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Celebrating 2023 with Livability

January 4 2024

2024 is about to land so now’s the time to celebrate all that Livability and the people we support have been up to in 2023.

Looking back over this year, we’d also like to thank all our supporters and welcome anyone who’s just come across Livability’s work. Your support makes it possible for us to continue providing top-quality, life-enhancing care across our services.

It’s been an action-packed year, with innovative arts projects, royal visits and, very excitingly, preparations to launch a much-needed children’s care service. But what we’re proudest of is the day-to-day care and support we provide for hundreds of adults and children with disabilities – enabling them to thrive and get the most out of life.

HRH The Princess Royal’s visit

Our special education centres, which span three-year-olds to 25 years-plus, have had another lively year. Highlights include our patron HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to Livability Millie College, near Poole, to mark the college’s very successful first year. The princess was keen to chat to students, who told her about their learning, both outdoors and in the classroom. In response to a lack of provision for young people with disabilities in the Dorset area, Livability is seeking resources to expand the number of places on offer. Read more about Millie’s special royal day.

Personalised care

Our wide range of services for adults with disabilities includes residential care, independent living and rehabilitation, all of which provide personalised care for individuals which goes much further than just meeting people’s physical needs. Take Andrew, who lives in one of our Welsh residential homes. Andrew caught his passion for trains from his dad, and after his dad passed away, Andrew kept dreaming of being a train driver. Staff who support Andrew were determined to work with him to make this a reality. He’s now volunteering with a heritage railway centre, has taken his guardsman’s test and has hugely built his confidence and communication skills. Read more here.

CQC ‘Good’ status

Great news just in: five of our services, Livability Wall Street, Livability North East, Livability Beaumont Court, Livability Keefield and Livability Hallgate have all been awarded CQC’s ‘Good’ status for the high standards they provide.

Care and support reimagined

Co-production – working in partnership by sharing power equally between people who use and who provide care services – is a key element of our work, and this year saw two high-profile, co-produced events. People we support were invited by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to contribute to their joint commission on social care, ‘Care and Support Reimagined’. Attending the launch event at Lambeth Palace in London, our service users shared their lived experience of care and their hopes for the future of care.

My life my choices

Later in the year, HRH The Princess Royal asked to meet with members of our Changes for the Future forum, which gives people we support a voice through representatives from each service. At a roundtable event, the princess listened to forum members’ views on subjects including the cost of living and staff recruitment.

2023 has seen Livability preparing to launch a children’s service in the north-east of England, going into commission in early 2024. The new service comes in response to a social care crisis in the region, with average caseloads for children’s social workers in Newcastle jumping from 5.9 in 2019 to 23.3 in 2022.* Our service will initially provide short-break respite and practical support for families, relieving some of the additional pressures that families face when they are caring for children with disabilities. Regular respite can support parents to manage their own wellbeing, reducing stress and the likelihood of stress-related illnesses.

Holistic care at Livability

Former BBC journalist Gerald Main shared his rehabilitation story on our blog earlier this year, after he was treated at Livability Icanho following a massive stroke. He sums up the impact of Icanho’s treatment on him and his family: ‘Icanho was really important in my journey. Their ethos of giving things a go has helped me develop since I finished there, plus their way of being really creative in how they … found solutions. For instance, they got me playing table football to help my peripheral vision, so photos of that went round our family WhatsApp group and cheered everybody up. They’re on your side, they’re part of your team and God bless them for that.’ Gerald’s experience brought home to him the need for the kind of expertise that Icanho offers: ‘In a sentence, you just don’t know what’s around the corner. It could be you or one of yours that’s going to need that support so having somewhere in the community that can give people with brain injuries really practical support, guidance and encouragement is vital.’

Life changed in an instant

As well as specialist outpatient treatment at Livability Icanho, rehabilitation is part of the care provided at Livability’s residential nursing homes. Laura, who lives at Livability Kenway Court, and her mum Janet, shared the story of Laura’s lifechanging brain injury in her twenties, in a moving video made by Livability. Laura, who has overcome huge physical and mental challenges, has written a book about her experience and is about to embark on a master’s degree. Her story went viral and over 250,000 online viewers read and commented on Laura’s story. The video – Life changed in an instant – won a highly commended prize from marketing award body The Drum. Watch the video.

Supporter’s gifts mean we can support those whose lives have changed in an instant, such as Laura at Kenway Court. This year we have enhanced lives for those who live at Kenway Court, funding new smart technologies, making home improvements and fundraising for sensory needs.

As we head into 2024 and our 180th anniversary year, we want to say a huge thank you for your support – it’s so appreciated. We want to enable people with disabilities to thrive and get the most out of life, in 2024, and your ongoing support will mean we can achieve that.

* https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-63095465

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