We did it! Atherstone group wins community impact award

11 June 2018.

Members of Grapevine’s Atherstone Speaking Up group have won an award for their contribution to the community in North Warwickshire.

Award winners!

It was presented at the inaugural Volunteer Awards Evening 2018 held at Arley and St Michael’s Community Centre in Gun Hill, Arley last Wednesday (6 June).

The ceremony was organised by Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (WCAVA), Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council to celebrate and say thank you for the huge impact volunteers have on the lives of so many people living in the borough – all in their own time.

This impact includes improvements to the safety, wellbeing and quality of life of local communities.

Members of the Speaking Up group were delighted with their win – as you can see from the photograph!

The group is run by Grapevine on a monthly basis but is largely driven by its members who work on projects and campaigns all year round, even sitting at board level to have their say about big decisions on local services.

Atherstone Speaking Up is one of several similar groups for people with learning disabilities also taking place each month in Nuneaton, Rugby, Stratford and Leamington – spreading opportunities and influence far and wide across Warwickshire in partnership with Warwickshire County Council.

Amongst other things, the groups also get involved in the design of new public places so they are accessible to learning disabled people – such as the recently unveiled creative space at Nuneaton Library.

Other awards presented at the event included Long Service, Health and Wellbeing and Unsung Hero – both for individuals and groups. Four Special Recognition Awards were also handed out.

For more information on volunteering, visit WCAVA’s website.

Inclusive cities – a new era of action for inclusion

30 May 2018.

This Friday (1 June) our Grapevine CEO Clare Wightman takes to the stage again to talk about Grapevine’s ongoing work across Coventry and Warwickshire – this time at the Inclusion International World Congress in Birmingham.

Clare Wightman

This 17th World Congress takes place over three days (30 May – 1 June), bringing together people and organisations from all over the world to influence how inclusion can become a reality for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

The event, held at the International Convention Centre, will be a forum for self-advocates, families and professionals to learn from and inspire one another to achieve this mutual aim.

Clare’s topic on the event’s final day ‘Inclusive cities’, examines how people, families and organisations can form civic partnerships – working with political and professional leaders to make our cities better for everyone.

Here is an excerpt of the paper Clare will present for the first time at this event, co-written with Lucie Stephens and David Towell.

The ‘Cities for all’ research paper* includes an interesting and accurate reflection of part of Grapevine’s current work with learning disabled people. It was originally founded in 1994 as a project to offer a drop-in centre for people with intellectual disabilities.

If you would like to know more, read on!

Cities for all: Disabled people as partners in making our towns and cities better for everyone

“Put at its simplest, Grapevine is a team, at the heart of local communities, working to change things so that those at most risk of exclusion can help make their community a better, fairer and more welcoming place for everyone.”

“…Today we work with many others facing disadvantage: young people, migrants, families in crisis and many groups of disabled people and their families.

“…If people can get the resources they need and can make the best use of public services, then they can shape their own lives. At different stages of finding their own paths to community, people may need different kinds of support, all of which we try to make available. We characterise the main kinds of support as:

  • Partnership – Some people need someone along with them on the journey, at least for a while, to keep them strong and hopeful.
  • Preparation – Some people need help to prepare for personal change and transition, to get inspiration, support to plan or practical assistance.
  • Self-direction – Some people just need to access information and networks to find the right resources for themselves and their families.

“…Over [this] 20 years at Grapevine, citizen advocacy has become community advocacy. This is not just because the community is itself critical to every person’s ability to lead a valued life. It is also because the community needs these different voices and experiences in order to become fully itself.

“The goal is not just that the individual becomes part of the community; the goal is that the community becomes more truly what it should be, a place that welcomes, supports, and is in turn nourished by, all of its members.”

*Click here to read the full paper in the Centre for Welfare Reform’s library.

For more information about the Inclusion International World Congress click here.

 

Adventure Holly!

23 May 2018.

Can you think of a great day you’ve had? It might be a special birthday party, a trip to a theme park, a graduation, a birth, a wedding or the view from your sun lounger somewhere hot and relaxing.

For 20-year-old Holly, her ‘great day’ would be going to town on her own to meet her friends.

Refreshment break!

So this week, Grapevine’s Naomi took Holly on a little challenge around Coventry city centre – sitting in the places where she feels most anxious, navigating her way around the streets and locating which bus stop takes her back home. The trip began with a boost from some extra calories in a local coffee shop (pictured).

These seemingly simple tasks and freedoms are taken for granted by so many but for Holly, who has a learning disability, they can feel quite daunting. She’s never been to town without her parents.

Naomi and Holly’s next outing on ‘Adventure Holly’ will be returning to town to try going into a few shops and perhaps buying one or two items. This will help build Holly’s confidence in dealing with people and using money.

This time, Holly will meet Naomi in town and walk to the meeting point from her bus stop. She’s chosen a place where she’s comfortable to meet, not too far away from where the bus drops her off.

If she can conquer these challenges one at a time, her ‘great day’ might grow closer to becoming a reality. But Naomi will guide her each step of the way, at Holly’s own pace.

Holly’s adventure is being made possible through our Help and Connect project which aims to give local people with a learning disability the opportunities, connections and confidence to create building blocks towards a better, more independent future.

Good and Bad Help

Purpose and confidence can transform lives. We know this but how do we know that what we’re doing has a positive, sustainable effect on people and communities?

Helping for the sake of helping can sometimes result in ‘bad help’ that offers short term fixes and fails to hand the reins back to individuals when they’re ready to take over.

This is what the Good Help Project hopes to clarify. The brainchild of Nesta, a global innovation foundation that backs new ideas to tackle big challenges, the project is bringing together case studies from all over the UK to help create a ‘good practice guide for good help’.

Grapevine is one of those case studies – alongside organisations such as The Stroke Association, British Lung Foundation, Mayday Trust, Whizz Kidz and many more. We’ve shared how our work in supporting young people with learning disabilities and the communities in which they live aims to enable everyone to get free of service dependency.

Clare spoke at the launch event in early February and hopes this project might signal a sea-change in the way social programmes are designed and delivered. The project’s seven characteristics of ‘good help’ will also provide public services with a barometer check on how they’re currently delivering these programmes.

Clare will also judge the forthcoming ‘Good Help Awards’ to search out the best of the best in services that are helping people take action.

Read more here: https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/good-help

Coventry Youth Activists LIVE on the BBC

Yesterday Molly and Niamh chLive On Airatted to Viv Minett about our TeenVine Plus Project and Coventry Youth Activists

They are on the look out for a sofa, preferably on wheels for an event they are hosting in the City Centre on Tuesday 20th February called ‘CYA on the Sofa’

Listen in to the show to find out more details and to see how you can get involved, tune in at 1hr 14mins

If you can help with the sofa call or email Molly

Good and Bad Help

Our CEO, Clare Wightman, will be a keynote speaker on Tuesday 6 February when national innovation foundation Nesta and social impact lab OSCA bring together practitioners, policy makers, thinkers and funders in London to launch the Good Help report.

Major public service challenges – such as in social care, youth unemployment and long-term health conditions – require people to take action themselves. But many public services fail to work with people’s own sense of purpose and undermine rather than develop the confidence the need to do it.

Good Help explores great examples of how good services give people more control of their lives. It describes Grapevine helping others achieve their own personal goals by connecting them with people across the community.

 You can join the debate by viewing the live stream of the event at www.nesta.org.uk from 6pm, and by using the hashtag #Good&badhelp on Twitter. 

 

TeenVine Plus Family Get Together

In no particular order: Soup, dreams, families and a working microphone – Key ingredients for a successful get together.

Last night at Backhaus & Co there was a gathering of families brought together by our TeenVine Plus team.

We challenged them to think about the moral of the story told by Coleman.

Coleman telling his story

This set the scene for us to think about dreaming big for the lives of the TeenVine Plus young people.

One of the young people, Jacob, who is also one of our Coventry Youth Activis

ts, shared that his dream was to see and feel fairness. We couldn’t agree more!

If you would like to find out more about our TeenVine Plus Project follow along on FaceBook or Twitter

 

 

Call Out For Young Campaigners

Coventry Youth Activists
Coventry Youth Activists are looking to expand their team

Coventry Youth Activists are a group of young people who are passionate about making change happen.

Their aim is to bring disabled and non-disabled young people together to lead on campaigns and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

If you are aged 13-18 and interested in getting involved please get in touch with Molly at Grapevine on 0247631040 or mgillespie@grapevinecovandwarks.org

 

Looking for work? Need support?

Accelerate your journey into work
Coleman has started working alongside Alex on the Accelerate team. That means we can now help more people wanting paid work.
If you or someone you know could benefit then send Coleman an email or give him a call: ckerr@grapevinecovandwarks.org 024 7663 1040
“Accelerate is a free employment support service that can build your confidence, give you training, improve your skills and provide valuable work experience – all geared towards helping you find a job that suits you.
We specialise in supporting people who would like to work but for various reasons find it hard to get a job and enjoy all the benefits that employment brings. We offer practical help to deal with problems that have been holding you back including covering the costs of childcare and subsidised travel while you’re accessing our service.
Accelerate is a partnership of 23 local organisations providing co-ordinated employment support to people who are at a disadvantage when looking for work.
Our partnership includes training providers, charities, housing associations, disability support, women’s only services, wellbeing and mental health organisations, enterprise start-up, childcare providers, local authorities, community radio and employer networks.
Project Aims
* Helping those furthest from the labour market towards and into employment
* Providing the means through which disadvantaged people become job ready
* Assisting participants to access learning, training and job opportunities
* Enabling participants to overcome barriers to employment
* Supporting those with complex barriers move closer to employment
* Providing holistic support including financial inclusion, employment skills and basic skills
* Targeted, flexible and individualised support
* Connection across the partnership
* Geographically accessible
* Connected partnership, ensuring participants access full range of services
Key target groups:
People who are unemployed or economically inactive including  but not limited to:
* Lone parents
* Non-custodial offenders/ex-offenders
* People with physical and mental ill health
* BAME communities
* People with substance misuse issues
* People needing basic literacy and numeracy skills
* People with ESOL needs
* People with disabilities
Grapevine’s Accelerate team mainly work with people with a learning disability but we can refer people on to other Accelerate partners.”