Author: Philippa Stannard

A Message from a Style Acre Volunteer – September 2016

“As I embark on a (late) career change in a couple of weeks’ time, one of the saddest consequences for me is not to be able to continue volunteering at the Style Acre Tea Room at Savages in Blewbury.   I have only been doing this since March this year but have enjoyed it far more than I ever believed I would.

It has been an amazing experience working alongside a team of extremely friendly, fun and interesting people to the extent that it was hard to drag myself away at the end of each shift.

Having had first hand experience of this environment and knowing that they have a shortage of volunteers, I attach an article below, written by Style Acre, asking for some help.

If you have any spare time, do give it some thought, as it really is the most rewarding workplace, enjoyable work and a fantastic organisation to volunteer for.”

The Style Acre Tea Room needs your help!

The Style Acre Tea Room at Savages in Blewbury is looking for volunteers to join our friendly team. Our tea room provides work experience for people with learning disabilities, helping them develop important work skills. Our friendly team of volunteers play a vital role in helping us keep the tea room running, serving customers and preparing food.

It offers an opportunity to meet new people, in a friendly but fast paced environment. Current volunteers call it a ‘rewarding experience’, as they see the effect of their help, as the people we support learn new skills and increase confidence.

The team is currently looking for help on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday, although we would be delighted with help any day of the week.

If you feel you can support us please contact our Volunteer Officer, Chris via email: cburrows@styleacre.org.uk or telephone: 01491 827593

 

Lombard volunteer team work-out in our Market Garden in Wantage – September 2016

A corporate volunteer team from Lombard donated their time and helped us prepare our Market Garden for the colder months ahead!  We are so thankful and pleased that they enjoyed working alongside people we support.

Working collaboratively with Sustainable Wantage and the Charlton Centre, the market garden offers people with learning disabilities the opportunity to develop skills and enjoy gardening. The garden provides opportunities to be involved in meaningful and rewarding occupation in a quiet, safe environment, while delivering work experience.  Some of the produce from the garden is used at our tea room.

Whether individual or corporate, this setting provides a wonderful volunteer opportunity and we would love to hear from you if you are interested in supporting us this way. Please get in touch with Chris.

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The Style Acre Newsletter for people we support, families, carers and staff – August 2016

Style Acre Newsletter August 2016

Click above to read about our busy summer including out Mural competition, Channel 4 volunteers at T2, Ice Skating – on wheels!,  Dogs for Good Fun Day, Style Acre Family Social Evening,  our Social Group outings to the National Motorcycle Museum, Warwick Castle.

Don’t forget our tea room summer fete this Sunday!  

Working with dogs to improve the lives of people we support – August 2016

Dogs for good

Style Acre is working collaboratively with charities Dogs for Good and Kingwood to provide therapy dogs to improve the lives of people we support.

Style Acre and Kingwood will work together to use therapy dogs to improve the lives of adults with learning disabilities and autism.  Style Acre is a charity which enhances the lives of adults with learning disabilities and autism in creative and innovative ways. Style Acre provides day opportunities for 191 people, supported living for 86 people and work development opportunities and community involvement for adults with learning disabilities across Oxfordshire.  Kingwood is a charity which provides specialist support to adults with autism in Oxfordshire and Berkshire.  Kingwood provides direct support to over 100 adults and young people and provides short term assistance to a further 50 adults with Asperger Syndrome.

We will deliver a unique project bringing dogs into goal orientated weekly sessions with adults with autism: this is known as Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI). This project is needed to address the developmental needs of adults with autism and learning disabilities across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.   People with autism and learning disabilities all have different daily challenges, we want to use animal assisted intervention to help the people we support develop new learning and coping strategies to help make life easier, more fulfilling and enjoyable.   Through working with Kingwood, Style Acre is able to benefit from their prior knowledge and experiences of working with the dogs. Kingwood will benefit from the availability of Style Acre’s day service hubs for the project.  We believe that by working together we can achieve the best outcomes for the people we support and that by evaluating our work, we will gather valuable information about the benefits that animal assisted intervention can offer to adults with autism and learning disabilities.  The overall aim of this project is to help the people we support develop new skills and behaviours.

This project will enable an instructor and dogs to work four days a week with Kingwood and Style Acre beneficiaries.  The use of Style Acre hubs will allow us to provide a service to more clients as instructor travelling time can be minimised. There will also be associated opportunities for the people we support at our hubs, for instance taking responsibility to prepare room for dog’s arrival.   Kingwood and Style Acre will work together to run a referrals process.  Service managers will refer people who have a specific personal target that may be achieved through animal assisted intervention – they will then help the individual participants to identify specific goals or outcomes that should be achieved.  This also enables us to manage the participant’s expectations and develop an exit strategy for when the goals have been reached.  In most cases the sessions will be one on one, with the person supported and the dog handler.  The person supported will always have their usual support worker present.  We will also trial small group sessions of 3 or 4 people as this may work well with adults with mild learning disabilities and would enable more people to benefit from the sessions.  Placements may last between six weeks and two years.  It will depend on the individual, their needs and goals.  The dog handler is able to deliver two or three sessions per day depending on logistics.  Two dogs will be used to enable us to best match dogs with the task at hand and to ensure appropriate rest breaks for the dog and handler.  Sessions usually last an hour.

People with learning disabilities and autism face many daily challenges.  This dog assisted intervention will help participants to develop coping and learning strategies and to achieve individual goals which will have a lasting impact on their ability to live their lives to the full.  It will help them to do all the things most people take for granted – whether that be to cross the road safely, go to the shops, go to the doctor, take a walk or feel safe leaving the house.

Outcomes This project will develop personalised coping and learning strategies using dog assisted intervention to tackle a diverse range of issues such as:

Road safety Self motivation and building self confidence
Developing independent living skills at home Addressing dog phobias – overcoming fear
Addressing anxiety and challenging behaviour Self care and health education
Developing routines, particularly in times of transition Group work – social interaction, turn taking and team work
Broadening and developing new interests Social interaction
Animal care skills (ASDAN qualification) Employment opportunities

Style Acre runs a charity shop, book shop and tea room to provide work opportunities for the people they support.  The animal care skills and dog walking experience that our beneficiaries will gain through this project could lead to a dog care social enterprise in the future.  There is potential to link with Style Acre’s existing walking group and to develop work experience roles caring for the dogs whilst they are at our hubs. The project will enable us to deliver around 10 training sessions per week, with around 15 people participating per week.  Numbers will vary depending on the individuals involved and the length of their placement.  We are aiming for 100 people to benefit from this project over three years.

We aim to begin this project in January 2017 and are currently seeking funds of £35,000 per year to cover the cost of this three year project.  If you can help us reach this target, please contact our Philippa Stannard, Head of Fundraising.

A new till for the Style Acre Tea Room – August 2016

berkshire-masons-till-presentationEveryone at Style Acre – especially the people we support at the tea room are most grateful to Phil Lawrence who supported our application to the Berkshire Masonic Charity for funds to enable us to buy a new till at our tearoom.  The Berkshire Masonic Charity made a generous donation of £2635.20, enabling us to purchase the till which provides pictorial representations of foods and drinks ordered, so that people we support can operate it with ease and confidence.