR & Admin Joanne Bongiovi, Registered Managers Denise Barrett and Brendan Griffith, and Support Workers Rich Hall, Naz Halil, and Pat Smith all represented the organisation at the event.

They were treated to a three course meal, and danced the night away.

The group say it was a great opportunity to be amongst others within the sector, and all agreed that it was a brilliant night.

Overall, we’re incredibly proud of the award win.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us and represented us as an organisation.

It’s certainly a fantastic time to be a part of the Lisieux Trust community!

On Thursday 16th September, 26 employees from The Co-Operative Bank visited Lisieux Trust to get stuck into some volunteering, giving our garden a much-needed revamp.

The volunteers very kindly gifted the Trust with a greenhouse, ensuring that even with the colder, damper weather, our residents and tenants can continue to partake in gardening club.

The new addition will aid in enabling residents and tenants to obtain new gardening skills, and strengthen relationships with others along the way.

With excitement about the garden project growing throughout Lisieux Trust,  interest in the Gardening Club has soared, with new tenants keen to join.

On top of the greenhouse, the volunteers put in some hard graft to improve our garden in a plethora of ways, including fences being creosoted, our pergola and hand rails receiving a lick of paint, and bushes being pruned. With the pergola area having had a base coat of paint, it is now up to the Gardening Club to decide which colour the area is to receive its final coat in.

All being well, the pergola area will be used as a nice spot to relax and take in the view and summer rays, come the better weather.

At the heart of Lisieux Trust’s Gardening Club is our very own Gardener/Groundsman, Keith Latham, who said: “The hard work of the volunteers has helped us to make so much progress in just one day. It’s very much appreciated, and it really means a lot to us all.”

The volunteering day came about as a result of our strong relationship with The Co-operative Bank, which has lasted for over a decade. As a part of The Co-Op Bank’s commitment to CSR, each year, a Co-op Bank Relationship Manager will nominate a client to benefit from a volunteering day.

This isn’t the first time that we have greatly benefitted from being selected as part of the initiative. In 2012, we had a team of 12 who kindly decorated one of our supported living properties.

Lisiuex Trust was again nominated in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic.

It was our Head of Finance, Carole Aston, who organised the event and was very pleased with how the event panned out.

She said: “The Improvements that have been made are beyond what we had hoped for. All the volunteers really enjoyed supporting Lisieux Trust, and are always eager to return.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to all The Co-Operative Bank volunteers for their time and effort. We really appreciate being chosen for another volunteering day.

“I’d like to say a special thank you to Adam Burke for twice nominating Lisieux Trust, and Gill Berry for organising the day.”

To ensure you’re always up to date on our garden, follow us on our social media pages and look out for #LisieuxTrustGardenProject for weekly updates on the progress we are making.

 

We’re very proud to announce that one of our tenants, Jo, has won gold in a ski competition.

On Sunday 12th September, Jo was involved in a competition at The Brentwood Centre in Bromley. She competed as a part of the West Midlands Ski Group, of which she has been a part of for many years.

Despite having won not one, but two medals in the competition, Jo already is showing her winning mentality by being laser focused on the next competition.

She said: “I was really happy with my performance. It will be good practice for the World Games in 2023.”

Here, she will be representing the West Midlands in the Special Olympics World Winter Games, which will be available to watch on ESPN.

Like many things over the last 18 months, the Winter Games was postponed due to the pandemic, with it being pushed back to January 2023, having originally been scheduled for the previous year.

Taking place In Kazan, Russia, the games will see 2,000 athletes from over 100 nations gather to create acceptance and inclusion through sport, volunteerism, education and health.

This wasn’t Jo’s first successful competitive outing, having finished in the top 3 in the Nationals. The last national competition was in Switzerland, before the pandemic, whereby Jo was in the opening ceremony.

Jo delved into what first piqued her interest in the sport, with her mom booking a private lesson for the future champ at the Snowdome in Tamworth.

She was Instantly gripped by the setting, saying: “I loved the scenery. The scenery was fantastic- it was like the picture of a Christmas card.”

Eddie the Eagle was there as well, which did help massively in capturing Jo’s imagination.

As with any great athlete, Jo had some advice to inspire the next generation, saying anybody who is interested should: “train and go to competitions. If you do well, you can achieve like me. It’s a really good sport to join.”

Discussing the necessary grit and determination to improve in her sport, she spoke of her initial difficulties: “When I first joined the Special Olympics – a long time ago – I found it hard but I got used to it. I’m in the intermediates group now.”

Congrats Jo, and good luck for 2023. We know you’ll do us proud!

So, you’re considering a career in care? Read on…

If you want a job where no two days are the same, then a career in the care sector is worth considering. If you’re looking for a position that is both challenging but incredibly rewarding, then care work may be for you.

To have a fulfilling career in care, you don’t necessarily have to have vast amounts of qualifications or experience; meaning that a care job may be more accessible than you think. Even if you do have experience, every environment and individual is different and will require adapted working styles, so adaptability and resilience are both crucial qualities to possess.

Here, we breakdown just what it takes to be a serious contender for a career in the care industry.

 

Preparation

When it comes to interviewing, of course dressing appropriately and looking the part is important, but most employers will ultimately be impressed with your knowledge of the role.

It is important that, going into the care interview, you understand the roles and responsibilities of the care worker position, as well as the values of the company. Researching this beforehand will allow you to confidently navigate your interview, and will showcase your commitment to the role.

When responding to questions, try to remain relaxed. Practicing your responses to commonly asked questions in preparation for your interview may help with this; allowing you to respond confidently on the day.

Here are some samples of questions that could be asked. However, remember each interviewer is different:

Now, let’s cover some of the more tricky questions.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

In an interview, we are keen to impress, so it is understandable that you may want to list off a dozen strengths to your interviewer. However, still be prepared to have an open conversation about your weaknesses too. An employer wants to see that you can recognise your own areas of personal development, and have a solution for them too.

What qualities can you bring to the job role?

This question is all about you and why you think you’d be ideal for the job role, so, don’t be afraid to really sell yourself! This is what Jo Bongiovi, Head of HR Admin at Lisieux Trust, recommends:

“Transparency and honesty are important qualities to show in an interview, as they are qualities of a good person. I don’t look for any particular personality, but I do look for somebody with a warm energy. I look for somebody that is enthusiastic, and shows they have a passion to work in care.”

Can you give me an example of a time when you have actively participated in a team?

Teamwork is crucial in care. In high pressure situations, it’s important that your colleagues can rely on you, and vice versa. Your ability to work succinctly in a team will ultimately impact the outcomes received by the people in your care.

Good teamwork is formed by different elements such as good communication skills, ideas, support, and efficiency. Giving examples of how you’ve used these elements, or how you would use these elements, will truly show you understand the importance and impact of good teamwork.

Why do you want to work here?

As a care worker, you will be responsible for some of society’s most vulnerable. Your answer to this question will tell the employer a lot about you as a person and your intentions.

Working in care requires a person to be naturally compassionate and caring. Be prepared for the fact that working in care isn’t always glamorous, so pursuing such a role isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Think about all the reasons why you chose to pursue this particular opportunity, and be sure to show that honesty and authenticity during your interview.

 

Knowledge

The two most common questions brought up in a care interview are typically based around legislation and safeguarding. Both are incredibly important things you need to be aware of and understand when working in care.

The care industry is based on lots of ever-changing legislation. These form a standard to ensure that individuals who require support are being supported correctly.

Safeguarding is the action of protecting somebody in a vulnerable group. As a care worker, it will be your responsibility to report and intervene (where safe) any type of harm or abuse directed at the people you support.

Preparing responses that show your understanding of this will truly help to set you apart.

 

Flexibility

Being a care worker isn’t a 9-5 job, as care will always be required outside of office hours. It’s important to be aware that most care roles won’t come with regular shift patterns, and will require you to sometimes work unsociable hours, so flexibility is key.

Your day-to-day duties will differ hugely, and priorities will often change at the drop of the hat. Demonstrating your adaptability is important, as this will evidence your dependability.

Ready to kickstart your care career? If you think you have what it takes to be a successful care worker, visit www.lisieuxtrust.org.uk/work-for-us to learn more about our current vacancies.

 

 

We are extremely proud to announce that Lisieux Trust resident, Janet, has completed a Marathon!

Starting on 1 June 2021, Janet committed to pacing steps towards the 26.2 mile mark around her Care Home. With Janet’s disability reducing her mobility, she made the decision to complete the course in small daily stints.

With Janet’s mobility in mind, the challenge was gruelling for Janet, but each day she woke up, determined to reach her goal.

On 30 June 201, Janet took her final step over the finishing line; cheered on by her Support Workers and fellow residents.

Janet had dreamed of completing a Marathon for a very long time. She brought the idea to her Key Worker, Emma McEvilly, who helped Janet to come up with a plan to achieve this goal.

Both understood that the achievement wouldn’t come without its challenges, but they were driven by Janet’s unwavering motivation to make her Mum proud.

Janet completed the marathon for her Mother, who has Dementia. She took on the challenge to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society; a cause very close to her heart.

Janet had hoped to raise £500 for the charity. However, touching many with her story and commitment, she has so far managed to raise a huge £1,065.

To celebrate her fantastic achievement, Janet was awarded a certificate and medal from the Lisieux Trust team. Alzheimer’s Society further gifted Janet with two t-shirts and a medal for her support, which Janet has loved wearing.

It is hoped that in the coming weeks, the achievement will be properly celebrated with a garden party within Lisieux Trust.

Speaking of her achievement, Janet said: “I am really proud of myself.  I’ve always wanted to do a Marathon. Now, I’m thinking about what to do next!”

To contribute to Janet’s fundraiser, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/janet-wakeham

 

 

 

A parent from within the Lisieux Trust community has completed a Captain Tom Challenge to raise funds for Lisieux Trust.

Bob Bright, father of a Lisieux Trust tenant, committed to fundraising by taking on a golf challenge.

He set out to chip 100 golf balls into a bucket from 10 metres away, and invited sponsors to guess how long it would take for him to achieve this goal.

The inspiration came after Bob had seen a TV clip of Captain Tom’s daughter, welcoming Brits to take part in a fundraising challenge. He saw this as an opportunity to support the organisation looking after his son.

Having experienced some hiccups during his training, peers appeared to show little faith in Bob’s abilities.

He said: “I found straight away that any balls that went into the bucket bounced straight out.

“I sent out mails to friends, relatives, and to many playing colleagues at Wishaw Golf Club. The response was great; although some had very little faith in my chipping ability.

“Time predictions varied from two hours and 48 minutes, through to 18 hours and 46 minutes.”

Wanting to perfect his swing, Bob sought support from a golf professional.

Bob said: “I have golf lessons at Lea Marston. Ben Challis changed my chipping technique and this improved my success rate enormously.”

On Saturday 1 May at 1000 hours, Bob started his challenge.

He said: “My better-half, Helen, had gone shopping and when she got back, she looked in the bucket and reckoned there was 100 in the bucket already.

“I stopped the clock and we started counting.

“There were 110 balls in the bucket!”

Despite predictions from his peers expecting a lengthy battle, Bob managed to complete his feat in just one hour and 40 minutes.

Thanks to Bob’s fantastic efforts, he managed to raise £500 for Lisieux Trust, which has been gratefully received. It is expected to be used towards an exciting activity for Lisieux Trust residents and tenants.

To find out more about how you can donate to Lisieux Trust, please visit www.lisieuxtrust.org.uk/donate. For more information on fundraising for us, head to www.lisieuxtrust.org.uk/fundraising.

 

 

 

 

 

Following months of restrictions, it is with great delight that we were able to recommence Lisieux Trust’s Gardening Club this month.

 

The Club – which convenes weekly on a Friday – is responsible for the ongoing transformation of the Head Office garden, which has seen the previously untouched land being turned into a fruitful allotment.

 

 

The former pram shed is being converted into a beautiful pergola.

 

This year, the project will centre around converting an old pram shed into a beautiful, cosy pergola. It is expected to be enjoyed by residents, tenants, employees, and visitors during the summer sunshine.

 

The garden project began in June 2020, but as a result of the series of lockdown measures implemented across the country, activities were forced to a halt in October 2020.

 

Speaking of the decision to reinstate the club, Keith Latham, Groundsman and session leader, said: “It has been fantastic seeing the guys on a Friday again. The response has been positive overall, with everyone having fun, working together on the project.

 

“It’s great that the guys are outdoors again; it has brought back a sense of normality after spending a lot of time stuck at home.”

 

Residents and tenants have enjoyed being back in the outdoors

 

With some regular day activities and classes still yet to resume, the reinstatement of the Club has been met positively among our learning disabled and autistic community. For those who have been shielding for much of the year, the Garden Project has acted as a first move towards resuming an essence of routine and normality.

 

Updates on the progress of our Garden Project can be seen online, with regular photos being uploaded onto Lisieux Trust’s Facebook and Instagram pages.