Planning activities with ‘The Living Tree’
As the Service Manager for both New Horizons and West End Day Opportunities Centre, Leigh believes that you should never say never, and through her role she aims to ensure that every person using the two day centres she manages has a goals based plan and that they are at the very centre of any activities planned.
Leigh and her team also ensure that they care for and support appropriately the more complex individuals in relation to their health needs. The team pride themselves on broadening horizons, opening up opportunities for individuals.
Leigh says that she and her team make a positive difference everyday to the lives of those they support. She explains that the everyday living many of us take for granted is what she aims to encourage and enable in every person supported.
Leigh is knowledgeable in the legislative frameworks and codes of practice. She ensures that her team are always reviewing their practice both within peer networking forums and with the individuals supported, their families and key stakeholders.
Some people may not be able to participate in many activities at home, whether that is due to aging parents, access to transport or a confidence in accessing the community. So Leigh ensures that this is all explored and each person supported at the day centres has their own individual activity chart which details likes, dislikes, goals and aspirations, support needs and ideas for the next 12 months. In addition to this the centres both have what they call ‘A Living Tree’. This tree has 12 branches each representing a month in year. Within that month the team list a theme and activities linked to those themes that are to be planned meeting the abilities, aspirations and goals of the supported individuals. For example in March they are undertaking activities under the theme of Easter that will lead to celebrating together through arts and crafts, trips out, music, dance and song, refreshments and a variety of other activities.
The living tree is a visual working schedule for the work the team undertake at West End Opportunities Centre and New Horizons. They have a team meeting and put a suggestion box out for ideas on what everybody using the centres would like to do in the next year.
They then sit down and work out what they can achieve with each project so that they can fulfill the needs of the people they support. This planning is undertaken during November and December for the next year ahead, with any suggestions throughout the year also being put into the suggestion box.
Leigh feels as a Manager that it is important for the team and the people they support to have input into this as it keeps it fresh every month. That way they have a focused team and people supported across the two centres have a shared purpose. As the team and people supported are very much community based, living life to the full, this tree forms a small part of their day to day activities but it makes a positive difference for each person involved.