CEO Chat #34

CEO Chat

Yes, I know it is two months since the last CEO chat. During that time I have not sat idly, I promise. Well, I did take a couple of weeks annual leave, which was much needed time to rest, reflect and regroup my thoughts – in between some sun-bathing and dining out. 

So, what has CDA been up to in the past couple of months?

Building Our Team…

  • In September and October, we welcomed 4 new staff and were able to offer two current employees permanent roles
  • The new team are providing community engagement activities which include; training, community visits and talks, attending health and well-being events, organising activities in the areas they cover, plus supporting CDA across the county
  • With the appointment of Rebecca Kiggins, who is based in west Cumbria, we are looking to open a hub on the west coast to provide more activities and community support locally – she has given me a great wish list of ideas and activities, all of which look fabulous…. first to find the right base for her
  • Shelley Harrison joins us with a breadth of experience in community care added to which her recent BSL Interpreter studies have her well placed to review and re-build our support work team, growing to meet the need of deaf clients around the county who would benefit from a support worker at home, in the community or in residential care. Shelley also links in with our coffee mornings to deliver health and well-being sessions, most recently she covered diabetes
  • Debbie Wilkinson is another community engagement coordinator, who will attend networking events, give presentations and is building relationships with local funders to help us raise the money to expand the activities we offer 
  • Debbie Harrison took the decision to move away from her role as a teaching assistant to join CDA as a support worker, and she is already making a real difference in people’s lives helping them remain independent in their own home
  • We also saw Kelly Francis become our training assistant, as we launch our extended training offering with skilled BSL users (native) as our trainers
  • Kelly is assisted by Lucy Belton, who joined us last year as a project coordinator for a hard of hearing project
  • You can find the link to our staff page here

My diary…

  • Karen and I were delighted to have been invited to attend the Cumbria Women of the Year Award luncheon in Windermere. A truly inspiring day, hearing the work, voluntary and paid, from women from all walks of life who have gone above and beyond to support people in Cumbria
  • I visited the Penrith Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club by Kerryanne Wilde and Chris Hughes, to discuss the impact of serving in the armed forces upon their hearing. Not only was the breakfast good, but the people were also so welcoming. I wholeheartedly recommend any serving or ex-forces personnel to go along for a chat, you will be most welcome
  • A quarterly meeting of the Skills for Care Managers network, held at Rheged had a guest speaker Claire from Better Bodies, who coincidentally we had booked for first aid training later in October
  • Online conversations to Meet the Council with Westmorland and Furness Council, as they make changes to how they engage with community groups or service providers in a better, more relative way to reflect their changing objectives
  • Suzie, our current student placement, joined myself and Nicola at the Healthwatch Westmorland and Furness launch, where Suzie was networking like a professional, including a long conversation with the Director of Healthwatch
  • Meeting with Cheryl Duckworth from Carer Support South Lakes to discuss how we can better explain, or help people to identify as a carer. Many people don’t like to think of themselves as a carer because they think that looking after a loved one is just what you should do. That is a nice idea, but you have to look after yourself too. Talk to one of the CDA team if you would like to be put in touch with Carer Support, there are groups across Cumbria. Here is the link for the South Cumbria organisation
  • Nearly all the CDA staff team attended a very interactive first aid training day in Kendal, led by Claire at Better Bodies who had researched, and implemented, some great voice recognition software for her presentations, along with having 2 BSL interpreters booked for the day. Everyone enjoyed the hands-on experience, and working around ideas of how to support deaf people who might be injured or ill at work. Claire invested in new equipment that has visual cues and guidance so that we didn’t have to rely on audio instructions
  • Thanks to the wonderful Realise HR in Carlisle, myself and Shelley attended a session in their Learning Pod about management and culture, which was fascinating. Realise offer many sessions, take a look at what is coming with them
  • Wow….we’re nearly updated in this brief overview of the past two months….so, big breath….here is the last week of activity
  • Last week I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to Newcastle, along with Sophia from Anti Racist Cumbria, to be part of a panel talking about the ambitious and far-reaching Helping Hands Cumbria project. The Helping Hands Cumbria project has sought to identify and remove barriers to volunteering in the arts and culture sector across Cumbria. They have funded BSL Interpreters to enable deaf people to access volunteer roles or training that would not otherwise be as accessible due to language barriers.

Dear Readers, I look forward to getting back to the weekly reports now that the super busy months have flown by, see you next week!