Certitude people make the shortlist!

Certitude people make the shortlist!

Congratulations to one of our dedicated house managers and to Kiki, who we support, who have each made the shortlist for two different prestigious awards!

Kiki is a finalist for the Leaders’ List 2021

We’re thrilled that Kiki – who secured her dream job at Chelsea Football Club – has been named a finalist in Dimensions’ Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2021. This means that Kiki’s story is now with the panel of judges, who will help choose the final Leaders.

Launched in 2018, the Leaders’ List is the UK’s first national list celebrating achievements of people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Kiki will find out if she is a winner on Friday 3 December. Good luck Kiki!

We’d also like to congratulate Anne, Aiden and Justin who were nominated for the Leaders’ List.

Jo Watkins shortlisted in National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards

And in other great news, Jo Watkins has been shortlisted in the Social Care Covid Hero Award category at the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards.

These awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisations who excel in providing quality care.

Jo was working as a house manager at two of Certitude’s properties in Hounslow when the pandemic started. She has been recognised for her selflessness and dedication to the people we support and her staff members, and for her commitment to maintaining the safety of the people we support, her teams and her services.

The winners of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards will be announced at a gala evening which is taking place on Friday 29 October. Good luck Jo!

Watch this space to find out how they get on!

Keep your promise Boris!

Keep your promise Boris!

Certitude has signed up to the Care Support Alliance’s (CSA) campaign aimed at holding the Government to account to the Prime Minister’s promise on his first day in office to ‘fix social care once and for all’.

He said this over 100 weeks ago, in 2019, and there are still millions of people who need decent care and are not getting it. We were struck by the CSA’s recent discovery that since the start of the pandemic, over two million adults in England have had their requests for care turned down.

We believe, along with the CSA and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, which we are members of, that: ‘with social care reform, including investing more money and giving care workers the career structure, pay and conditions they deserve, we’d have the strong and effective care system our country needs. Millions of older people and disabled people would also be better able to live decently and independently, and millions of unpaid carers would be supported’.

A letter to the Chancellor

Today (1 October), as the Conservative Party’s annual conference begins, a joint letter from organisations who have signed up to the campaign has been sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, demanding that, in the next Spending Review on 27 October, he awards local authorities the decent funding that’s required to ‘stabilise, strengthen and ultimately improve social care in the UK’.

The joint letter states that the basic minimum requirement is an increase in annual funding of £3.9bn by 2023/24 to meet demographic changes and planned increases in the National Living Wage.  And this is just part of what must be addressed to improve the existing quality of care that councils are currently able to provide, and to maintain and increase access to support by those who need it, as the joint letter explains.

There is also a petition which anyone can sign – please sign it and spread the word!

Certitude is one of the many voices telling the Chancellor that 'care simply can’t wait any longer'.

Reducing restrictive practices

Reducing restrictive practices

We are committed to reducing restrictive practices across Certitude.

We published our Use and Reduction of Restrictive Practices Policy in July 2020. The policy underpins our organisational approach to reduce restrictive practices while ensuring the rights of people we support are always respected and protected. Alongside this we relaunched our Reducing Restrictive Practice Organisational Working Group.

Reducing restrictive practices is a priority which is everyone across Certitude is committed to fully understand, consider, reflect, and apply in all aspects of practice.

The policy aims to:

  • provide a comprehensive and consistent approach to the use of restrictive practices across our services
  • ensure that the rights of people we support are always respected and protected
  • reduce all types of restrictive practices and to prevent their use when unnecessary or unjustified
  • acknowledge that, in situation where restrictive practices are necessary and justified, they are carried out in a lawful and ethical manner with complete transparency, and that every effort is made to reduce them
  • ensure compliance with related legislation, such as Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

What are restrictive practices?

Restrictive practices can range from over medication and physical restraints, to more subtle practices, such as not allowing someone access to part of their home or the choice of activities being dictated by the needs of the team rather than the person we support. These more subtle practices may not even be recognised as restrictive.

Our actions

We are proud to be part of the Restraint Reduction Network and a member of their steering group. In October 2020 we made a pledge to the network that as an organisation we would:

  • carry out a review to identify our current strengths and develop a programme of training which will be rolled out across the organisation.
  • improve our reporting to record all types of restrictive behaviour
  • reduce the use of restrictive practices over the next two years
  • create an organisational resource that is informed by a co-designed and co-produced community of practice to enable us to continually learn and evolve through sharing good practice

Get involved

We want to strengthen the work we do and can only do that by involving a range of different people with different experiences to fully co-produce. We invite any family members, friends or people we support to join the different groups. There are many ways to get involved either as group or on a one-to-one basis depending on your time commitments and preferences. If you are interested and have some time to spare – please get in touch. To find out more information, please email Rhona Leishman on RLeishman@certitude.london.

London Marathon 2021

London Marathon 2021

This year’s London Marathon is taking place on Sunday 3 October.

We are excited to announce that we have three amazing runners who will be taking part and fundraising on behalf of Certitude this year – our very own Rhona Leishman and two of our incredible supporters, Nick Brewer and Eric Morgan.

We sat down to meet our runners to find out a bit more about them and what motivated them to take part in this year’s London Marathon.

Have you met our marathon runners?

First, please introduce yourself and what you do. 

I’m Rhona and I am the Practice Projects Coordinator at Certitude.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?

I had set myself a few running challenges before turning 30 a few years ago to run a 10k and a half marathon for two charities close to my heart and then when I saw there were spaces for the London Marathon running for Certitude, I thought… why not!

Why did you choose Certitude as your charity of choice?

Having worked for Certitude over the last 18 months I have seen first-hand the support provided to people I know how important and valuable the work we do is to people.  Also, through the Connect & Do programme which I have been a part of I have met and built relationships with people we support and others who join the sessions and want to ensure we can continue to offer activities and support.

What does running this marathon mean to you?

For me running is something I do for my mental health and to help cope with a loss I suffered a few years ago and so running the marathon was a challenge I wanted to complete for me, to prove to myself I could but also it will let me raise money for a great cause to help others.

How has your training been going? Any tips for other runners?

Some days are a lot easier than others in terms of the actual run but also in terms of finding the time and motivation! I would say get a good plan and stick to it best you can but don’t worry about missing the occasional run or having a bad run – one bad or missed run will not impact the marathon day,  you need to think about your training as a whole and realise that all the work you are putting in over the weeks or training are what will get you round the course. Also, for me, stick on your running kit in the morning and then as soon as you have some time or motivation you are ready to get out the door and run!

What’s been the hardest moment in your training and how did you overcome it?

When there was torrential rain every single time I went for a run for about three weeks in a row.  Genuinely felt like I was running through rivers! I like running in the rain but this was something else. I suppose at least if it rains on marathon day I will be prepped and know how to run with puddles in my trainers.

First, please introduce yourself and what you do. 

My name is Nick Brewer and I’m a Graduate Electrical Engineer at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. I am originally from North Hertfordshire and I am currently living in Oxford.

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?

I decided to run the London Marathon because I’ve always said if I was every going to do a marathon again it would have to be the London one

Why did you choose Certitude as your charity of choice?

One of my friends recommended Certitude to me when I was choosing a charity to support for the marathon and once researching into them more I was sold. I find the work that Certitude absolutely invaluable to so many people and it is an honour to be able to raise money for such a worthy cause.

What does running this marathon mean to you?

It means a lot as a very significant milestone in my life, it will feel so good to be surrounded by many other runners in such a huge event after such a long time with no mass participation events possible for the past year and a half.

How has your training been going? Any tips for other runners?

Training has been going relatively well and trying to fit in running when I can. I did the London Landmarks half marathon a few weeks ago and was quite pleased with that time! I would recommend plenty of carbs the night before a big run and pacing yourself using the Strava pace tracker.

What’s been the hardest moment in your training and how did you overcome it?

Hardest moment so far was injuring my ankle from a very long cycle and trying to be sensible and not make it worse – only just about recovered a week before the half marathon!

What time are you aiming to complete the marathon in?

Aiming for 3 hours and 45 minutes

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us or share with us?

I completed the UK Three Peaks Challenge by public transport (13 trains, five buses plus some actual walking)   

First, please introduce yourself and what you do.

My name is Eric Morgan, I am the most electrifying running entertainer in the world but an electrician by trade!

Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?

I have always wanted to run the London Marathon since I got into running almost five years ago, on behalf of my mother T. St Louis who died at the age of 43, so I’ve been trying for the last five years to get in, but it was extremely difficult.

Why did you choose Certitude as your charity of choice?

Certitude has a relationship with a company called Wellfinity, which runs a gym near Certitude’s Ealing office. Certitude approached Wellfinity to see if anyone would be interested in running the Marathon to raise money for the charity, and I know the CEO of Wellfinity, who suggested it to me. I knew I wanted to take part in the marathon, so when I read up on all the wonderful things that Certitude does, it confirmed my decision – and then it was full steam ahead!

What does running this marathon mean to you?

Running the London Marathon means the world to me as a runner, and to someone that was born and raised in London it’s an absolute dream.

How has your training been going? Any tips for other runners?

I have been training well, running 30 miles a week, competing in one event every month, drinking lots of water, watching lots of training tip videos, and generally getting advice from other runners who have completed the event.

What’s been the hardest moment in your training and how did you overcome it?

For me it’s all a test of your mental game to see whether, even on the days when you don’t want to do it, you still get out there and put one foot in front of the other. Trust me, you feel excellent benefits afterwards.

What time are you aiming to complete the marathon in?

The time I’m trying and hoping to complete it in is four hours and under, but I will be happy regardless of the time because it’s an iconic event.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us or share with us?

My Running team is called ‘MoreThanRunnin’ we are the Motivational Talking Runners, so we make running movies for Instagram and YouTube. But this will be a real test of myself, to see if I’m able to run, talk, and motivate whilst running the marathon.

Want to get involved?

If you want to donate to our runners JustGiving pages, you can do so here:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we’ll be posting updates from our runners on the day!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CertitudeLondon/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Certitude

Rhona Leishman
Marathon runner Rhona Leishman
Nick Brewer
Marathon runner Nick Brewer
Eric Morgan
The most electrifying running entertainer Eric Morgan

Latest news

Well done, Aiden!

Well done, Aiden!

Aiden, who we support in Richmond, recently won the award for Supported Learning at Richmond College’s 2021 Learner Awards! Well done Aiden!

He said: “It was good! The staff helped me get on the computer, I really enjoy college!”

Aiden’s award is the first to be announced in the video below, created by Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College.

Aiden received the award for his ‘incredible dedication and passion for cooking throughout the lockdown’. He was commended for completing all the assigned tasks and attending all the online classes with a smile and positive attitude, for his impeccable manners, and for being incredibly supportive to his classmates, in particular a new student with language difficulties, and for helping staff to keep the kitchen clean and tidy’. 

Mark Cross, Supported Living Manager said: “A massive well done to Aiden, I’m very proud of him. I also want to thank the team who helped maintain his participation on the course throughout the lockdowns and restrictions via virtual lessons”.

Eleri Ebenezer, Chair of the Certitude Board

Eleri Ebenezer, Chair of the Certitude Board

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Eleri Ebenezer, Chair of the Certitude Board, who passed away on Wednesday 18 August.

Eleri was a well-loved and valued member of the Certitude family. Eleri was previously the Chair of Support for Living before taking up the role of Chair of Certitude when Support for Living and Southside Partnership merged in 2010, to form Certitude.

Eleri’s commitment and dedication to Certitude and her knowledge of the social care sector has been invaluable to all of us and has significantly contributed to Certitude’s success.

As Chair, working with board members defining the strategic direction of the organisation and offering support and guidance to the Leadership Team was only a part of Eleri’s role. Eleri worked tirelessly to promote Certitude wherever she went and was so proud of its achievements. She would often arrange face-to-face service visits as she loved spending time with teams, people we support and their families.

Outside of Certitude, Eleri had a diverse background, from working at the BBC for 25 years to being elected as Councillor for the London Borough of Ealing for 16 years, where she served as Chair of Social Services and Employee Relations. She also held the role of Chair for a mid-Wales NHS Trust for 10 years, enabling her to share with us a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive of Certitude said: “Working with Eleri over the past eleven years has been a privilege. Not only has she contributed towards the success of Certitude as our Chair, but her love for and commitment to Certitude has been inspiring to witness. Above all, she was wonderfully kind and caring in nature. She will be incredibly missed by myself and colleagues across Certitude.”

Philippa Laughton, Vice Chair of the Certitude Board, said: “I’ve known and worked with Eleri for more than 12 years and have seen first-hand what an excellent guide and mentor she has been to Board members, the Chief Executive and the Leadership Team.  She was hugely committed and cared deeply about Certitude’s work and was inspired by colleagues and people we support.  Eleri will be truly missed.”

Our thoughts are with Eleri’s family and friends during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, Eleri’s family have asked that donations are made to Certitude.

COVID-19 update

COVID-19 update

Over the last 16 months, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our priority has been to ensure people we support and colleagues across the organisation are safe and well.

During this time, we have learned how connected we are to one another and how our personal actions affect our professional roles and vice versa. We have also become increasingly aware that many of the people we support have increased risks of experiencing worse symptoms than others in the general population.

From 19 July, as the country moves to fewer restrictions, our organisational position is to take a cautious and informed approach. We want to ensure people we support, and team members are safe and well whilst working to reduce the number of restrictive practices created due to COVID-19.

We fully expect and encourage people we support to continue re-connecting with their communities, families, and friends. We will support people to do this safely and take appropriate precautionary measures.

During this transitional period of restrictions easing and until we know the full extent of the risk and impact of the end to lockdown, we will continue with protective practice throughout the organisation which includes:

  • All colleagues will continue to complete and evidence negative Lateral Flow tests before supporting or visiting people in their homes or working at any of our offices.
  • Where people can’t maintain social distancing and / or in areas that are poorly ventilated, colleagues will continue to wear facemasks.
  • Managers will continue to review local risk assessments to ensure measures reflect the needs of people being supported.
  • Our offices remain open. To minimise crowded work areas, colleagues where possible will continue to work from home. Office-based working will continue to be booked in advance.
  • Buildings will continue to be well ventilated and have high quality cleaning routines in place with daily checks.
  • We continue to encourage and actively promote the take up of vaccinations for both people we support and colleagues.
Contact the COVID-19 task team

If you have any specific concerns or issues you would like us to address, please contact the COVID-19 task team by emailing coronavirusfaq@certitude.london

Racism and my hopes after the Euro 2020 Final

Racism and my hopes after the Euro 2020 Final

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, our Director of People and Organisational Development, Caroline Fraser, shared with staff how she felt as she learnt more about racism in the aftermath of his murder.

In the aftermath of the Euro 2020 Final, Caroline has felt compelled to write again:

“Despite the brilliant achievements of the England team and the exciting and uplifting feeling this experience brought us as a nation, we witnessed the abhorrent racist abuse received by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

“The fact that there are people who feel they can behave so appallingly and illegally spreading hate without fear of consequence, was a very a harsh reminder that we still have so much work to do, to educate people and create positive changes in our society so behaviour like this becomes utterly unacceptable.

“But, I also know that some colleagues saw it coming as soon as those penalties were missed, which was a view expressed by one of my friends as we watched the match together. It was also expressed by other people I’ve spoken to, and has been very clearly indicated across several media outlets and social channels. Where have we got to if we can simply expect this type of abuse?

“The comments on social media, the defacing of the Marcus Rashford mural, along with the fact that there were people who felt too scared to travel home alone that evening for fear of being attacked, make me feel incredibly angry and sad.

“But I can still see some positives. Gareth Southgate’s leadership, and his outspoken celebration of the diversity in his team and the benefits this brings, has made the game more inclusive. More people, like Joe White who was in the news recently, feel that the national team is their team too and that their achievements are all of ours.

“It was great to see so many people of all colours and backgrounds in Wembley Stadium, all supporting England passionately and together in unity – and this is the image I want to hold onto that makes me believe that things will get better.

“I’m not usually a football fanatic by any measure, but I’ve been swept up by that excitement too. I couldn’t help noticing, with my ‘Director of People’ hat on, Gareth Southgate’s considered, confident approach to leadership, and his clear message about the importance of equality, humanity and diversity, which we’ve seen during the tournament and leading up to it. I was also very moved by the way Gareth Southgate, immediately after the match ended, congratulated Italy’s manager and warmly consoled his teammates who had missed a penalty.

“And after all, we made it to the final – what a fantastic achievement, whether we won or not. We have a fantastic, diverse team that’s clearly full of young talent, working so hard together, under such intense pressure, and inspiring the nation.

“So, while what we have seen shines yet another a light on the challenges of racism and the daily experience faced, not just by people in the limelight, but by colleagues we work side by side with every day, I do still have a sense of hope, through the unity which the Euros allowed us to witness and be a part of. A sense of hope exemplified by the immediate, hugely moving, and passionately positive response to the initial nasty defacing of the Marcus Rashford mural.

“What’s more, I feel like we have seen an even higher response from people of all backgrounds, races and nationalities expressing their condemnation of the ugly racism we have seen this week. That makes me feel optimistic that if people work together, we can challenge racism effectively and respect our differences. “


"The weeks since the Euros started have been such an uplifting experience. The thousands of WhatsApp messages with family and friends about every game. The unbearable tension every time England played, which never got any easier. My sister, who never watches football, wanting to talk about how unfair penalties were, made my day. We did then come down to earth with a bang when the vile racists came out of the woodwork. The England team represents all of us. Even if we were not born in this country we are true England fans, and will always be. These people will never tell me I cannot support England, nor should we let them get away with their vile abuse."
Sanjay Shah
Director of Finance, IT & Housing
Caroline Fraser

"We stand with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bulayo Saka, and all the England men’s football team, and everyone who has suffered racist abuse. As an anti-racist organisation, we are appalled by this behaviour and will not tolerate racism. This England team and their manager have been vibrant champions of equality, taking a firm and public stand against racism both on and off the football pitch. At Certitude, we will do everything we can to continue to fight and stand against racism."

Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive

John celebrates a 30-year milestone!

John celebrates a 30-year milestone!

John is celebrating over 30 years being supported by and working with us in Ealing. John used to be a Treat Me Right! trainer for Certitude and currently helps to run our inductions for new recruits. We spoke with him recently about this impressive milestone:
“I moved into my current home in 1992!

“It has been very good and I have made lots of friends. My housemates have been great and I live very close to my big family. I live here with three housemates who are my really good friends and I feel very happy. We support each other.

“My best memory is from when I organised a football tournament near The ARC. I remember we wore a yellow striped kit and I scored six times! I also have great memories of art sessions, a catering course we did, and when I wrote a book about my life.

“Since I moved to Ealing, my housemates have changed and the staff have changed too. And when I moved in the walls were pink, which I wanted to change! Now the walls are green and much better.

“It has also been over 10 years since I have been doing the Certitude new staff induction sessions with Aisling. I am very happy and proud about that and my 30 years in Ealing.”

John with Aisling Duffy, Certitude's CEO

Winterbourne View 10 years on – a provider perspective

Winterbourne View 10 years on – a provider perspective

With the 10-year anniversary of Panorama’s Winterbourne View programme on 31 May, there is much on social media about what exactly has changed. People are sharing their own personal experiences on what has and hasn’t changed since this shocking physical and psychological abuse was revealed. You can read and watch some of these personal experiences at the Rightful Lives site, or under the #Winterbourne10YearsOn hashtag on Twitter. 

A support provider’s view

Progress has been slow. Painfully slow. 10 years on, 2,040 people with learning disabilities or autism are being held in assessment and treatment units. 355 people have been inpatients for over 10 years. Margaret Flynn and Vic Citarella in their Guardian article rightly state that “homes are needed, not beds. 

From a provider perspective we have been listening to people and their families, learning from them and working to better support Londoners who have experienced or are at risk of hospital admissions. 

Our learning

Our learning about what works and what doesn’t continues to shape and direct the support we provide because what we do know for sure, is that living your life in a hospital doesn’t work for anyone. When support is being designed, commissioned and funded for people moving out of hospital or at risk of being admitted, the support for their family continues to be largely forgotten or ignored. Families have been as traumatised by the experience and have their own support needs. They too need to come to terms with what has happened, to learn how to trust again and to re-establish relationships. 

This can be a learning curve for support providers. We commonly hear that providers are paid to support the individual, not their family. We think this is wrong and strongly believe this is a false economy in any case. Great support to a person means involving, supporting and working alongside their family as well. And sometimes you won’t agree with each other, sometimes you won’t meet the standards expected.  

“Only by continuing to work together can you achieve the right support.” 

Trauma informed support needs to inform the way provider organisations work – for the person and for their family. There is no quick recovery from living an enforced and hugely restricted life. Feeling safe, feeling able to trust and feeling able to take control takes time. 

Providing the right support 

Providing the right support is the responsibility of the whole organisation not just the support team. Getting it right impacts and can challenge every part of an organisation – for example, the HR department need to think creatively and differently about recruitment, about job descriptions and patterns of work. The learning and development department need to ensure teams can access the training and development designed specifically around the person they are supporting. 

For many people, it is important that they are able to live on their own, to have their own home. We have, however, also experienced a condition of discharge being immediate access to additional staff if needed. This creates a challenge for support providers in sourcing the right property whilst ensuring a robust enough local infrastructure. Without creativity, such conditions can result in the simplest solution – the development of accommodation and support that simply mirrors hospital life albeit on a smaller scale. 

Where there are professional anxieties about discharging someone, there can be the assumption that registered care can be safer and more secure. In our experience, the starting place should be supported living principles and practice. For someone to have their own home, their own tenancy by law gives that person more rights and places them in a stronger position. 

Building the right support places a lot of emphasis on multi-disciplinary working and rightly so. Getting it right for someone is a team effort. Things can go quickly wrong when the person and their support provider are left on their own.  

Positive behaviour support 

Many providers now have positive behaviour support teams to provide ongoing additional support which can be great. Our learning however is that people’s needs understandably change over time and ongoing psychological support – including occupational therapists who specialise in sensory support, speech and language therapy – is essential. The hope for people who have experienced an assessment and treatment unit is that they are able to re-establish what is important to them in how they live their life and have the right support to be able to do so. This means ongoing input into how to best do this at different points. 

Housing continues to be a challenge – especially in London. The right accommodation takes joint working and forward planning from local authorities, providers, NHS England and more strategically at a pan-London level. 

The demand for highly skilled, specialist support is increasing. Young people with a range of support needs who are at the start of their adult lives – and who deserve and are entitled to the right support to live good lives within their local communities – need homes not hospitals. 

We know we don’t always get things right and we are always learning. But we love and appreciate being able to support people and their families, to work alongside them, to learn together and ultimately to ensure they can live their lives, their way. At home, not in hospital.  

Aisling Duffy, Certitude Chief Executive