Although it is possible to run the Lighthouse Activity Group on a tight budget, it is often the case that the trips and activities we organise are not always up to the standard we believe that these service-users deserve. The donation received from The Hospital Saturday Fund allowed Epilepsy Scotland to provide the best support possible to service-users in the group.
During the summer months we took the group to Loch Lomond for a boat trip, followed by lunch. In the absence of this additional funding, we still would have organised this boat trip; however, to keep costs down, we would have been forced to travel there by bus and then by train.
Instead, we used part of the Hospital Saturday Fund donation to hire a minibus, which improved the day significantly. It gave us more time to enjoy our day, but it also meant that service-users could relax and did not have to worry about having a seizure at the train station and possibly missing the train.
One of the older group members with mobility issues was able to sit with his friends, rather than in the separate wheelchair area on public transport. We even had the freedom to sing along to some our favourite songs as we drove along the road. The ease of travelling by minibus meant we had plenty of time and energy to go for lunch afterwards, before making our way back to Glasgow.
The Hospital Saturday Fund donation has allowed us to make small, yet significant improvements to the activities we offer service-users, resulting in more meaningful, memorable and enjoyable experiences. Please accept our sincerest thanks for this generous donation.
In August (through to October) the group began their training in Award Level 3 in education.
The Hospital Saturday Fund contributed £2,000 to the cost of this training. Training was provided by Workers’ Education Association (WEA). The group have now completed their coursework and accreditation portfolios have been sent by WEA to the accreditation body.
The trainer has advised that it is expected that at least six people from the group should be successful in gaining the Award Level 3 in Education.The key outcome of the overall funding received from Mercers’ Charity, HENCEL and Hospital Saturday Fund is that the group are now ready to register as an independent Community Interest Company (CIC) to take forward their long term vision to ‘create a self- sustaining training social enterprise which can offer training to Councils, NHS and Social Care providers, the private sector e.g. Tesco’s / Marks and Spencer’.
On behalf of the group, Hackney CVS wishes to thank the trustees of the Hospital Saturday Fund for their contribution which has led to their skills and readiness to take forward their CIC.
The Forest of Dean Children’s Opportunity Centre
The new washrooms
Having received £2000 from the Hospital Saturday Fund as a start for our fundraising efforts for this project we worked on new applications and by early summer 2017 had raised the funds required to be able to appoint a contractor to do the work.
I have no doubt that the early award from the Hospital Saturday Fund made that fundraising more effective.The new washrooms replace three, 30-year cubicles and hand wash basins with four new cubicles and hand wash basins, one of the new cubicles being larger to accommodate a wheelchair, walking frame or a support worker.
Alongside the new cubicles there is a changing area with an electric, high/low changing table and storage units for changing nappies. The changing table is mobile so can be taken to other parts of the Centre if needed. The work was undertaken by local contractors over the 2017 summer holidays when the Centre was closed for three weeks to allow the work to take place.
As can be seen from the picture above, the new washrooms are light and bright, the walls, floor and ceiling are sealed and easy to clean so the whole area is hygienic preventing possible cross infection.The sinks are at different levels and the higher sink will allow wheelchair access directly opposite the larger of the four cubicles. The soap dispensers are positioned so that all children can reach one as are the hand towel dispensers, hand towels being used in preference to hand driers due to the noise of a hand drier not being good for children with autistic spectrum disorders and due to the washrooms being alongside the main playroom.
The care suite
The care suite is shown with its new changing table and open shelving to store the various nappies, wipes and spare clothes we keep for the children. This area has been decorated with wildlife images as it is here that children lie to be changed. The design of the new table allows for a mobile hoist to be used or it can be lowered close to the floor so that a crawling child can climb on and then raised to a comfortable position for staff.
Having the new washrooms has made a big difference to our Centre. The children are much more independent now, most can use the toilets and wash their hands themselves, those that can’t, have a comfortable and friendly changing area to get a nappy changed. Staff have found that changing children in nappies is much easier and more dignified for the child and that children who can wash their own hands do so more readily because they can easily reach soap and sinks.
For us the big difference made to the project by the Hospital Saturday Fund grant was that having the grant relatively early in the project meant we could show we had the support of a well-known and trusted organisation for this project and we are sure that this prompted the other funders to support us, meaning we raised all of the funds required in a relatively short space of time and could build the new washrooms and care suite this summer.
Competing the project has meant an easier and more comfortable environment for the most basic of human functions for all our children whatever their mobility needs.