This month, we welcomed Mikey Gavin to the Lisieux Trust team. He has joined us as a Deputy Supported Living Manager. Mikey brings over three years’ worth of care experience and knowledge, and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing some of the plans he has in store for the organisation.

We caught up with Mikey for a quick chat to learn a little bit more about him, his background, and what he has got planned in the pipeline.

 

Welcome to Lisieux Trust, Mikey! What will your new responsibilities include?

At the moment, I’m focussing on supporting our current Supported Living Manager, Brendan Griffith, all the tenants in supported living and all the supported living staff.

Where did you work before you joined us?

I had been working for another care provider for the last three years. I joined as a support worker, and was promoted to a team leader within 9 months. 11 months later, I was made a deputy manager.

That was my first role in the care industry. Before that, I was working in construction, which was completely different!

What drew you towards the world of learning disabilities and autism?

I have a nephew with autism; he helped me to learn a lot more about what autism is, and what people with autism need. When I first started working in the industry, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, though. My nephew has never really presented challenging behaviours, so that was something I had to learn to understand and manage.

What do you like most about working in the care industry?

The residents and tenants, definitely! They always know how to cheer me up. If I ever start a shift in a bad mood, I can always guarantee I’ll leave in a good mood.

What was your first impression of Lisieux Trust?

It’s like a family! Like one big family, where everyone supports each other. It’s great.

What has surprised you most about working at Lisieux Trust so far?

How close everyone is! I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s great how everyone knows each other; tenants and residents know each other, even though they live in different houses. There’s a good sense of community amongst everyone in the Trust.

I’ve also been really surprised by how long many of the staff have worked here. Some have been here for years and years, which really says a lot about the organisation!

What are you enjoying about your role so far?

I’m really enjoying just joining the environment. It’s a great place to be. I had my first sleep-in shift last

week, and it was really nice. It felt like I was just spending an evening with family.

What exciting plans have you got in the pipeline?

I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with revitalising our PBS (positive behaviour support). I have tonnes of experience with them, and think I can really help.

If you could give our residents and tenants one piece of wisdom, what would it be?

Keep doing what makes you happy!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m interested in sports, music, and all the typical things!

Lastly, what’s on your bucket list?

Make a bucket list! I don’t actually have one, but I think I should probably make one soon.

 

Lisieux Trust has officially closed its doors to the public. The Erdington-based Disability Information and Resource Centre had halted operations in March, in line with the Government’s coronavirus guidelines. Now, management has made the tough decision to keep the centre on Marsh Lane closed permanently.

Known locally as the DIRC, the centre opened over 13 years ago – an occasion attended by Sutton Coldfield’s former Lord Mayor, John Hood, and the late Lady Mayoress, Jean Hood – and has since been providing invaluable support services to people with disabilities and their families and carers. Clients of the centre relied on staff and volunteers to provide information and advice about disability-related benefits, and support with form-filling, finances, and IT skills, amongst other services. This support helped to equip people with disabilities with the knowledge and confidence to live more independently.

The decision comes after a series of fundraising efforts to help keep the centre running proved unsuccessful. Commenting, Jess Alsop-Greenacre, CEO at Lisieux Trust, said: “The decision to close the Disability Information and Resource Centre isn’t one we’ve made lightly.

“Over the 13 years of operating, we’ve welcomed over 5,000 people through our doors.  We’re all tremendously proud to have witnessed so many of our clients rightfully claiming their independence.”

The centre was originally born in 2006, following a cash influx, courtesy of a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The charity was awarded £166,000 to help get the Disability Information and Resource Centre up and running.

Jess continues: “The DIRC was initially awarded two years’ worth of funding. Following this, we were fortunate enough to secure further financial backing from other funding organisations, which has been instrumental in allowing us to operate for as long as we have.

“Unfortunately, as the latest of our funding drew to its end, we were unsuccessful in securing further backing that would allow us to continue providing our DIRC services.  For the last two years, we’ve been relying on our reserves to keep our doors open. As a not-for-profit organisation these reserves are limited, and we’re no longer in a position where this solution can continue to be viable.

“If we continue to use up our reserves, we risk threatening the quality of the other services we provide for people with learning disabilities, which is not something we’re willing to gamble on. It’s in our absolute best interest to redirect these resources to maintain the high-quality residential care and supported living services that we provide.

“We know the closure of the centre might concern some of the clients who visit it regularly. We’re already living through worrying times, and we don’t wish to add any further stress to those already experiencing vulnerabilities. As such, we’ve put provisions in place to help signpost service users to other local organisations that can help.

“We would urge anyone who’s worried about this decision to get in touch with us, so we can help point them in the right direction.”