Randall Close Day Centre (Leonard Cheshire) visit, 13 March 2018
As a South Londoner, it was only right that my first report was on my trip to the Randall Close Day Centre (managed by Leonard Cheshire) in Battersea, South West London. I was joined by my colleagues Paul Jackson and Tom Bull to present a cheque of £10,000 which will go towards purchasing a Biodex Unweighing Supporting System – an impressive piece of medical equipment that helps restore functional mobility. The Hospital Saturday Fund Patron, Lesley Garrett, took time out of her busy schedule to join us and hear all about the amazing work that goes on at Randall Close. We were shown around by William Joseph Gallagher, Manager and got to meet a number of attendees of the centre. William has been working there for 20 years and just from this one off meeting, it was clear to see he is hands on with his management and a big personality in the centre. On a personal note for William, and as a self-confessed fan of Lesley Garrett, it was a joy for him to meet one of his favourite music artists. It was also a bonus for the centre to have someone of Lesley’s stature visit and listen to a lot of accounts of all the work at the centre that has come about due to the grant money we have provided.
We learnt first-hand from one of the attendees at the centre how beneficial the service is and how it has improved several aspects of her life. Although development in a physical form is a major part of the work at the centre, it was mentioned that the emotional outcome is just as important. People with life changing disabilities would often attend the centre and leave with a positive outlook. This further demonstrated that rehabilitation often starts from within.
We later went to see the in-house gym as it were. It was a room filled with light exercise equipment, suited for the elderly and the disabled. We were able to see how the staff interact with the attendees and also got speaking to a few of them while we were in there. The staff and attendees were reflective of the area of Battersea – people from all backgrounds, in age, gender and race. Some of the staff also shared their own testimony and battles they had overcome, culminating in working at the Randall Close Day Centre. The testimonies we heard covered a range of subjects such as self-harm, depression and blindness. And I am happy to say in all cases, the people telling the stories are in a much better place right now and couple of them actually working at the Randall Close Day Centre.
Something that is close to my heart is a community outreach programme which I run on a voluntary basis. Thus, I was keen to hear if the centre interacted with their local community, which they do. They have lent their grounds to a local church to hire to hold activities for local children.
On presenting the cheque, we [The Hospital Saturday Fund] were awarded a ‘Crest of Wandsworth’ shield. It was a thank you gesture from Leonard Cheshire for all the work The Hospital Saturday Fund has done at the Randall Centre.
Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) is the UK’s leading charity for supporting disabled people. LCD supports disabled people in many ways including home care, supported rented accommodation, in residential homes, through respite services and in day centres such as Randall Close.
The Randall Close Day Centre, which is located in Battersea and has been managed by LCD since 1999. On average, 35 people per day with a range of physical disabilities, some of which include: cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease and stroke-related brain damage use the facilities in the centre. The majority of the service users at Randall Close fall within the 83% of disabled people who acquired their disability after birth and therefore a vital service is the rehabilitation.