Our Impact 2018/19
The Heart of FitzRoy
We provide support for people with learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, and mental health needs. The people we support are at the heart of everything we do and the decisions we make.
FitzRoy transforms lives every day, supporting people to lead the lives they choose. Our vision is a society where people are treated as equals, regardless of their disability.
We were set up in 1962 by parents who were determined that their children with learning disabilities would not grow up in institutional care and instead could live in loving homes with opportunities to learn, grow and thrive.
We are driven to ‘see the person’ in everything we do, making sure the people we support have choices, and get the support they need to fulfil their potential and gain greater independence.
People we support
85% say they are supported to work towards their dreams and goals
8% say they do not get the chance to try new things
Family and friends
90% said that support workers communicate well with their relative
20% said they are not always kept up to date with news and progress
Professionals we work with
100% said they feel like FitzRoy works in partnership with them
7% said they are not kept informed about a person’s change in need
What our staff say…
Where we’re doing well
Room for improvement
Acting on feedback from our staff survey, in 2018/19 we:
- Launched Love My Perks – a new staff benefit programme that gives cash back and discounts in high street stores
- Developed our FitzRoy Leadership Programme – a values based training programme for all our managers
- Continued to recognise the value of our staff by awarding a pay rise of at least 2%
9% increase of staff who said their manager consistently expresses their appreciation when they do a good job.
Working with my support team
A good relationship between staff and the people we support is so important. Our staff work hard to ensure that people feel listened to, that their choices are respected, and they are encouraged to work towards their goals.
Stephen has a great relationship with his key worker and service manager.
“He takes me everywhere I want to go, like the gym. He helps me grow vegetables in the garden. If I want to go on holiday, he helps me with my finances. I went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cyprus. I call it the roasting country! I loved it!”
“I keep telling Abida she’s wonderful, she’s nice, has a nice smile. She sees everyone as much as possible.”
Stephen, supported by FitzRoy in Birmingham
“The staff are very friendly and respectful of John’s needs. He gets on well with all of them. They help him but really encourage him to do things for himself, like making a cup of tea. They prepare him well for new situations, that would normally upset him. They reassure him and explain things to him. It’s about being respectful, friendly and appropriate. We can relax in the knowledge he’s being cared for and can live the life he wants.”
Dave Gilbert, brother of John
supported by FitzRoy in Nottingham
Recruiting quality staff
Involving the people we support in the recruitment of our staff is a great way to assess whether someone is right for the role.
At Donec Mews in Surrey, interviewees complete an activity with a person, which can be anything they might normally do as part of the job, like supporting them to prepare a meal. Shirley has enjoyed being involved in the interviews:
“It’s important they speak to me… say hello… be happy, look friendly.”
“Their gut feeling and first impression about someone are really important. After all, potential staff are not going to be supporting me – I need to see how they interact with the people they will be supporting.”
Karen Bond, Service Manager, Surrey
Supporting people at the end of their life and with bereavement
This is always an incredibly hard time for families, staff and other residents but it is also a privilege for us to care for someone at the end of their life. We prepare the people we support to deal with loss and grief in lots of ways including the easy-read books, ‘Beyond Words’.
A long-term resident at our supported living service in Suffolk, Chrissie, passed away earlier this year from cancer. She was known affectionately as ‘Queen Bee’ and the dancing queen. Staff made sure that her final months were at home and filled with love and friendship.
“The care that Chrissie received was outstanding. Chrissie always came first, the staff did everything they could to make her life better.”
“Chrissie’s diagnosis and the end of her life came very quickly, but Bev and her team did everything right. During the last few weeks we were there every day. We talked a lot, we cried a lot, but we also laughed a lot, all sharing our wonderful memories. We were all Chrissie’s family. There was always staff with Chrissie, all day and all night, not just one or two, but every member of staff wanted to help. We will be forever grateful to everyone for their devotion, care and compassion.”
Judy Byam, sister of Chrissie who was supported by FitzRoy for more than 10 years
Getting the right health care
Sometimes we need to challenge decisions made by other professionals to get people the right care and support, particularly their health care. We are training our staff on how to be stronger advocates to give people a voice and a choice over how their health care is managed.
Jonathan lost a lot of mobility and a lot of weight after having a seizure two years ago. His staff team worked with speech and language and other health professionals to get him onto more solid food, but he would get chest infections. As there was no obvious reason for this, they pushed for it to be investigated. Jonathan had a growth on the bone in his neck, which was affecting his ability to swallow. Removing the growth was a big operation and health professionals were reluctant to operate. His support team represented Jonathan in his best interest meeting with other professionals. The orthopaedic team agreed to operate. Jonathan had the growth removed this year and was eating jam and toast within the first week.
“We recently celebrated Jonathan’s birthday, and he really loves his food so it was great to see him being able to eat his birthday cake. It’s so rewarding and shows how important it is to push to get the right outcome.”
Mel Simpson, Service Manager, Essex
Cathryn lost her mobility and could no longer talk or feed herself following a stroke two years ago. Before the stroke she had used a walking jacket which allowed her to walk around her home independently. When she was discharged from hospital, support staff really wanted Cathryn to have the opportunity to walk again and worked with her for a year to get her mobility back.
“When Cathryn’s social worker recently visited her, after a gap of a year, she didn’t recognise Cathryn as her transformation has been so complete. Cathryn is now feeding herself and talking, she also stood in her kitchen the other week and made her own sandwich.”
Emily Priestley, Deputy Manager, Nottingham
Investing in quality
Our aspiration is always to deliver the best possible support to the people who use our services. As FitzRoy grows, we continue to invest in and improve our quality management process and oversight to give us a well-rounded understanding of how a service is operating. We want, assurance that people are happy and feel safe, that they and their families feel listened to and that their quality of life is what they want it to be.
“It’s really good. Different staff helping you out. Help me to do my washing and cooking. They listen to what we say. I wanted to go to the pub on my own, asked staff, they helped me do travel training so I could go. Left me for half an hour at first then built it up. I have a game of darts, it gives me a bit of space, time to myself.
It’s lovely and quiet. I do things for myself, washing, make my own bed in the morning. Mum used to do it, now I do. It’s like gold for me.”
Darren, supported by FitzRoy in Nottingham
Before Bernard was supported by FitzRoy, he was too scared to leave his room, even to go to the toilet.
“I feel safe here. Nice staff.”
Bernard, supported by FitzRoy in Nottingham
We have enjoyed welcoming new people into brand new homes. Our new service near Basingstoke in Hampshire, for young people with complex and challenging behaviours, has 18 individual modern new build flats and communal space. The service is focused on supporting individuals coming from varying providers, including secure settings, or family homes.
“Staff have worked hard to make sure that all our new residents settle into their homes and feel part of the community. The people we support have achieved so much.”
Julie Cartawick, Service Manager, Hampshire
Natalie is 29 and received the most wonderful Christmas present that anyone could ask for – her first settled, permanent home where she isn’t sharing with other people. Now she can plan, make long-term friends and build strong community links.
“This is the first time I have lived on my own, in my own place. I am really excited, I wasn’t nervous at all! Since moving in I have been really busy. I have been going to the shops with FitzRoy staff, buying food, getting out and about in the community. I have been shopping for things I need for my home. I bought a new hoover!”
Natalie, supported by FitzRoy in Hampshire
The new building for our Silver Birches service in London is almost complete and residents are very excited that they will soon be moving into their new home. Thanks to an exceptional gift from the Band Trust, the new build home is being kitted out to the highest standards with adaptable baths and furniture, new IT equipment and assistive technology devices and systems.
“All of the residents have been involved in choosing the paint colours for their bedroom and the flooring. They have been to look around the new building and are really excited – one of the people we support kept saying ‘Look at this!’ and another knew it was her room as soon as we opened the door because it is painted lilac, she started laughing and her eyes lit up.”
Karen Stanislaus, Deputy Manager Silver Birches
We have been embracing assistive technology (AT) to unlock independence, choice and a voice for the people we support. FitzRoy’s first Assistive Technologist, Carrie Sant, started in January 2019 and is working across the organisation to assess the needs of the people we support, evaluate what AT best suits their needs and support FitzRoy services to use AT devices and systems.
“AT solutions don’t need to be high tech, they can be anything that works for the individual, that can assist them to do the things they want to do, that open up their choices and opportunities and increases their independence.”
Carrie Sant, Assistive Technologist
Realising Dreams, Reaching Goals
The daily achievements of the people we support reminds us why FitzRoy exists. Over this year we have seen some amazing goals reached and dreams realised.
Dillon confounded all expectations when he took his first steps in more than 20 years. His support team tried many ways to help him improve his mobility and muscle strength. Using a walking jacket (a supportive harness) helped him build up his confidence.
“We got straight on the phone to his mum, who came over and saw him take four steps. It was very emotional. He screams with laughter and excitement now, and we’ve even had a dance. Dillon has worked so hard and surpassed everyone’s expectations. It really feels like he now has the opportunity to meet his full potential.”
Abi, support worker, Nottingham
Bex has been able to express herself using spoken words for the first time. She started on a CleverTouch (a huge touch screen) then graduated to an iPad and the MyChoicePad communications app that uses Makaton signs and symbols. Bex also uses the iPad to Skype her family, which means she can communicate with them whenever she wants.
“Technology expands people’s communications choices – for how they want to communicate, to who and when – and this freedom, along with learning new skills, all helps build their self-esteem. They’re able to build on their existing communication skills, trying different approaches that suit them and get across what they need to say. My favourite part of my job is seeing the smiles on their faces as they achieve new goals.”
Karen Bannister, Deputy Manager, Malvern
Keely recently had a dream holiday to Dubai to celebrate her 21st birthday.
“Organising the trip to Dubai took quite a lot of planning and research to make sure that Keely and her senior support worker would have everything they needed, and Keely would be safe. It is quite a challenge, but it is always worth all the planning. Why should people with learning disabilities be deprived of all the magical things that so many of us plan and look forward to? When Keely saw the tickets in her birthday card, she couldn’t believe it. She kept saying ‘am I really going?’”
Abida Begum, Service Manager, Birmingham
“It was like I went into a dream, I was treated like royalty.”
Keely, supported by FitzRoy in Birmingham
This year we launched a Makaton Champion scheme to help our staff communicate meaningfully and effectively with the people we support. We now have a network of service managers trained as Makaton Champions to support and teach staff to use signing and other forms of communication.
Alex relies heavily on Makaton and pictures to communicate with others. His support team undertook an introduction to Makaton signing session which means he can now freely express his choices, thoughts and feelings to staff.
“Before Alex came to Pinewood we had no prior knowledge of Makaton but he has given us the opportunity to learn new skills. The bespoke training has made it much easier for us to interact with him and, without it, his transition to his new home would have been much more difficult. He has given us a new perspective on how we can communicate with each other.”
Cat Jones, Service Manager, Hampshire
Our Love4Life dating and friendship project helps some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our society, who often do not receive care provision but are at risk of bullying, hate crime, mate crime, isolation, and loneliness.
We run more than 20 events a month, including discos, meals out, sporting events, exercise and performing arts classes. This year members have also benefitted from workshops on online safety, financial skills, avoiding scams and fraud, cooking and sex education. We are very grateful to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund which has enabled us to improve and expand the project with more events in different locations.
“Love4Life has changed my life because it has helped my confidence and making friends. Before I was in my room just playing computer games, had no friends, no job, no money and I was really depressed. When I found Love4Life it changed me. I’m far more active, I have been doing lots of things I didn’t think I could do, I’ve made lots of new friends.”
Taylor, Love4Life member
“When I became a member of Love4Life I was a shy, lonely and lost person who existed rather than living. My greatest wish for this charity is that Love4Life continues and develops, so it can transform lives just like it has mine.”
Alex, Love4Life member
Love4Life survey October 2018
Making a Difference
Thank you to all the individuals, trusts and foundations, community groups, companies and families who have supported us this year. Your support is so very important to us – without it we wouldn’t be able to achieve as much for vulnerable people.
West to east cycle ride
Councillor David Ritchie from Suffolk County Council organised a fundraising cycle ride with three of his friends. They cycled 400 miles from St David’s in Pembrokeshire to Lowestoft in Suffolk, raising just under £5,000 for FitzRoy.
Volunteering at FitzRoy
“Volunteering for Love4Life makes me feel as though I am making a positive difference to the lives of adults with learning disabilities and autism. It is really rewarding to spend time enabling disabled adults to access all the same opportunities I enjoy – drinking cocktails, having dinner with friends and of course dating too!
“Spending time with the Love4Life members and seeing them living life to the fullest always puts a smile on my face.”
Cader McPhail, Volunteer for Love4Life
“I have always loved gardening, so when an opportunity came to work in a garden in my retirement, I jumped at it. It met my expectations to continue to be active and give something back to a community. It was voluntary but I would recommend it to anyone. Over the years I have had an enormous amount of feedback on how beautiful the gardens look. It gives me great pleasure.”
Ian Farley, Volunteer gardener at FitzRoy Donec Mews in Surrey
Freefalling for FitzRoy
“When I got into the plane I was feeling quite scared and when I jumped out it felt very weird, but once the parachute opened I felt amazing, like I was flying. I’m very proud of myself because I overcame my fears and even though I felt anxious I did not change my mind. I wanted to prove I can achieve things and I wanted to fundraise to help Love4Life. Without Love4Life I wouldn’t have many friends and I wouldn’t have found my lovely boyfriend Matthew. If you keep going you feel more confident to achieve things!”
Grace, member of Love4Life
“The Three Peaks Challenge is what it says – A CHALLENGE! You get very little amounts of sleep, not great food and to top it off, three of the Biggest Mountains England, Scotland and Wales has to offer. I managed to do all three peaks with the team in 23hrs 30mins! Such an amazing achievement, one I will never forget. The whole experience was made even better knowing I raised a fantastic amount from so many generous people, for an incredible cause. Joe loves going to The Maltings. He really has struck up some amazing connections with the staff, and I really hope that my donation is used to help as best as possible.”
Darren Mildon, brother of Joe, who attends FitzRoy’s day service The Maltings in Norfolk
“FitzRoy are making a real difference to people’s lives every day and I am very proud to help them.”
David Fawcett, long-time supporter of FitzRoy who took part in the Great South Run 2018
Thank You to…
Our Royal Patron
We were honoured to host Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, our Royal Patron, when she officially opened our Stepping Stones service in Suffolk. This is home to four friends who have realised their dream to live independently together. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a committed Royal Patron who has been with us during many decades of change and growth.
Anna Galliford, Chief Executive and Company Secretary
Liz Ambler, Director of Operations and Business Development
Alison Heustice, Director of Finance
Marianne Radcliffe, Director of Fundraising, Marketing and IT
Robyn Wedderburn, Director of Human Resources
The voices of the people we support across FitzRoy services.
FitzRoy Patrons and Trustees
HRH Princess Alexandra KG, GCVO
Virginia McKenna OBE
Lord and Lady Tanlaw
Countess of Euston, Lord-Lieutenant for Suffolk
Nigel Atkinson, Lord-Lieutenant for Hampshire
Andrew Grant, DL
The Board of Trustees during the year were as follows:
Martin Kyndt – Chair (appointed January 2019)
Julia Le Blan – Chair (resigned September 2018)
Matthew Moth – Vice-Chair
Ian White – Vice-Chair (resigned March 2019)
Lucy Chaudhuri (resigned September 2018)
Andrew Gore (resigned April 2018)
This report can only scratch the surface of the amazing difference that FitzRoy makes every day in the lives of the people it supports.
I joined FitzRoy’s Board in September and was delighted to become Chair of Trustees in January. After a career in international development working to provide poor, disadvantaged and marginalised communities in developing countries with the opportunities to empower and transform their own lives,
I am hugely impressed and humbled by the impact of FitzRoy’s people centred approach. I am deeply inspired by the quality of the staff who embody the values of the organisation’s founder, Elizabeth FitzRoy, in their dedication and commitment to empower the people they support to realise their dreams and potential.
It has been a huge privilege on my part to have joined such an organisation that is constantly challenging itself to improve the quality of its work in creative and innovative ways. The Love4Life programme is a wonderful example of how FitzRoy provides creative opportunities for new friendships that truly transform lives.
Sustaining the delivery of this high-quality work, within the constraints of increasingly stretched local authority care sector budgets, has been hugely challenging. But FitzRoy has again demonstrated its operational effectiveness by ending the year in a strong financial position.
I am impressed by what FitzRoy has already achieved and excited by its potential to reach out, touch and transform even more lives over this coming year. I very much look forward to playing my role in supporting the organisation to do that.
With very best wishes,