Thanks to the support of employers across the North East, Hedleys Employability has placed 73 disabled young people and adults within companies to gain valuable work experience in the last year.

In a series of features, we go behind the scenes at some of the work placements organised by the Hedleys Employability team to see how both employer and employee benefit from the experience.

Next up is Jack Bell, who attends Northern Counties School in Jesmond. Jack’s placement was at Tesco Simonside, South Shields, where he went one day a week for five months.

Jack has been finding out what it’s like to work at grocery giant Tesco.

The Northern Counties School student has a moderate to severe hearing impairment and showed an interest in retail after he attended a Farm to Fork session delivered at Tesco in Sunderland.

After building links through Whizz Kidz, Hedleys Employability sourced a placement for Jack at Tesco in Simonside, South Shields, for 5 weeks.

Jack attended his placement every Tuesday between 10am-3pm and his tasks included pricing and labelling products and operating the training checkout.

He enjoyed his time at the store so much he expressed a desire to extend his placement.

Store Manager, Helen Harber, was only too happy to accommodate Jack and extended the placement until the end of July.

As an organisation they have learnt so much from Jack about his ability to carry out tasks, as Helen explains.

“Jack will not allow anything to defeat him, he makes himself known to the customers and staff,” Helen said.

“Initially I thought Jack’s hearing impairment would be a barrier but this hasn’t been the case. We have found alternative ways to communicate.

“Having Jack here has taught us a lot about communicating with deaf people. When Jack first came I probably aimed most of our conversation at his interpreter but now I focus on Jack when we’re talking.

“For me personally, it’s taught me a lot having Jack with us and it’s taught us a lot about different disabilities. Through our links with Whizz Kids we tend to come across individuals who use wheelchairs so it has been good to have Jack who has a very different impairment.”

Following Jack’s placement, Tesco have also invited Hedleys Employability into store to deliver disability awareness training to staff.

Helen said: “Staff are really keen to get involved in some disability awareness training and it’s something we’ll be able to take a lot from.

“We’re a small store so we work with a lot of disabled customers who prefer coming here than going to one of our bigger stores.

“Having Jack on placement has not only been about communication, it’s taught us a lot in terms of accessibility as well.

“Jack’s a lovely young man and it’s been a privilege to work with him. We can see that he gets so much out of it and it makes me proud to work with him and be able to offer him this opportunity.”

Newcastle law firm Burnetts were the triumphant team in this year’s Challenge 500 which saw North East businesses raised over £49,000 for the Foundation.

Burnetts were one of nine teams participating in the challenge, in which teams were given a £500 seed fund and tasked with making that £500 grow.

The law firm raised a staggering £21,275 – the most any team has raised in the history of the charity’s fundraising challenge.

Our heartfelt thanks to all teams who took part in this year’s challenge; Burnetts, Gainford Group, Gateshead College, Handelsbanken, Newcastle College, Newcastle 6th Form College, Northumbrian Water, Puddle Ducks, Sage and Ward Hadaway.

The money raised will help us make a massive difference to the children, young people and adults we support.

Sheila Coltman, Corporate Fundraising Partnerships Manager at the Foundation said: “During last year’s Challenge 500, 12 teams raised £35,500 but with the support of organisations like Burnetts, 2017 has been even better and broke all records with a grand total of £49,071.

“This fantastic contribution towards our work will make a huge difference to the disabled children, young people and adults who depend so much on our services.”

Foundation’s funny man to perform at the Stand

Sarah Millican, Chris Ramsey and Phil Jupitus have all graced the stage at The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle – and they’re about to be joined on that list by the Foundation’s very own funny man.

On Saturday, September 23, Seymour Mace presents Mr Joe King – AKA Alex Miller – for his first ever sketch in front of a live comedy audience.

Alex, 31, has lived at the Foundation’s adult residence Chipchase House since 2012 and attends Hedleys Able 2 four days a week.

Performing at the Stand will be a dream come true for Alex, who has always had a keen interest in comedy.

“I’ve always watched a lot of comedy on TV and I’ve been lucky enough to see some of my favourite comedians live.

“Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week are two of my favourites and I’ve also seen Harry Hill and Miranda Hart live.”

Although September’s gig will be Alex’s first in front of a live comedy audience he has got another big performance under his belt already.

Alex performed a sketch at Hedleys Got Talent last November to over 200 people at the Assembly Rooms – a performance that earned some rave reviews.

Alex has cerebral palsy and autism but hopes his Stand gig will inspire other disabled people to chase their dreams.

He said: “Comedy is really important because it brings people together from all walks of life, everyone is welcome.

“When I told my mum and dad about the Stand gig they didn’t believe me at first. They thought I was actually Joe-King! I did have to pinch myself when I found out about it.

“I’d like to think that by me doing this I’m proving to other people out there like me that no matter your disability you can achieve in life.

I hope I can make people aware that you can achieve your dreams and there are no barriers to disabled people being able to perform.”

Alex is busy rehearsing his sketch with staff at Hedleys Able 2 at Orion and he has been mentored by Seymour Mace, who performs regularly at the Newcastle venue.

The support Alex has received from staff at Hedleys Able 2 has been invaluable with the team coming up with ideas to help him on the night.

“It will be a big challenge for me because of my memory loss,” Alex explained. “The staff at Able 2 have come up with ways to help me on the night and they’ve been a huge driving force behind my progress.

“I’m a mixture of nerves and excitement for the gig. Performing in front of strangers is never easy as you’re not sure how your jokes will go down but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Alex hopes his performance at the Stand will get him noticed on the comedy circuit and that it will be the first step to fulfilling him long-term goal of performing on television.

Seymour Mace presents…Mr Joe King

Saturday, September 23rd, 4:30-6:30pm

Tickets for Alex’s show are £5 and can be reserved by calling The Stand Box Office on 0191 3009700. Proceeds from the night will go to the Percy Hedley Foundation

More info at: http://www.thestand.co.uk/show/29182/seymour_mace_presents_mr_joe_king_a_fundraiser_for_the_percy_hedley_foundation_

 

Group 15 at Hedleys College made a big donation to Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter recently.

The Group collected food, bedding, toys and treats for the shelter as part of their community interaction session and the response was staggering!

Marie from the shelter visited in June and brought a couple of helpers in the form of Husky Roscoe and French Bulldog Winston!

Both students and staff loved meeting the dogs and were really happy to hand over the donations to the shelter. Thank you to everyone who donated and to Sheree Ford for organising it all!

Through our work, we are lucky to meet some amazing people, who go above and beyond to raise vital funds to ensure we can continue our work with disabled children, young people and adults.

We are extremely grateful to each and every single person who has raised money, made a donation or organised a fundraising event in aid of us. Every penny really does count in our mission to improve the lives of those we support and care for.

There are lots of ways people raise money for The Percy Hedley Foundation, but what we really love hearing about is why they do it. In our feature, Fab Fundraisers, we’ll get the story behind their amazing efforts.

Adult resident Richard Trumble is gearing up for his biggest challenge to date when he takes on a 10k ski-fit challenge.

Richard, 57, has cerebral palsy but is a regular at Reebok CrossFit in Byker.

As a child Richard attended Percy Hedley School and now lives at The Percy Hedley Foundation’s adult residence in Forest Hall.

He is no stranger to fundraising via challenging means and has already completed a CrossFit challenge and zipwire from the top of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts in aid of the Foundation.

His latest challenge is a 10k ski-fit challenge on August 15 at Reebok CrossFit when he will be raising money for the residents’ fund at Percy Hedley.

For Richard, taking part in such challenges isn’t just about raising money though.

Three years ago he suffered a broken foot and because of his cerebral palsy has suffered with a condition called oedema ever since.

Oedema is caused by an excess of watery fluid and can cause severe swelling. Physiotherapy helps ease the swelling but when Richard lost his funding for physio his doctor suggested trying CrossFit.

Since taking up the exercise, Richard has benefitted hugely with CrossFit helping to maintain his mobility and also leg and upper body strength.

“If I didn’t do CrossFit I would be curled up in a ball. I wouldn’t be able to get out into the community. I would be bed bound,” Richard explained.

If I don’t keep myself mobile fluid builds up and causes swelling which can be very painful.”

Richard is looking for sponsors to help fund transport to and from the CrossFit gym. If you are interested in supporting Richard continue his training please contact Chipchase House on 0191 238 1313.

Huge thanks to Sainsbury’s Local Forest Hall, who will be providing free water for Richard during his challenge and to Jordan Wallace at CrossFit Tyneside for his training support.

Richard’s challenge starts at 11am on Tuesday, August 15. To sponsor him visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-trumble2 or text RTRU66 to 70070

The Foundation was delighted to be the chosen charity to benefit from this year’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) North East Awards.

Hedleys Able 2 was heavily involved on the night with a piece of art made by Jess and Philip being auctioned off.

Their Georgia O’Keefe-inspired poppy picture is a mixed media collage consisting of acrylic paint on board with tissue paper, crepe paper, fabric, leather, glass beads, and varnish.

The art work took Jess and Philip 9 months to complete and has previously been on display at The Sage, Gateshead.

Hedleys Able 2 also made and supplied the table centrepieces for the night and we had lots of people commenting how great they looked on the night.

Well done to everyone involved in making the centrepieces and to Jess and Philip for creating such an amazing piece of art.

 

Through our work, we are lucky to meet some amazing people, who go above and beyond to raise vital funds to ensure we can continue our work with disabled children, young people and adults.

We are extremely grateful to each and every single person who has raised money, made a donation or organised a fundraising event in aid of us. Every penny really does count in our mission to improve the lives of those we support and care for.

There are lots of ways people raise money for The Percy Hedley Foundation, but what we really love hearing about is why they do it. In our feature, Fab Fundraisers, we’ll get the story behind their amazing efforts.

Hi,

My name is Jimmy Simpson. I’m 17 and don’t have time to worry about fear. Since birth I have dealt with circumstances which take courage to deal with. I have cerebral palsy which is a physical condition that occurs as a result of brain damage during birth. For me, my condition affects the things others would find easy, but that does not stop me. I’m a thrill seeker and love my life. I enjoy adrenaline-filled activities including zip wires, free fall drops and rollercoasters.

On the 25th of June I am taking part in a 15,000ft skydive in order to raise money for my school. Percy Hedley School has helped and supported me since I was 3-years- old. They have also encouraged me to believe in myself and focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t.

For me doing this skydive is a dream, something I have always wanted to do. The skydive will boost my adrenaline as it will be the biggest thing to date I have done. Allowing me to raise this money will help support me, my friends and the other students at school accomplish our dreams.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, I would be extremely grateful if you could help me support my school by donating.

Thank you for reading.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jimmy-simpson-1

Hedleys College are the catch of the day!

Hedleys College students scooped the Best Team Award at the Jack Charlton Disabled Anglers Cup at Kielder Reservoir this week!

The team were in fine form after their regular Friday fishing sessions with the Angling for All Fishing Club.

They demonstrated fantastic concentration, patience, enthusiasm and teamwork, and they even managed to have loads of fun and catch 10 fish!

 

This haul of fish meant they won the Best Team Award with the highest rod average of 2lb 2oz per student.

It was a very proud moment receiving the trophy from Jack Charlton!

Huge well done everyone!

 

Foraging with Peace and Loaf!

Students from Hedleys College had an interesting morning when they took part in a foraging workshop before half term.

Those who access the practical skills pathway as part of their vocational programme took part and were shown around by Geeta and David from Peace and Loaf Jesmond.

The workshop involved identifying different fresh, locally grown produce in and around hedgerows and woodlands that can be picked and used as part of the menu they offer.

Students and staff had great fun and learnt a lot about the use of edible plants that can be transformed into jams, soups, sauces, cordials, wrappings, beers, wines and many more.

Even the staff got stuck in! Huge thanks to Geeta and David at Peace and Loaf!

Through our work, we are lucky to meet some amazing people, who go above and beyond to raise vital funds to ensure we can continue our work with disabled children, young people and adults.

We are extremely grateful to each and every single person who has raised money, made a donation or organised a fundraising event in aid of us. Every penny really does count in our mission to improve the lives of those we support and care for.

There are lots of ways people raise money for The Percy Hedley Foundation, but what we really love hearing about is why they do it. In our feature, Fab Fundraisers, we’ll get the story behind their amazing efforts.

On the first of June a team from Accenture will take on a 200 mile bike ride from Edinburgh to Newcastle in aid of the Foundation.

Some of the team in training!

The team, who are based at Accenture’s office on the Cobalt Business Park, will complete the journey over three gruelling days.

It isn’t the first time the team have completed a charity bike ride, though, as they completed the Coast 2 Coast last year.

That experience should stand some of the team in good stead going into what it dubbed the Coast and Castles bike ride.

Nikki Best is part of the team and says they hope to better the amount raised last year.

“We are aiming to beat last year’s total raised in fundraising for Coast to Coast and get £5000 in sponsors.

“Accenture chose The Percy Hedley Foundation to fundraise for because of all the brilliant work they do in the area. The amount of support you provide for people with disabilities and their families is phenomenal and we would like you to help you in continuing your great work.

There are 22 of riders involved in this bike ride and it amazes us that we can all get on a bike and ride so easily when there are many who can’t. We wanted to physically challenge ourselves doing 60-70 miles per day over 3 days whilst also helping PHF.”

If you would like to sponsor the team visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AccentureCoastandCastles

A huge thank you from everyone at the Foundation!