Our annual event hosted by Cornerstone was a huge success this year.
We enjoyed a day of celebration and creative activities, beginning with our weekly Music and Dance session. The day continued with sessions including meditation, painting and ‘fabric fashion’.
Film-maker Sharon Woodwood delivered soap opera drama and video workshops – see the preview here! Local parkour, dance and movement outfit ‘Steam’ ran workshops in the piazza outside.
The event ended with a fantastic showcase with people we support performing a songs, comedy and dance to an audience of over 70 in Cornerstone’s theatre.
To get a taste of this wonderful community event, watch this superb documentary made by Liam of last years’ event.
Wallingford Mayor Ros Lester officially opened our refurbished Style Acre charity shop to the applaud of people supported by Style Acre, volunteers, shoppers and staff.
The shop first opened its doors in 1998 and is the longest-standing independent charity shop in Wallingford. It is unique in that it is provides work experience for people with learning disabilities.
Style Acre has supported people with learning disabilities in the area for over 20 years and the charity shop was its first social enterprise, a calm safe environment where people could gain skills and independence. The charity shop has been embraced by the local community, who support the work of Style Acre by donating and buying goods, and volunteering at the shop.
Cutting the ribbon, Ros Lester said: “Style Acre supports many of our community members – in their home or out and about – and it is always a pleasure to support the charity, which does amazing work. The shop also provides volunteering opportunities for local people – it is a an asset to the community in so many ways, supporting carers and clients.”
Style Acre was fortunate to be awarded £545 from Waitrose in Wallingford’s Community Matters initiative earlier this year in support of the shop’s development.
Come along and visit us – we’re at 74 High Street, Wallingford OBX and open Monday to Saturday. We sell clothes, shoes, accessories, bric-a-brac, books, games and DVD’s. For enquiries, please contact the Manager, Tammy Wetherall, on 01491 824627
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If you would like to be involved in our community fundraising events, please contact Chris Burrows 01491 827593
I know you were all sad to see Kate go after so many years of friendship, inspiration and committment to the charity, and rightly so. I have been really impressed with everything I have seen in my first couple of weeks; friendly people, great support and fantastic values, all the things that made me decide to come to Style Acre in the first place. It is great to come to work and see so many happy smiling faces every day!
I have already met many people connected to Style Acre and hope to meet many more of you in the coming weeks to hear your views on what makes it such a great place to work and be supported. I plan to spend a day working in the Tea Room and the shop in Wallingford, and time at both Turnstyle and T2. I will be spending time with each Support Manager and looking for opportunities to shadow some support workers (feel free to volunteer).
Style Acre has achieved a huge amount in its 20 year history, providing opportunities for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire. This will continue because I am passionate about giving people choice and control, supporting people to play an active part in their community and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop friendships and get a job. I am keen to continue and enhance the work we do with families and look forward to attending my first Parents and Carers meeting at the end of the month. I look forward to building upon the connections and relationships we have with the local communities, businesses, trusts and Oxfordshire County Council because it is these partnerships which will help us achieve our goals.
I won’t go into great detail about myself right now but thought you would like to know a bit about my background. I have 21 years of experience in the social care sector, starting off as a support worker and working my way up through the various levels to my current position. I spent the last 8 years as Operations Director for a ‘not for profit’ organisation called Dimensions who also work with people with learning disabilities and autism, so am very familiar with the environment that Style Acre operates in and the challenges we face.
Please feel free to pop into my office or get in touch if there is anything you want to ask – you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Style Acre hosted a superb event with Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley and our vice-patron John Craven OBE, entitled ‘Getting to Know You’. A unique occasion, Steve and John, who had never met before, learnt about each other’s lives in the beautiful setting of Harris Manchester College, Oxford.
Blessed with the last of our fine weather, guests enjoyed drinks in the college Quad and an opportunity to meet Steve and John, before moving into the chapel, where our speakers chatted about their lives.
Much is chronicled about Steve – a true pioneer. Poignant to today’s refugee crises, was her experience of arriving in the UK as an unaccompanied, cold, hungry and bewildered 5 year old refugee on the “Kindertransport” In promoting our event on BBC Radio Oxford, she spoke of this time and you can listen here.
John revealed that his father had been a POW in Japan and talked of his father’s absence and then presence during his early childhood. Steve said that she has been driven to make her life one that was worth saving.
An early IT professional, Steve found it hard to find employment as a new mum in the early 1960’s and responded by setting-up her own software business, offering home-based employment to professional women in similar situations (ironically falling foul of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975!). John’s first question during an hour of compelling conversation was “Why ‘Steve’?”. When she was requesting bank loans and signing her letter as ‘Stephanie Shirley’, banks would not respond to her letter: a few years later, she and her employees were writing software for the likes of Supersonic Concorde! Her company became immensely successful and Steve became wealthy, but she chose a modest lifestyle, given away £60m to establish and support charities – especially in the field of autism.
Steve spoke emotionally of her beautiful baby son Giles who at two, lost what little speech he had and became an unmanageable autistic toddler. Bringing Giles up at a time when little was known of the condition and how best to support someone with autism, was incredibly difficult. So Steve set up Kingwood, initially a place for Giles to live and thrive – now a charity providing supported living and support for 100 people with autism.
No matter how successful we are, we will all experience challenge, success, tragedy, joy and sacrifice. John felt the biggest sacrifice to his success has been his privacy, although he has thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of his career – starting off as a journalist on the Harrogate Advertiser (cutting his teeth in Obituaries, where an obit of his was erroneously posted to the very much alive subject!), to switching to Saturday morning children’s TV, Newsround and Countryfile.
We are most grateful to Steve and John, for donating their time and proceeds from the sale of their books at the event, to Style Acre. Thanks to Harris Manchester for hosting our event and providing a delicious and much complimented lunch. We would also like to thank Kingerlee and Thomas Merrifield for providing corporate sponsorship towards the event.
They spent two years transforming a dull corner of their town into a lush, green paradise.
Last Friday the volunteers behind Wantage Market Garden flung open its gate to turn their little secret into a treat for the whole town.
The project at Charlton Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities is a joint venture with low carbon group Sustainable Wantage and disability support charity Style Acre.
When they started work in October 2013, project co-ordinator Dr Olwen Barlow said: “Over the past two years we have been bringing it back to life.”
The group is providing gardening opportunities for the community and invites people to help out on Fridays and Sundays.
On Friday, about 40 members of the public visited the garden and admired the tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers and beautiful flowers.
Dr Barlow, who lives in Charlton, said: “We had a steady stream of people coming through who seemed to enjoy themselves.”
To find out more about volunteering call Dr Barlow on 07527201559 or go to sustainablewantage.org.uk
Style Acre organised our third annual day of celebration and creative activities for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire. Hosted by Cornerstone Arts, the day began with an energetic Music and Dance session. We organised lots of taster sessions and workshops in music, art, puppets, badge-making, sensory story-telling, and creating a live radio drama. Learning disability dance troupe Anjali, performed pop-up dances and led a workshop. Watch this superb documentary made by Liam which chronicles the day.
The guys put so much work into this amazing performance, shown at Cornerstone Arts in Didcot as part of Access All Areas, a day of arts activities and celebration for people with learning disabilities.