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Face to Face Assessments can be confusing, especially if u care for somebody with learning disabilities. We’ve prepared a few pointers to help you and the person you support out when preparing for a Face to Face Assessment.
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A perfect partnership with Melvin Hall in Penge

From bringing together budding artists in Brixton to fostering choirs in Ealing, connecting communities is at the heart of what we do. Over the last year, a wonderful partnership has flourished between Certitude and Melvin Hall in Penge. A former care centre for the elderly that was on the brink of closure due to funding cuts, Melvin Hall is now a thriving community centre providing a space for the people of Penge, in South East London and beyond.

New staff member, Jade, recently joined Certitude’s Community and Development team. Here, she writes about her experience working at Melvin Hall to deliver an exciting programme of events.

A wonderful partnership has flourished between Certitude and Melvin Hall in Penge. Our free community workshops that we run as part of Certitude’s Connect & Do programme offer opportunities for socially isolated people to interact and mix with people they wouldn’t meet otherwise. It’s also a chance for the people we support to meet others in the wider community. Through building friendships based on shared interests, regardless of a person’s support needs or financial situation, we’re aiming to break down barriers and provide a space where people can learn and feel part of the wider community.

We kick-started this partnership with a creative intervention at Melvin Hall Community Centre. Staff from Certitude’s day centres at Kentwood and Astley joined forces with members of the community to build a herb garden and raised beds for plants and vegetables. Two days of hard work, great chat and laughter resulted in an outstanding transformation that everybody loved. This has now led to regular community gardening sessions, alternating between Melvin Hall and our community space in Railton Road in Brixton.

melvinhall

We kick-started this partnership with a creative intervention at Melvin Hall Community Centre. Staff from Certitude’s day centres at Kentwood and Astley joined forces with members of the community to build a herb garden and raised beds for plants and vegetables. Two days of hard work, great chat and laughter resulted in an outstanding transformation that everybody loved. This has now led to regular community gardening sessions, alternating between Melvin Hall and our community space in Railton Road in Brixton. 

Budding artists also had the chance to stretch their creative muscles with weekly ‘Art Tuesday’ drop-in sessions, which have been running since September last year. These are led by our lovely peer facilitator Martin, who oversees a variety of different arts and crafts every week. 

All of the sessions are very well attended by a lovely mix of people both supported by Certitude and from the wider local community – a lot of them have turned out to be fantastic artists! 

We’re also incredibly grateful for those who regularly donate art supplies for the sessions and share their craft skills and ideas with the rest of the group, really adding to the community feel. 

Members of the Young Vic school rehearsing for Spring Awakening, which was performed at Melvin Hall
Members of the Young Vic school rehearsing for Spring Awakening, which was performed at Melvin Hall

Throughout November and December last year, the Brit School came to run a 6-week performing arts course at Melvin Hall with groups from two of Certitude’s learning disability centresThe sessions were facilitated by the Brit School Director of Theatre, as well as some of the community art students, who formed lovely bonds with the people we support. At the end of the six weeks there was a small Christmas performance with families, staff and members of Melvin Hall and the local community.  

Melvin Hall also hosted the Young Vic Theatre, who gave an incredible performance of Spring Awakening to people we support at Astley, Kentwood and Cotmandene. This was part of the Young Vic’s ‘YV Unpacked’ community project, which brings their plays to community spaces where theatre doesn’t usually happen. The play was thought-provoking, touching on many important and controversial topics, and everyone who came to see it thoroughly enjoyed it. This has now led to a very exciting partnership with the Young Vic Theatre – stay tuned! 

Our community sessions at Melvin Hall have had a great turnout over the past five months, with 20 people regularly attending our art sessions alone. The feedback has been incredibly positive, with people telling us: 

  • That if they weren’t at Melvin Hall they would just be at home doing nothing 
  • That they look forward to the community sessions all day 
  • That there’s a lack of community activities like the ones at Melvin Hall happening in the area and that more needs to be done 
  • Some staff telling us that some of the people getting involved in the sessions wouldn’t usually get involved in group activities like this 
  • People attending the workshop saying it has brought them the confidence to attend other local workshops, and get into art 
The Trustees and volunteers at Melvin Hall have also been very pleased with our partnership and how the sessions have been running, even getting involved themselves. It has also been a fantastic experience for our peer facilitator Martin, where I’ve really seen him flourish over the past few months of him facilitating Art Tuesdays. Running these sessions has not only been beneficial to his mental health and wellbeing but it has also given him the confidence to become a Lambeth Community Connector and to apply for a grant to run other workshops in the community. 
 
For myself, having recently joined the Community Development team at Certitude, I’ve found it extremely rewarding to see the partnership work so well and see so many people (including myself!) getting so much out of the sessions at Melvin Hall. I’ve met so many inspiring and talented people with some great life stories and it’s made me excited to continue getting more activities and workshops like this running! 

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