Certitude releases Gender Pay Report

Certitude has conducted a review of its gender pay gap statistics as at 5th April 2018.

The information has been considered by the Board and Leadership Team and we are pleased to report a low pay gap across the organisation, which reflects our commitment to diversity and equality across the organisation. Our overall gender split in the workforce is 72% female; 28% male. We are reassured that our results reflect this split across the quartiles.

We are pleased that our results have remained consistent with last year, maintaining our low level of pay gap, as outlined below. We are proud of the diversity of our organisation, including our gender diversity. Whilst our workforce has a greater proportion of men than is generally reported for the Health and Social care sector as a whole, we continue to ensure our recruitment strategy recognises the importance of attracting men into the organisation across all roles.

We strive to make the lives of the people we support better by delivering high quality support by a workforce that is engaged, reflective of those we support and who feel valued and rewarded by their employer and the work that we do. 

You can read the full report here.

Accentuate the positive – New report references Certitude’s positive practices for staff wellbeing

Certitude has recently been highlighted for creating a happy and healthy workforce in a new report by the Positive Practice in Mental Health Collaborative (PPiMH) and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH).

PPiMH brings together NHS Trusts, third-sector providers and front-line charities to identify and disseminate positive practice in mental health services, as well as raising the profile of mental health with politicians and policy makers. NCCMH develops guidance for the mental health sector, working with bodies such as  NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The report highlights that for the sector to deliver exceptional mental health support, it needs well supported, happy, healthy staff. The report also indicates that staff burnout is a substantial challenge in mental health services and 43% of mental health staff point to work-related stress as a reason for sickness absence. According to the report, “good staff health improves morale, job satisfaction and wellbeing.”

Recommendations for creating a happy workplace are included in the report with Certitude referenced for best practice in several of them. These recommendations include:

  • Organisations should have a clear strategy for engaging their staff in their work and the wider organisation, including shared values and goals
  • Organisations should work towards improving the working lives of staff, regularly monitoring and measuring staff health and wellbeing to ensure continuous improvement
  • Organisations should look at different ways to recruit staff, including the use of social media, visits to universities, colleges and schools, and the introduction of childcare support via shared creche facilities
Certitude’s Hirila Rose addresses the room at the House of Commons

“When I first joined Certitude, I was taken aback by how happy staff were to work for the organisation,” says Liz Durrant, Director of Mental Health for Certitude. “I met colleagues who have worked for Certitude for many years who told me they feel valued and respected and that they work for an organisation they are proud of. I think this sense of pride and engagement plays a big part in the wellbeing and happiness of our staff, as displayed by our staff engagement survey – with 79% of respondents telling us they are proud to work for Certitude.”

The report was officially launched at the House of Commons on 27 February with a keynote speech from Professor Heather Tierney-Moore, Patron for PPiMH. Representatives from Langley Green Hospital of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Mersey Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Care NHS shared their knowledge of improving staff wellbeing. Certitude’s Hirila Rose spoke about mental health in the workplace and said “if we don’t look after staff then we can’t deliver genuine caring services. At Certitude we know our staff are our most important asset and we ensure we put good practises in place to support their well-being.”

Click here to read the full report.

Meet Jana, our London Marathon runner

Jana Jilkova is running the London Marathon for Certitude this coming April. She wanted to do something to raise money to support us because the work we do is close to her heart. Read on to find out why our cause is important to her, and how her preparation for the 26 mile race is going so far!

“Hi everyone, let me introduce myself.

My name is Jana, I am 40 and I am a mum to 4 lovely boys. 9 years ago, when my oldest was 2 and his younger brother was just born, I found out that they both have Fragile X Syndrome – a genetic disorder that I have never heard off that has ruled my life ever since. The boys have many issues – behavioural, speech and language, social interaction, low IQ, anxieties etc. The list goes on. I was so lost and hurt when that bomb landed and didn’t know what to do, until I was approached by someone and this person has told me about all my options, told me what to do, who to call, helped me with all the forms, introduced me to other special needs parents. To me, they were an absolute saviour!

Jana Jilkova is our London Marathon runner

Years and years later I have started running long distance races and was encouraged to try for the London Marathon. I approached my ‘saviour’ to see if I could run the marathon for the charity that she works at now. And here I am, running the London Marathon for Certitude. I have heard a lot about the work Certitude does and I am sure that I’ll be in touch when my boys get older. It makes me feel calmer – knowing that people and charities care.

Now, about my running and training: it hasn’t been great lately as I suffered a hip injury that I’ve just about recovered from. Time is running out and I am only just getting back into swing of things. I was originally aiming to run the marathon in under 4 hours, but as things are now I’ll be glad if I do it under 51/2hours. But there is still time to put in some serious training in place, so we shall see. I am getting a treadmill for my 40th birthday, so that should help a little!

I’ll keep everyone posted about my progress. Hopefully there won’t be any more injuries 🤞”

– Jana

If you are interested in donating to Jana, or learning more about her story, please read more here.

We support STOMP

We’re proud to have joined NHS England’s STOMP campaign – stopping the over-medication of people with learning disabilities and autism

Race the Vitality 10k for Certitude

This 10k runs right through the heart of London. We’ll be with you every step of the way, from the start to the finishing line.

Sensory adventures at the Dominion

Here at Certitude, we use a variety of methods to support and connect with the people around us. We know that no two people are the same and we know that everyone’s needs are different. Sensory objects have proven to be an amazingly simple but effective method of stimulating people, thanks to their versatility and range of benefits.

We first began using them in the Dominion Centre after learning about their advantages through Joanna Grace’s work. The team at the Dominion Centre support people with profound and complex learning disabilities, carefully designing their sessions to support people to develop their motor skills and self-expression. Sensory objects have been massively successful in these sessions so far, and we look forward to working with them more.

What is a sensory object?

A small bag filled with cotton

A sensory object can be a very simple item that is utilised to stimulate different senses. The use of these sensory objects inactivities is known as a ‘sensory adventure’.  Joanna Grace, who is the inspiration for our use of this method, cites yeast extract as an excellent taste experience that she often uses. For us, we use objects as simple as a netted bag filled with cotton, which encourages people to pull the cotton through the gaps of the net, squeeze, throw and misshape the object, stimulating people’s touch senses from the different textures.

Why do we use sensory adventures?

Continuously stimulating our senses through sensory adventures builds nerve connections in the brain pathways over time. This helps with our understanding of the world and enables us to acquire new skills. They also support memory and concentration and a person’s ability and readiness to learn. Some studies show that an engagement in the sensory world can be good for our mental health.

How do we use our adventures?

Yellow perfumed bag of shredded paper

Andrea Ricci, from our Dominion Centre, describes the need for sensory stimulation as “vital for everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing. The success of each sensory experience depends on who it is for and what it is for.” Therefore, it is important that we understand the likes and dislikes of whoever we’re working with. At the Dominion Centre, our team support people with complex and varying disabilities who all benefit from differing approaches.

We use our yellow perfumed bag of shredded paper, containing various textured items, to create the message that amazing things can be hidden in boring places. The hope is that the person we support is actively engaged with the exercise and builds their confidence.

The aim of the plastic beans and water – shown in the photo to the right – is more about cause

Plastic beans and water

and effect. If the plastic is wet it will dissolve. This exercise is about cognition, the ‘now’ and ‘after’, and encourages decision making.

It has been so rewarding to see the effect these techniques have had on people’s mental and physical health, and we’re excited to continue with this work.

The Harbour mental health crisis café opens in Lewisham

A new mental health crisis café called ‘the Harbour’ opened its doors yesterday at University Hospital Lewisham.

The Harbour – a joint partnership between the hospital, Certitude and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) – will provide peer support to people experiencing a mental health crisis. The aim is to offer people who are feeling distressed someone to talk to in a relaxed, non-clinical setting.

Open from 2pm to 6am, seven days a week, the Harbour will be staffed by a range of experts, including people who have experienced mental health issues. “We are delighted to be involved in this great new partnership,” said Liz Durrant, Director of Mental Health for Certitude. “We believe in the power of peer support and the need for alternative places for people to get support when they are experiencing crisis.”

Former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George formally opened the café, adding a touch of glamour to its unveiling. “I’m really excited to be supporting this fantastic initiative for local people and to reduce the stigma around mental health,” said Dr Alex, who works at the hospital. “I see many people every day in A&E experiencing mental health needs, such as anxiety and depression. This café will be a safe place for them to come, take some time out, talk about their concerns and give them access to specialist support.”

SLaM Lewisham Service Director, Donna Hayward-Sussex added: “We are pleased to be supporting people in Lewisham, who are experiencing mental distress, to get the help and advice they need and are referred to this new crisis café service. Working in partnership with local health partners, as well as people who have experienced mental health problems in the past, those feeling vulnerable and no longer able to cope, will be seen by the right expert people, in the right place at the right time.”

We were also delighted to welcome Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East, who spoke highly of the project and emphasised the need for more mental health services around London.

Can you help our fantastic marathon runner raise vital funds?

Mum of four, Jana Jilkova, is running the London Marathon this April for Certitude to help raise money for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health support needs – but she needs your help.

A great end to a busy year for Treat Me Right!

What is Treat Me Right?

Over the last ten years, Certitude’s Treat Me Right! team has delivered training around learning disabilities and autism to thousands of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The Treat Me Right! team believes that everyone who works in a profession where they might meet people with learning disabilities or autism should have awareness training delivered to them by people with ‘lived-experience’. Treat Me Right! training is co-delivered by people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are able to speak about their experience.

What did the Treat Me Right! team get up to in 2018?

2018 was a particularly busy year for the team. Throughout the year, Treat Me Right! has delivered:

  • Learning disability and autism awareness sessions to 1,000 individuals across the healthcare sector
  • Autism Champions training to 275 individuals working in health and social care
  • 4 drop-in sessions for the Champions to discuss their issues
  • 2 Champions study days with opportunities to learn from experts by experience and their families.
  • 40 new learning disability Champions have been trained in hospitals
  • The MP for Ealing Central and Acton and her team have been trained in learning disability awareness
  • Two of our Treat Me Right! trainers are Dimensions National Learning Disability and Autism Champions
  • The Treat Me Right! team worked with local specialist schools to provide employment training and health advocacy training sessions for transition age children
  • 33 discharge coordinators were trained in issues specific to people with learning disability and autism and discharge
  • Over 200 hospital staff were provided information and offered drop-in support during Learning Disability Week

Recognition from Parliament!

In recognition for their hard work, Treat Me Right! was nominated by the North West London CCG for the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards earlier this year. They were also cited as an example of best practice in the field by MP Tulip Siddiq in a parliamentary debate.

Rounding off their busy year, the team hosted a drop-In session at the Houses of Parliament in November with Dimensions and Beyond Words. The session explored ways to improve health equality for people with learning disabilities and autism. Some of the findings included:

  • 98% of GPs say they would benefit from a short training session, led by people with learning disabilities or autism, on how to meet the individual needs of patients
  • Two thirds of GPs say they have received less than a day’s training on how to meet the needs of patients with learning disabilities or autism
  • 60% of people with a learning disability said their GP did not make reasonable adjustments for them
  • Three quarters of GPs would like additional training on reasonable adjustments

There’s a lot more work to be done but we’re confident that our Treat Me Right! team is up to the challenge.

Great news from Haymill Respite

Everyone needs a break from time to time – especially carers. Our respite services around London provide overnight stays for people with learning disabilities and autism. We make sure that our guests feel happy and relaxed, so carers can have peace of mind while they take some time for themselves.

Haymill Respite in Greenford is one of our many respite facilities. Following a recent renovation, the service now offers brand new furnished bedrooms, multiple new kitchens, living rooms with smart TVs and a large open garden. There’s also a house vehicle, allowing the people we support to go out and take part in fun activities away from the service.

Recent Expansion

Haymill Respite has recently become registered to support people from 16 years onwards. This is a first for Certitude and it means even more people can have access to the service. Haymill Respite has just welcomed two young people aged 16 and 18.

For the 16-year-old, the team at Haymill developed a bespoke support plan based on his needs and preferences, working with his parents and college. The 16-year-old is now much more settled into the service having recently undertaken his first overnight stay. Our team are now looking for more ways to help stimulate the young man and make his time at Haymill even better.

The 18-year-old had a longer transition period, but he’s now beginning to develop an excellent relationship with our staff. He even saw a few familiar faces during his visit! After a few visits at home and at his college, the young man was ready to stay overnight at Haymill. He is now settled into the service and the team are working hard to make sure he gets the best out of Haymill Respite.

It’s been a joy to find that this extension of our service at Haymill Respite is working so well. To find out more about our respite services, click here.