Everyday Impact Award 2016 – New Enterprises – Bright Shadow
In 2009 Katy and Rhiannon, the two company directors, visited a dementia care home as part of a University placement. Having never met a person with dementia before, both felt rather like fishes out of water. Observing that the most common activity in the care home was sitting silently around the outside edges of a large living room whilst day-time TV blared out, it became apparent that what was needed was an injection of life, laughter, conversation and fun. After a fruitless foray into the world of reminiscence, they realized that using performance practices in a participatory, person centered way was a relatively undocumented and un-researched approach.
So, over 8 weeks running workshops in the dining room, they began experimenting-with riotous results. Soon, the group of women they were working with was transformed from a passive group of people sat in the living room, to a dining room full of individuals who laughed, communicated, recited poetry, made jokes, had relationships with one another and had great imaginations. Through using song, movement, story making and sensory activities, this
Group of students found that something amazing happened-people were interacting on a human level, were building relationships, expressing themselves and enjoying the environment in which they lived.
Katy and Rhiannon believe that this way of being should not be an ‘out of the ordinary’ experience for people with dementia, but rather as ordinary and as accessible a way of life as it is for any human being. They want to transform every person with dementia’s experience from that of the living room to the dining room. They have a vision for using creativity and performance to enable people with dementia to have fun, have meaningful relationships with other people, to laugh, to express themselves and to thrive. They have a vision for a brighter quality of care, for both the person with dementia and the people who care for them.
Bright Shadow enables people with dementia and those that love and care for them to live well and to thrive. They use creativity to provide brighter quality dementia care which is mood-boosting, invigorating and relationship enhancing.
They have developed and delivered the following services and products to fulfil this mission and make change happen for people affected by dementia:
- Zest workshops. These themed activity sessions use imagination, music, movement, storytelling and sensory stimulation. These workshops have been used in a variety of settings such as care homes, community settings and as part of intergenerational initiatives. They are available as one off injections of creativity and inspiration and as part of longer-term programmes.
- Out of the Box Based on our Zest methodology, this two day course equips care staff and activity coordinators with practical skills in delivering creative activities as well as some of the theory behind how these methods can contribute towards delivering best practice models of care, Improving the wellbeing of everyone surrounding a setting not just people who are in receipt of care.
Boxes activity resource kits. These kits are for those delivering activities for groups and for people living at home. Each box is set up around its own theme and all activities link into that theme.
There are music activities, movement activities, creative writing activities, games and many more, all including step-by step instructions on how to deliver or approach the activity. This enterprise began with only the two directors and their skills at delivering workshops. They had their practice, but no business skills or experience. This has been the biggest challenge to date to learn about running a social enterprise, and how best to reach financial sustainability, changing products and services accordingly, without compromising on values and mission. Their other challenge is to let their customer base know they exist. Nobody needs convincing that people with dementia need good food, exercise or appropriate medical care, however people do need convincing that their approaches like theirs are vital for a person’s wellbeing and that this is as important as physical health. They see advocacy as part of their mission.
This story illustrates their work:
At the beginning of 2016, they began a series of workshops for people living with dementia and their carers in Thane! They had never run workshops in the community before so this was a big risk. Would anyone actually come? The first week they had 9 people which was a relief. Two of these people were a mother and daughter, Rachael and Anne. The group took their seats with their drink orders in hand and began to fill out the forms that characterize the beginning of any evaluated project. It’s a tricky start to any relationship. For Rachael, bringing her Mum to this group was difficult, it involved a bus ride, new people, odd environments and had the potential to go horribly wrong, she was clearly anxious and struggling with the changes in her mum and in their relationship.
That day they all went on a journey to a desert island. They sang, danced, created stories, laughed and Rachael began to relax as Anne joined in. Anne is an enthusiastic participant. Having been a photographer she is no stranger to the creative world, and particularly joins in with the music, movement and visual arts. When we had a guest artist in to do printing with the group Anne sat and drew what appeared to be a self-portrait, a face with kind and gentle features. She sat drawing with a big smile on her face, lost in what she was doing. Rachael commented “I’ve noticed such a change in mood in Mum since we’ve been coming here”.
They were able to reassure Rachael that a cinema visit would be possible by being dementia friendly, so there would be no adverts and also a quiet place to go to if it got too much for Anne and that coming and going or moving around wouldn’t be a problem at the screening. Most important there would be people there who understood. The visit was a great success.
Rachael has also taken one of the Bright Boxes activity resource kits for people living in their own homes, to use when Anne comes to visit. She came in excited after she had first used it and reported “Looking after someone who’s got dementia is really tiring and can be very time consuming so it’s really good that you have thought things through and handed over this pack that you can just dip Into and get on with” She said her mum had stayed for nearly an hour longer than normal because they had interesting things to talk about and do together.
This is why Bright Shadow exists, to give people affected by dementia opportunities to enjoy community, creativity and most of all, each other.
Everyday Impact – New Enterprises – Colin Hegarty Maths (individual being nominated)
There are 7.8 million students learning maths in the UK (15% on Free School Meals). Colin Hegarty wanted to disrupt the private tuition market, which can shamelessly leave the disadvantaged behind. He wanted to level the playing field for everyone to have the same access to the best maths teaching possible. The aim of his organization is to allow every child learner to have free access to world- class maths teaching regardless of their background, economic position, quality of their home support or current attitude towards maths.
In the UK today two thirds of children from disadvantaged backgrounds leave school without functional standards of english and maths. The current system is struggling to close the achievement gap for disadvantaged children. Not only is this a personal tragedy for each one of these children, it has a lasting and damaging effect on the economy.
Colin Hegarty is a maths teacher from Preston Manor School in North West London and founder of HegartyMaths, an online maths tutorial website, which uses videos to provide high-quality maths tuition free of charge. Colin firmly believes that children should be given an equal chance to succeed at school, and so created HegartyMaths as a tool to help some of the students struggling in his class. Alongside a full-time teaching job, Colin spent his free time, often working until the early hours of the morning, creating YouTube videos for his students. With support from the Let Teachers SHINE programme, which seeks to seed-fund innovative teacher-led projects, Colin has grown HegartyMaths into an online tool which not only provides tutorial videos covering the entire GCSE and A-level maths curriculum, but provides resources and tools for teachers to give greater support for their students.
Thanks to the HegartyMaths tool, Colin has impacted the lives of over 30,000 pupils last year, setting them up for a better future with real options for successful careers.
You can read more about these success stories here: https://hegartymaths.com/success .
Since 2012, Colin has reached 50% of UK secondary schools via his maths tutorial website, which now has 30,000 subscribers and 2,500 teachers and children accessing his maths videos every day. Overall, he’s had over 5,507,603 views on YouTube and is impacting the lives of over 30,000 students.
In 2014, Colin won the Pearson Teaching Award and in May 2015 came second out of 3,000 entrants in the Start-up category of the Virgin Pitch to Rich competition. His work has also received worldwide recognition and in 2016 Colin was shortlisted as one of the top 10 Global Teachers of the Year, dubbed the ‘Nobel Prize’ for teaching.
Everyday Impact – New Enterprise – MakeLunch
MakeLunch is a network of community volunteers across the UK who provide meals during school holidays for children and families who rely on Free School Meals during term time.
They are the first UK charity created specifically to target the problem of Holiday Hunger- the added financial pressure felt by low income families during school holidays. MakeLunch was first inspired by a TV documentary called Poor Kids (TrueVision, 2011) in which children across the UK talked about their own personal lived experiences of poverty. One of the struggles they described was the financial stresses caused by school holidays and the removal of the free meals that come with term time. For many children in the UK, this is the only reliable meal they get each day. In the summer of 2011, just six weeks after the documentary was shown, they opened just three pilot locations serving 300 meals between them. Since those early days they have served over 32,000 meals in over 100 locations.
MakeLunch now operates as a social franchise, offering high-quality training to help groups get started serving their community in this way, followed by a supportive community as they continue. Their aims are two-fold: firstly to ensure a holiday lunch provision available within walking distance of every child who needs it and secondly, to use the statistics, stories and information gathered to influence government to make policy change so that Holiday Hunger is no longer a problem.
Statistics show that growing up in a low-income family will have a significant impact on a child’s academic achievement. National data from 2014 shows that 33.5% of pupils eligible for FSM achieved at least 5 A’- C GCSEs (or equivalent) grades including English and rnathematics compared to 60.5% of all other pupils. (GCSE and equivalent attainment.
Barnardos confirm that this impact can be seen early with only 48 % of 5 year olds entitled to free school meals displaying a good level of development at the end of their reception year, compared to 65 % of all other pupils.
The MakeLunch network has grown largely via word of mouth, with our three pilot Lunch Kitchens willingly sharing their story. We used social media, particularly twitter (@makelunch), to spread the word which resulted in raising their first £1,500, several people getting behind the campaign and two news outlets picking up the story (TES and Anglia News, both August 2011). By the summer of 2012, the network had grown to 15 Lunch Kitchens and had produced their first “Lunch Pack” – a how-to guide to help community groups get started. They have appointed Lindsay Graham as their first Patron. Lindsay is an accomplished school food advisor and recently completed a study of holiday meal provisions across America for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
One of MakeLunch’s biggest commitments is to maintain the safety of the project for all involved – for the children and their families, for volunteers and their local communities. They have worked with advisers to define policies in safeguarding, child protection, food hygiene, first aid, insurance and risk management. In 2015 they formalized their partnerships into a social franchise organisation, meaning that all their Lunch Kitchens are now registered partners, turning the MakeLunch brand into a quality mark which signifies that the Kitchen is operating in accordance with their high standards in these areas.
As more people enquired about joining MakeLunch over time, it became apparent that some training would be needed. Funding from the Angel Philanthropy fund allowed them to employ one of their first Lunch Makers to develop this training. They have recently been awarded a contract with the Lord Mayor’s Fund for London to deliver a pilot training programme to London Local Authority Groups as part of their work tackling child poverty in the capital. –
MakeLunch is committed to delivering this work at the highest possible standard and we are keen to evaluate and modify our ongoing work to ensure it meets the needs of the communities. They are now working with Professor Greta Defeyter at Northumbria University as part of her research into Holiday.
Contributing to Change:
MakeLunch are now part of the All Party Parliamentary Group for School Food Holiday Hunger Task Force, chaired by Sharon Hodgson, MP. Through this they have contributed to, and host, the Filling The Holiday Gap toolkit and website (www.fillingtheholidaygap.org) designed to be a start point for anyone considering tackling holiday hunger in their community.
At the time of writing, MakeLunch has 57 registered and active Lunch Kitchens from Aberdeen and Ayrshire all the way to Brighton, Southampton and several places in between.
To date, they have served 32,876 meals to thousands of children and have mobilised over 2,000 volunteers.
They are confident that feeding children during school holidays not only Improves their immediate health and wellbeing but also contributes to their longer term physical and mental health as well as their academic achievement.
Here are some stories from children and families who’ve benefitted from their services and are representative of the many others who come to Lunch Kitchens every holiday:
Joe’s school suggested that the family join the local Lunch Kitchen during the holidays. Joe has been diagnosed autistic and often struggles in busy social situations. At the end of the first week, Joe’s dad confirmed that Joe was happy to be there and even if he didn’t always ‘interact’ he was content. Dad said that he’d be watching the clock all morning asking ‘is it time to go yet?’ The team was able to be accommodating with regards to Joe’s food requirements and on return to school Joe talked to his teacher about the Lunch club who commented that he had come into school in a better frame of mind. The Lunch club appears to have had a constructive/positive affect on Joe and given him a much needed consistent routine during the school holidays.
A single mother, Donna was invited to her local Lunch Kitchen by her children’s school who realised that things were difficult financially. The family attended every day so the team invited Donna to get involved with volunteering in the kitchen, including joining their training sessions for basic food hygiene and first aid certificates – her first qualifications since dropping out of school. This gave Donna the confidence to enrol in refresher courses for English and Maths and she is now working as a Teaching Assistant in a local nursery school.
We opened our Lunch Kitchen for the first time at Easter and had quite a few people who were extremely pleased for a meal. One little boy had been complaining his tummy was hurting and his mum said “it’d because he’s hungry” he went on to eat the biggest meal and had a massive smile on his face afterwards. The team also caught a lady hiding fruit in the baby’s pram to take home for the rest of the family and were able to encourage her to take more.
Aida was referred to her local Lunch Kitchen in following a suicide attempt triggered by the pressures of raising a child on a low income. She and her daughter are now fully involved in various groups and activities in the community. Aida said, “MakeLunch saved my life. I’ve been given a second chance to be a mum.”