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SoLO Fun

SoLO Fun

One of our core values is fun and this has stayed with the organisation since it was first conceived. The dictionary definition of fun is  “enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure” There is a danger that we can devalue fun when we consider it in this context. However, there has been significant research into the impact of fun on learning.  Dorothy Lucardie, for instance, wrote on 14th August, 2014 in Science direct on this subject: “Firstly both having fun and experiencing enjoyment were perceived by both learners and teachers as a motivator to attend classes and learn the knowledge and skills. Secondly fun and enjoyment were considered a mechanism that encouraged concentration by learners and helped in the absorption of learning. Finally having fun and experiencing enjoyment were identified as a proven way to build a socially connected learning environment. The research indicates that a greater focus on the affective domain of adults learning experience, in particular fun and enjoyment could prove to be as beneficial and important as it is currently considered in children’s learning. A different approach to the design of adult learning experiences and methods that incorporates greater use of fun may mean that more adults are encouraged and motivated to participate in learning with enthusiasm for the journey and optimism for the outcomes.” So, as SoLO reconsiders its values and looks to the future, we stand firm that we will continue to keep one of our core values as ‘Fun’. We will continue to weave this into all of our programmes working with children and adults ensuring that they achieve the best outcomes through the use of...
Evolve Love

Evolve Love

Our Evolve members have written a song and I just had to share it! “let us tell you about the Evolve Love” Started Evolve and we love it, making lots of friends Playing the guitar, happy as we are   “And I love my Evolve Friends And I love my Evolve Friends”                   Painting and making things to keep, Cooking meals, biscuits and cookies We sing and we dance, laugh and play Learning lots of things along the way   “And I love my Evolve Friends And I love my Evolve Friends”                     Going shopping, exploring on the bus, Planning our days and what to do Researching on the computer too   “And I love my Evolve Friends And I love my Evolve Friends”   (written by the Tuesday Evolve Group – Sophie, Connor, Dennis, Anthony, Mace and Marcus) TAKE A BOW...
Buildings or People?

Buildings or People?

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Lets start with the bad news: despite valiant attempts, we have not been able (as yet!) to recover the £70,000 lost funding for adult social care which currently funds our various evening social programmes for adults with a learning disability. That sounds pretty bad (but we are working up a plan!), so what is the good news I ask you say? we have received enough capital funding to extend our base at Walnut Close to enable us to accommodate more people on our funded Evolve Programme which enables people with a profound and multiple learning disability to have a great day time programme of activities. Here begins the dilemma.  With a background of possibly (and I stress possibly) closing or reducing our evening social care programmes, what will folk think about us appearing to plough money into a building? It is a hard one, but really it is a no-brainer.  Let me explain: The funding we have received for the extension at Walnut Close is being given by people who will only fund building works.  Even if we made representation to them about the areas that we need funding to continue valuable programmes, they would not be allowed to change the purpose for which we will get the money. Having the extension at Walnut Close will, in the longer term (over about 5 years) reduce out costs in renting suitable property elsewhere to run Evolve and, potentially, will save us up to £200,000 in revenue – this we can put to other use. So we are, effectively, investing other...
An Ode to SoLO staff (the unsung heroes!)

An Ode to SoLO staff (the unsung heroes!)

T’was the month before Christmas and all through the base There was frenzied activity – SoLO staff on the case!   A request was received from the shops at Chelmsley A request to run Santa’s Grotto? How hard can that be?   So we asked ourselves, And tossed a dice…. …. Who should run this task Who’s been naughty or nice?   Paula and Katie were on Santa’s list So they took to the task – Not a child would be missed!   600 books were wrapped, dressed up as elves Santas signed up, We’re so pleased with ourselves!   But if that wasn’t enough, still in Christmas mode We have run countless parties, and have all shared the load   Damian and Lesley have earned their cooking ‘pips’ And are now holding the record for the longest cooked chips!   The adult team, not to be outdone Have acquired matching jumpers – even Paula has one!   The children’s team are partied out and Deb has cracked the whip By juggling supported living whilst running a tight ship   The marketing team have excelled themselves Recruiting santas, bag packers and a whole pile of elves.   Admin are marvellous – they will always do more When their energy drops – there is always Teri’s drawer!   Rob and Adam in the garden – their skills are just sublime. We can certainly see a future career on Gardening Question Time.   We are grateful to finance – Lesley, Sue and Claire But when it comes to payday, disturb them if you dare!   Anna’s busy cleaning, she keeps the ‘boss...
Standing firm

Standing firm

Some weeks can seem very hard.  Minor setbacks, when they come together, can start to build the mountain that feels impossible to climb.  This week has been one of those weeks.  Applications for funding, which were sent and evidenced, have gone into the email ether and have had to be challenged.  Local Government funding cuts are starting to hit us hard and the competition for funding bids is becoming more competitive requiring more and more time invested. This is the point where it is important to remember why we do what we do and to continue doing ‘the right thing’.  It would be very easy, at the point of discouragement, to ‘work to rule’, to play games, to feel justified in becoming political (with a small ‘p’), and feel like giving up. I am pleased, however, to report that we are bigger than that!  The high quality services that SoLO staff and volunteers provide are worth fighting for and protecting. Perhaps now is a good time to remember what our purposes are and why we do what we do: Our purpose (in a nutshell) is:  “to give our members the chance to experience all that life has to offer, have fun and be happy.” This is such a powerful motivator and we have to hold firm to this ensuring that, regardless of financial setbacks, discouraging attitudes and the odd ‘blip’ along the way, that we focus on what we see happening every day in the SoLO services. I, personally, believe that our approach to put the person at the centre of the provision, which I see evidenced day in day out on SoLO projects, whilst not...

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