Inclusion and Diversity – On the right track
Today, TTTP attended The Department of Transports Inclusion and Diversity week launch event/conference, at The Department of Transport in London. We were kindly invited by Richard Burningham from Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and Great Western Railway (GWR) kindly provied our travel tickets to attend and be involved in the coming together of transport organisations across the country – primarily rail organisations and community organisations.
This is not the first time we have been to an ‘Inclusion’ event. However, it is the first time that have attended an ‘Inclusion’ event directly associated with the transport sector.
There were several organisations and representatives there, and stories of ‘Inclusion’ were shared by 3 of them - an hour was spent listening to the speakers and watching the videos they had prepared. This included people working on the platforms beautifying the gardens (not too dissimilar to what we have been doing at the Crediton Station platform) whilst recovering from drug abuse, a graffiti project in Bristol to make the platform attractive and part of the community and a project to make the rail more accessible to people with Dementia – focusing on training staff and making it a more welcoming place.
There was also talk about making carriages more accessible, and a team of 1000 people being a part of this – this included people with and without labels, seemingly primarily focused on people physically disabled by the carriages… but very little talk about people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels and how they access the transport.
Going forward, signage was briefly discussed, making it more accessible to (not just disabled people) people in general. If signage is good, it should be accessible to as many people as possible. We took the opportunity to share our SmallTalk approach with some of the MDs there who were discussing the issue of signage and the opportunities to improve it when platforms are renovated/painted.
Often, ‘Inclusion’ events are more about celebrating what has been achieved and the small successes (which are steps in the right direction), and not so much about going forward and what steps need to be taken next; a plan of action and a group effort. It will be interesting to see how the week progresses and what opportunities are created as we all work together to turn our country’s infrastructure into a more inclusive network that connects communities.
To the organisations that were there (and those that could not attend) – our expert trainers and evaluation team are always willing to be a part of creating an inclusive rail network if we are invited. Feel free to come to our Tea Rooms on the Tarka Line, Crediton Train Station, if you want to have a chat. Alternatively, you’ll find us on social media, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on the phone: 01363 772512.
Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your day.
Written by Dom Palfreman, Published by Dom Palfreman
Sam wrote a blog without even know she'd done it, you may have seen the 2 part post on Social Media - hopefully you didn't miss either half. Here's the 2 sections together in full, as Sam intended:
Today didn’t quite go to plan, but then when does anything? When I think a plan or situation isn’t going the way I intended it to I always smile and think of my favourite #Turningtidesbigband song “Missed my Station” you can find lots of our songs on soundcloud.
Today we visited Crediton and had coffee whilst chatting to a new member of the team who will be doing some 1-1 support. We then went to Exeter to have a bumble around Sports Direct and the big Tesco’s- not much of a selection regarding items desired. Yet again plans may change- it’s sometimes good though as it pushes those little desires to keep things safe.
We finished up in the Sawyers Arms, quite a busy pub, not expensive and really nice staff. Saw a parent I’ve recently come to know, and the conversation of school cropped up - (now the photo may begin to make sense) only to find out how awful it had been for her children. I know from experience it can be one of the best and yet one of the worst times of your life as pupil or parent pushing you through every hurdle or boundary you may hold up.
So Roger and I spoke about school in the 50’s and 60’s a time when Labels weren’t really known and about how it’s changed in the last 30 years. Things have moved on slightly, unfortunately there will always be bullying- which is sad but true. Knowing how to deal with it is the hardest thing. It really doesn’t matter if you have a visual or non-visual label, different skin colour, if your a different size, if you’re an outsider, don’t have parents, use visual aids to help you or whatever it maybe someone may find a way to use it against you. I wonder if we all started to educate everyone around us how much of an impact it would have on society as a whole- whatever it maybe?
So If ‘disability’ is created by society, then surely we can each do something that contributes to changing that!
I wonder how the headmasters/headmistress’s of 50’s/60’s would have done things differently if a ‘disability’ had been addressed or recognised.
Would society have had a better understanding? Would there be have been more equal access? More differentiation? More inclusion? We are now starting to see these things happening more and more, as a parent I really wish it could’ve happened a lot sooner.
Since being with #TTTP I’m seeing this become a reality- it is happening. Society is beginning to understand. Which is why we have a flexible timetable with lots of fantastic sessions that you can see and get an idea of what we can do but you can also give your ideas.
We also have #epicenabling with differentiated levels of 1-1 support. Plus we have the tearooms up and running because we believe that in an #inclusive environment everyone can and does make valuable contributions. Being #inclusive means everyone is equal and included, which in turn means that they achieve, gain the confidence to interact, follow through and get an end result.
#bethechange #seethechange #makethechange
Written by Sam Perkins, Published by Dom Palfreman
Thank you (in no particular order) to the staff, volunteers and businesses that have supported us to get the Tea Rooms open and back to being a part of the community - a big thank you to RGB, ReFurnish, Eakers, CS Engineering, Ashgroves, Crediton Garden Centre, Jewsons and more!
We hope you enjoy the cake and hope to see you soon for cream tea or to book a meeting or training space!
#Inclusive in action. Created by our Community for the Community.
this a tiny part of what we do, and it wouldn't be possible without the effort of volunteers, skilled workers and our Happening Makers
Keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground for our forthcoming 'thank you song', our menu, online room booking and hire AND MORE
Written and Published by Dom Palfreman
We’re opening the tea rooms to create a wonderful opportunity to invite the community to join us. A beautiful space where people can relax, volunteer; pass through or stay a while and enjoy some tasty food.
We want to build a space that creates equal opportunities by providing supported employment and volunteering roles.
We very much want everyone to have equal access and the same opportunities - I have a saying, which I very strongly believe in, “that our prime purpose in life is to help others” - what else are we here for?
TTTP were an absolute lifeline when we moved from Essex a year ago, we didn’t have anyone and turned to them, and they have been amazing. My daughter has flourished with the wonderful support, tolerance and understanding they have given her. We need to support each other, so we can all lead happy meaningful lives in a safe #Inclusive environment.
We all have different strengths and together we can create something wonderful and unique - there’s nothing better for mental well-being than having a purpose in life.
Everyone deserves an opportunity and chance to be who they want. We all need a purpose in life, we all need something or someone to care about and a reason to get up every morning!
Written by Emma Martin, Published by Dom Palfreman and Jennifer
I was given a booklet from my school, each day I had a new task. Monday- “make a cup of tea for a co-worker”. Tuesday - “engage in conversation”. I Stopped reading at Wednesday, simply a waste of time. All I can say is that I’ve experienced a lot more than that! When I was told to find my work experience placement the last thing I wanted was to spend a long week behind a desk, and this is the polar opposite of that.
Monday, I spent the day at Crealy with Abi and Bill. It was rather tiering chasing after him all day, went on the log flume so many times we may as well have just stayed on. It was great, and we made the most of the water rides in the sun!
On Tuesday I went to the media session and then the sports session in the afternoon, this made me realise that everyone is very capable of everything that I could do, as long as anyone has the right support they can succeed in anything.
Thursday, I went to the craft session in the tea rooms, we were making a massive rag rug. Everyone worked as a team to: cut fabrics into long strips, others plaited them, and some held onto the ends and pulled them tight to make it easy to work efficiently. Then we spent the evening in the pub. It was great to get to know everyone.
On Friday I went to the music session, we were rehearsing for an upcoming gig the band were playing at, we had a range of different instruments and singers. I also joined in with helping to give back to the community by painting a fence that was in deep need of refurbishment.
I really enjoyed this week with The Turning Tides Project, it really opened my eyes to making our society more equal and accessible and how important that is. I have met some amazing people that have made my work experience unforgettable. Thank you.
Written by Rosie Hargreaves, Published by Jennifer
Turning Tides Project are Hosting an Open Mic Event for the Opening of the Crediton Station Tearooms
On the 4th of August, we are are opening the Crediton Tearooms near Crediton railway station. We will be celebrating the opening day by putting on an open mic day. It starts at 12.00 pm, until about 5.30 pm. This event will be free to enter.
There will be performances from people from the Turning Tides Project, and we invite anyone to bring an instrument (or their voice!) and join in with us. If you aren’t all that musical, then you are welcome to read some poetry or tell a joke or two! Otherwise, you can come along and be part of audience.
We have created an event page on Facebook so that you can keep up to date on details of the event:
You can also find our Facebook page here for future events and other things that are happening with the Turning Tides Project:
Here is the address where the event will be taking place:
Station Tea Rooms,
Crediton Railway Station,
Directions to the above address are easily found through Google Maps.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Written by Tom Burns and Luke Manwaring, Published by Dom Palfreman and Jennifer
An acronym that quite a lot of you would have heard thrown around recently. It stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and applies to all businesses in the EU from 25th May 2018. Which means it affects us! And that’s all good news!
It means that your data will be easier for you to track and for you to control and decide how it is used. Potentially, this means less junk mail! It also means that you’re probably (ironically) getting lots of emails currently from businesses that have you on their mailing lists that you’d totally forgotten about - I hadn’t realised that we were subscribed to so many newsletters about community meetings and second-hand instruments!
What this means for us: GDPR says you must obtain freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous consent from your contacts. You also must clearly explain how you plan to use their personal data.
I am emailing you for exactly these reasons, as you’re currently on our mailing list!
First off, thank you for being on our mailing list! The chances are we met you at a gig, maybe at one of our pop-up shops, a networking event, through social media or in response to one of our projects. Maybe we did your catering, you’re part of EPIC (Enabling Service), we delivered your training or you are one of our funders.
We send out Newsletters when there is News! We try to keep people up to date via Social Media and Blogs published on our Website, this means we will never send out vast numbers of Newsletters each month. Around 1 or 2 is enough. We want to keep you informed and invite you to be involved; we don’t want to drown you in unnecessary communication and scare you off! Honestly, we don’t want to send loads because we don’t want it to get boring for you!
We are, and always have been, very careful with people’s information. Receiving this email just means that you’re on our mailing list - the information kept on our mailing list is minimal and contains only the essentials. Just an email address, and in some cases your name. Every month we remove emails address from our mailing list so that we’re left with just the active emails. We will not pass on your information from the mailing list or use it for any other purpose other than receiving our Newsletter.
You will receive up to 3 more Newsletters before the 25th May 2018, if you have not re-subscribed by this point your information will be deleted from our mailing list.
If you want to subscribe to our Newsletter after midnight on the 24th May, you can always use the link on our 'Contact Us' page
Written and Published by Dom Palfreman
I went to the Vue with Dom, he picked me up at 6pm we parked in the Vue car park. It’s underneath the cinema, I have a blue badge so the parking was more accessible.
I have got a carers card so I can get a carer in to the cinema free with the pass. I got the pass online, it was simple to do, you fill a form in and upload a picture. I had some support to do this.
If I didn’t have the card I would have to pay for my support.I shouldn’t have to pay for my own ticket and my supports ticket so I can go to the cinema.
The Vue cinema has got a lift, which is good because the screens are all on different floors which makes them hard to accessible - Dom didn't know they had a lift, so I showed him where it was - it's just on the right-hand-side of the entrance door.
Stairs can be ok but I need to hold on to my support workers arm. Escalators can be difficult because you have to move speedily.
In the Vue, with good support, the access is amazing for me.
We sat 3 rows from the front, I was very excited! The cinema was bright enough as we walked to our seats but I would prefer it to be a bit lighter - it would also make it easier to see my nachos and pick ‘n’ mix!
We watched it in 3D, the 3D glasses were rubbish because it was clipped on to my glasses so I asked Dom to get me a normal pair of glasses which worked better - unfortunately the movie had already started at this point, so I had to watch 10 minutes out of focus and Dom had to miss 10 minutes of the movie running to get replacement glasses!
I had a coke and pick ‘n’ mix waiting for the film to start. The trailers were Solo, Jurassic World and Venom and started at 6:50pm. The film started not long after, and it was about 2 hours and 29 minutes long - almost as long as the credits!
I loved every minute of it. It was action packed from start to finish. The Actors who played the Avengers did an awesome job.
My favourite actor is Chris Hemsworth who played Thor, I thought he was awesome. I liked his weapons and lightning super powers.
These are just some of the characters:
And lots more
I am a big time Marvel fan although my true passion is Star Wars (I may blog about the Solo movie too!).
I won’t spoil it for the rest of you... I love going to the cinema with Dom... It’s the best film in the cinema… EVER!
Oh, and make sure you stay after the credits!
Not seen it yet? What are you waiting for?! Go to see it!
I can’t wait for the next one,
Written by Luke Manwaring, Published Dom Palfreman
The Turning Tides Project is a Community Interest Company that aims to make equal access to music, the arts and life a reality for people with ‘learning disability ‘or’ autism’ labels.
The Turning Tides Project Equal Access to Music Programme is well under-way. We’ll be blogging about the ideas generated, experience gained, and questions raised by each Project within the Programme, as we go. So…
What is a ‘Family Jam’?
The Family Jam Bursary Scheme was developed as a response to our experience that sometimes the barrier that prevented disabled children and Young People learning an instrument was parental lack of confidence. This lack of confidence sometimes led to instruments having to stay in school (and therefore locked in a cupboard for most of the week) or in Young People not having the opportunity to access an instrument at all.
We decided that it would be a good idea to have a scheme that enabled us to offer the opportunity of supported, family music-making with the aim of building confidence and creating inclusive family environments where everyone could and did access music
We were right about that!
We didn’t need to worry about that. The year’s bursaries have all been allocated in the first 3 months. The concern now becomes how we’ll respond to the growing number of disabled Young People who would benefit from similar access.
It’s looking like we were right about that too. Most of the families we are working with will continue to be a part of The Turning Tides Project in other ways, once their Bursaries are spent. In addition, all the families have at least 1 family member who is eligible for Local Authority Support. Many of them would chose to have some or all of their ‘eligible needs’ met through equal access to music and all the opportunities that that access brings: The Bursaries provide a means of demonstrating that value to support requests for Health, Education and Social Care Funding.
All looks pretty much on track then…?
There’s always so much to learn. In this first year’s allocation what has been striking is the diversity of ‘Family’: A parent and son learning separately so that they can play together; A Young Person whose instrument lesson buddies are his Support Workers; whole family groups of children who are home schooled because they don’t ‘fit’ into either ‘ special ‘ or ‘mainstream ‘ educational environments; siblings who are exploring how they accommodate each other’s differences through collaborative music-making; Young people who live as a family in supported accommodation .
What we learn from these families will, as always, inform what we develop next.
The ‘families’ who’d like to share their musical journeys publicly each have a page on The Turning Tides Project Web site. You can follow their stories and hear their music here.
The Turning Tides Project believes that the way to achieve Equal Access is through the application of a Social Model Approach: easy to say, complex, exhausting, sometimes frustrating and often a lot of fun to demonstrate. Have a look at our web site and find out what we do, how we do it, why we use the language we use and why we think language matters. “Inclusion” is much more than a word. http://www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
A belief in all young people and a desire to support potential lies at the heart of everything The Turning Tides Project engages in. For many of the young people we spend time with, access to learning pathways are often conflicted. Carrying ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels and trying to fit into institutions, such as schools or colleges, within a society that is often not very accepting of difference, means that support towards future employment is often limited or interrupted.
A particular strand of the current Youth Music funded “Equal Access to Music” programme, looks at how young people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels access routes towards music technology qualifications. Whilst this is still early days for us in this area of the project, I am interested in exploring the questions that are surfacing along the way with a hope that I can get some help finding answers and seeking potential solutions.
Why, if many of the young people we are working with are interested in accessing music technology qualifications, are they not doing so?
School is the first place that supports qualification routes towards future aspirations for many young people. Many schools are now offering a more restrictive and narrow curriculum with a downgrading of subjects such as the arts and sports. Finances are restricted more than ever and this is having a detrimental effect on both resources and support.
I spend a large part of my week in schools making music with young people. I glimpse the battle that schools and teachers face supporting and educating young people in the current climate. I can see that schools are increasingly not a place where everyone can thrive.
The new GCSE structure seems to be more focussed on proving knowledge acquisition: levels, test based evidencing, less coursework. Young people who struggle with this way of engaging are excluded from the process of learning.
What does it say about society when we only cater to the needs of those who are able to achieve within an academic framework; or what the outcomes will be if we only value and expect everyone to learn the same facts?
Currently, Ofsted doesn’t reward schools for being inclusive. If schools remove, exclude, or simply don’t fully support children that aren’t meeting academic expectations because of their bearing on school results/league tables, large groups of young people are not having their aspirations supported in any kind of meaningful way.
Can schools ever be a place where everyone can thrive if they are relentlessly measured by their results?
Our current cycle of education places emphasis on the core subjects. From an increasingly young age, arts subjects are de-valued and squeezed out of the timetable. Yet, it’s interesting to note that within the health sector, doctors are doing more and more social prescribing to improve mental health outcomes (encouraging the joining of choirs, taking art classes etc.)
How can we value and support a learning journey that enables young people to experiment and develop their understanding and skills, whilst emphasising and celebrating the fact that we are all different?
I have been wondering if it is in our nature to compare, categorise and position ourselves. I wonder if the value placed on qualifications is inhibiting our progression towards learning in a meaningful rounded way. When qualification results are regarded as the most valuable outcomes, teachers become focussed on delivering a restrictive curriculum (top down initiatives from government) and students become conditioned to learn and absorb only those elements that will enable them to pass the qualification. Seeking knowledge, collaborating, taking risks or experimenting outside of what is deemed important, becomes a waste of time.
Whilst preparing for the world of work is certainly important, should we imagine that young people only engage in learning for vocational purposes? We often have to question if academic routes will match industry expectations and environments, but being involved in that discourse enables change. It is a human need to progress and build skills.
We are having to look closely at the concept of a special qualification for those that don’t fit the mould. It is hard to truly believe in the value or purpose of a qualification that is not recognised by society and employment.
In Further Education, where there are certain expectations for individuals to critically evaluate themselves and for independent research/enquiry, there are increasing discussions around Support and Authorship of young people’s work. We are also noticing, through our explorations into music technology qualification routes, that there may be issues that arise around delivery and support, and how the two ‘talk’ together. As subjects become more specialist, there is a need for delivery from people who work with and fully understand the application of the subject, however these people may not always be best placed to support young people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels.
Where are the positives arising from our investigations so far?
Opportunities are emerging for young people interested in Music technology. This year there are new types of vocational qualifications being offered through RSL and BTEC. How successful these will be, whilst there is still a cultural bias towards valuing more esteemed academic pathways, will be interesting to explore. I wonder how many schools and students will take up the offer. These courses will require teaching methods to be less prescriptive, more adaptive, and need lots of flexibility in order to choose modules and tailor courses which create unique pathways for individuals in response to their interests and strengths. Will current conditions in schools empower teachers to develop the really broad skillsets they themselves will need, or will they choose to teach modules that sit with their own strengths?
Access into work has the potential to change, both socially through accepting diversity in the kinds of people we feel we can work alongside, and academically, in terms of how learning happens. Working whilst completing qualifications that run alongside apprenticeships is becoming more common, as is learning structured by people working as specialists in their fields. Some graphic design studios are now using open university modules to write their own courses for apprentice’s qualifications.
Qualifications may well not be for everyone, but understanding that there is value in ‘difference’ is maybe just a first step towards encouraging a society that includes and values everyone.
Written byRachel Thame, Published byDom Palfreman