No gap for third year


Once again we have been able to report a zero gender pay gap for the third consecutive year.

In 2020/21, we had 501 employees. Some 73% were female and 27% male. Across the whole payroll, the average pay for women was 1.6% more than that for men. The median figure, which is the one used for gender pay gap calculations, was identical. This gives us yet another zero gender pay gap.

PossAbilities is more than just a great place to work, it’s a fair place to work.



PossAbilities to feature in BBC1 documentary ‘Our Family and Autism’ with Paddy & Christine McGuinness


Social care provider PossAbilities features in a new BBC1 documentary. In it, celebrity couple Paddy & Christine McGuiness who have three autistic children, attempt to gain a deeper understanding of autism and think about what the future may hold for their family.

The film features former Manchester United footballer Paul Scholes who has a 16 year-old non-verbal autistic son; and autism expert, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University.

The couple paid a visit to PossAbilities Cherwell Wellbeing Hub, and newly completed Cherwell Green apartments to meet some young people with autism who are making a success of their lives.

PossAbilities CEO Rachel Law said “It was a real boost for everyone here to meet Paddy and Christine. They had the opportunity to meet a young  lady with autism that we have supported who has set up her own dog walking business, as well as a young man taking his first steps into adulthood as he moves into our new apartment development. They were also really pleased to meet Fudge, our Shetland Pony (see photo) who got more than 20,000 likes on Instagram”.

Our Family and Autism airs on BBC1, 1st December at 9pm.



Our latest gender pay gap update


Yet again our latest snapshot of the gender pay gap calculation shows that PossAbilities is a really equal place to work – whatever your gender.

Using the government methodology we calculated a small gap in pay in favour of men of 1.6%. This compares to a national average in favour of men of 15.5%.

Rachel Law, Chief Executive said “We are really pleased that once again we are recognised as having what amounts to virtually no gender pay gap. As the calculation is a snapshot on one particular day, a couple of small staff changes can effect the result when dealing with the low level of gap that we have. Anything below 1% is regarded by government as negligible, whilst our 1.6% gap is regarded as ‘extremely low, not requiring any action'”. She added “What this shows is that this is a really fair place to work. It’s a meritocracy, where people are recruited and promoted on merit alone, and that’s something we are really proud of”.



WOW! Card


It’s not unusual for PossAbilities people to go ‘above and beyond’ – that’s the kind of people we are, and we like to show our appreciation.

Every so often people, either as individuals or teams, do things that just make us say “WOW!”.

We celebrate these moments. There’s no formal process or anything like that, you just know when you hear something extraordinary. That’s when our Chief Executive turns up at you place of work with a hand written WOW! card and a bottle of fizz.

Not a bad way to start a Monday Morning!



WOW! Card




Work With Us




We Got Soul…Northern Soul


Yes. PossAbilities is heading to the spiritual home of Northern Soul. We are delighted to have been awarded a seven year, £8.5 million contract by Wigan Council to provide supported living services in parts of the borough.

This expands PossAbilities footprint across the North West and West Yorkshire, meaning that we now have a presence in Rochdale, Widens, Runcorn, Oldham, Stockport,Trafford, Calderdale and now Wigan.

Chief Executive of PossAbilities Rachel Law said “We are doubly delighted to be moving into Wigan. It’s great to win a prestigious contract like this. The added bonus is that we will be working closely with one of the most highly regarded councils in the country. We started to talk to Wigan some years ago and immediately felt that we were talking to people who shared our values and understood our ethos of doing things differently”.

It’s always been our style to be more than simply passive providers of support. We are going to build on the assets of the people we support and their local communities. We’ve got some exciting ideas, and we know that Wigan will be a place that is receptive to new thinking.

Watch this space.



Animals going viral


Our beautiful animation Animals – Because hating is a crime, was launched on 2nd February at the start of Hate Crime Awareness week.

It’s the story of a young man with learning disabilities, Max, who gets a job at a pet shop and finds some unsavoury friends, which has started to go viral on the internet.

Acclaimed Indie musician Badly Drawn Boy retweeted, describing it as “A beautiful piece of work”.

It was written by Malcom McClean; voiced by Julie Edwards, whose TV career includes Doctors and Emmerdale; illustrated by Private Eye cartoonist Tony Husband; and animated by Ryan Bott.

You can watch Animals by clicking here

 



Virtually Amazing! Take a virtual tour around Cherwell Green Apartments


Now you can take a look inside the Cherwell Green Apartments and see for  yourself what magnificent homes these will be for 17 people with learning disabilities.

When you take the grand tour you will see a drop down menu on your top left. You can click on any room and have  a look inside. Along the bottom of your screen you will see some buttons. You should click on automatic tour.

When you are ready click here  Take me on a tour

 



Cherwell Green taking shape


As the autumn approaches, we can now really see the Cherwell Green development begin to take shape. Any moment now the roof will be put on this £1.8 million build, which will create 17 amazing apartments for people with learning disabilities.

Very soon you will be able to look inside when we post our virtual reality model, and you will see what a great place this will be to live. Above, you can see what it will look like when finished, complete with  our ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and ever changing mural.



Community Lottery Funds Lockdown Liberation


A £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund will enable us to develop our latest digital offering Lockdown Liberation.

The lockdown restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak hit people with learning disabilities hard. They were unable to access traditional day services and were feeling the effects of isolation more than most. We began quickly developing some online activities through a channel which we call The Curiosity Box.

It will take some time for day services to return to normal and some people may not want to return or may want a blended offer of physical and online interaction.

In response to this, the grant will enable us to develop what we think will be the worlds first dedicated learning and fun portal for people with learning disabilities. It will be built on a Learning Management System platform and will enable learners to develop skills and gain certification as well as formal qualifications from anywhere in the world.



Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020



In  accordance with government guidance we have published our risk assessments which will enable staff to remain safe when returning to work in our main office premises. These  can  be viewed here: –
STOCKPORT Office
HEYWOOD Office
HALTON Office


COVID-19 Update


The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus, continues to change rapidly. We have in place full business continuity and contingency plans, which we will continue to review and update on a daily basis in line with the most recent Government guidance.

Our day services are temporarily closed as is our drop in facility The Social Lounge. All supported living properties are in lock down in accordance with the guidance and will not be able to receive visitors until further notice.

Though these are difficult times, we are confident that the plans we have in place are the best possible plans to try to ensure that we keep service users, families and staff as safe as we possibly can.

Anyone with any concerns or queries about our response to the pandemic should contact Chief Executive Rachel Law at rachel.law@possabilities.org.uk

 



This is our House of Light


As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, performance poet Tom Calderbank visited the Cherwell Wellbeing Hub and our Witley Road Day Centre.

Tom spent time with groups of service users talking about Hate Crime, and listening to their thoughts on what to do if they are a victim, before drawing together their words and creating an original poem House of Light which he performed at both locations.

Rachel Law, Chief Executive of PossAbilities said “Tom is a remarkable man who left an indelible impression on everybody that he touched during Hate Crime Week. His message was one that we wholeheartedly support ‘Love not Hate’ and it is wonderful to see how he has inspired some of the people we support to try their hand at poetry. He wrote his poem on a papyrus lantern which can be lit up to create a house of light. We can’t wait to install it when we open the Cherwell Green Apartments next year as that will be our little ‘House of Light'”.

This project was supported by a grant from the Rochdale Safer Communities Partnership.

Tom and his PossAbilities Crew can be seen on our Youtube Channel. In the meantime here are the words: –

House of Light

This is not a house of hate

Love resides in every slate

Each brick fired with compassion

Generous kindness is the fashion

If you’re chilled by hatreds ire

Come warm your bones beside our fire

We’ll close our door, keep you safe from harm

Share your troubles, keep your calm

Our windows are eyes, behold the soul

Love NOT hate, that’s our goal

Everybody must play their part

Let this house of light shine in your heart

Tommy Calderbank and the PossAbilities Crew February 2020.

 



PossAbilities & Pure Innovations to get Greater Manchester Working Well


In partnership with Stockport based social enterprise Pure Innovations, PossAbilities will deliver a three year contract aimed at getting more people with learning disabilities and mental health diagnoses into real paid jobs.

The three year contract, worth £1.3 million, will see the partners working across the local authority areas of Bury; Oldham; Rochdale; Stockport and Tameside.

Funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the contract represents a step-change in the drive to support people with disabilities into work. Over the three years the target is to get 167 people with learning disabilities and 381 people with mental health diagnoses into paid work, that is jobs that offer at least 18 hours per week.

PossAbilities Chief Executive Rachel Law said “We are delighted to be working with our partners Pure Innovations and to be spreading our collective expertise across five Greater Manchester boroughs. The targets are challenging, but we are up for the challenge. People with disabilities have so much to offer in the world of work when they are properly supported and we look forward to seeing more people becoming increasingly independent and making a great contribution for their future employers”.



Driving Up Quality – The progress continues


The Driving Up Quality Code is a voluntary code which PossAbilities has signed up to. It shows our determined commitment to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities by taking active steps to improve the services that we provide and the ways in which we provide them.

The code, involves a phase of self-assessment over a range of themes which impact upon quality. You can find our latest self assessment report by clicking on this link Driving Up Quality.

It shows that even with our CQC Outstanding and Good inspection results, there are still things that we can do to improve. This report is our commitment to this which we review every year.



Billy’s big dig kicks off new apartment development


Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Billy Sheerin, broke ground on a new development of apartments in Heywood.

The Cherwell Village apartments will comprise 17 self-contained homes for people with learning disabilities, who will be supported by on-site staff.

The £1.8 million project is being funded by local social enterprise PossAbilities CIC and has been helped by a community asset transfer of the land from Rochdale Council.

Rachel Law, Chief Executive of PossAbilities said “It’s taken two years of planning to get to this stage, and it’s marvellous to have Councillor Sheerin to dig the first sod, He has been a staunch supporter of ours ever since we formed in 2014.”

Each apartment will comprise a living room, kitchen, wet room and bedroom giving people with learning disabilities the opportunity to have their own home for the first time. Rachel added “When the large institutions closed, people with learning disabilities went to live in houses that they shared with several other people. This was a great step forward for the times, but there is no reason why people with a learning disability cannot have their own home just like the rest of us. There is a real shortage of this type of accommodation and that’s why we are building Cherwell Village”.

The apartments are scheduled for completion early in 2021 when the first residents will be moving in.



Our Adi is Outstanding Shared Lives Carer 2019


PossAbilities own Adeline ‘Adi’ Dalman (pictured left) has won the Outstanding Shared Lives Carer Award 2019, Like other Shared Lives carers, Adi shares her home with a person needing a place to live and a bit of support.

In this case, it’s Gabby Holt, who found life a real struggle sharing a house with a group of boys, whilst transitioning to a woman. Gabby says “It was really stressful getting a diagnosis and having the anxiety of just going out and seeing people that I knew before I started the transition. Yet Adi supported me all the way and helped me to find the person that I am today. Thanks to Adi, my life has been transformed and I am now living independently”.

For Adi, who by day, is a Support Officer at PossAbilities, this is a massive accolade. There are 15o Shared Lives schemes across the country and our Adi cane out tops.



Our Current Vacancies!


Working at PossAbilities

We consider the following jobs with PossAbilities as important jobs, that’s because we regard every one of our jobs as important. We want people who are passionate, caring and fun. If this sounds a bit like you then follow the link below, you’ll find all you need to know in the job description.

As our values are important to us we want our staff to approach the job at all times using the values set out by us, and we are seeking like minded people to join our PossAbilities family.

Please click here to view all our current vacancies



Launch of the PossAbilities Happiness Manifesto


Happiness…the greatest gift that we possess, according to the late comedian Ken Dodd, not to mention other eminent philosophers across the ages.

In the hurly-burly of day-to-day life, which for some means just trying to survive, it is something that we often forget. Yet if we don’t give focus and pay attention to the things that make us happy we will miss the daily opportunities that there are to suck in and nurture the life-force that is happiness.

Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home, yet somehow we don’t always equate work with being happy. It doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why this year we have launched our Happiness Manifesto – twelve ideas to think about and focus on that can increase your levels of happiness – in work and at home,

Click to find our Happiness Manifesto, Feel free to use the ideas however you choose.



At the Double – Our second CQC OUTSTANDING rating


Staff at PossAbilities, are celebrating a remarkable ‘double’, having received their second consecutive OUTSTANDING rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It’s great news too for the people with learning disabilities that they support. The CQC conducts rigorous assessments of all 22,000 adult social care providers against five criteria, to stress test if the service is safe; effective; caring; responsive; and well-led. Only three percent of providers across the whole country achieve an OUTSTANDING.

Rachel Law, PossAbilities Chief Executive said “To achieve outstanding the first time around was an incredible achievement by our team of amazingly dedicated people. To achieve it a second time, and with improved gradings, really shows that we continue to set our sights higher and higher”.

She added “Part of being the amongst the best means continually striving to get even better. One in four providers that are rated outstanding, lose it on their second inspection. I want to thank all of the team across our services in Rochdale that have made this possible. Most of all, I am delighted for the people with learning disabilities who we support to live the life they choose”.

PossAbilities provides support to some 150 people with learning disabilities across the borough of Rochdale. They live in shared houses or in family homes across the community and are supported to become increasingly independent so that they are able to live the life that they choose. The recent Government Civil Society Strategy featured PossAbilities as a stand out example of how we can make our society stronger and more inclusive.

 



Middleton Arena Rocks to the beat of Simply the Best


PossAbilities brand new variety show Simply the Best had the audience rocking at the Middleton Arena for two nights in November.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the show featured over 50 people supported by PossAbilities and staff members, who spent nine months in rehearsals.

It was all worth it as the sell out crowds were wowed to song, dance and comedy routines from The Greatest Showman; Rocky; Grease; Thriller; and many more.

Rachel Law, PossAnilities Chief Executive said “it’s incredible. Each time we do a show, we think think that it can’t possibly get any better. Yet it does and this one was absolutely fantastic. It makes me realise just how much talent that we have within the groups of people that we support and amongst our staff who put in a lot of effort in their own time. I feel so proud”.

The show is available on DVD priced £5. To order email janet.morris@possabilities.org.uk.

 



Cherwell Village Apartments Gets Go-Ahead


A new state-of-the-art development has been given the go-ahead by Rochdale’s Planning Committee. Cherwell Village Apartments will see PossAbilities filling a gap in the housing options for people with learning disabilities.

Chief Executive Rachel Law said “This new £1.7 million development, funded through our success as a social enterprise, will see 17 people with learning disabilities having a place to call home for the first time in their lives”.

Typically people with a learning disability share a house with other’s. In the Cherwell Village Apartments they will have their own front door; bedroom; kitchen; bathroom; and living space. A real place to call home.

It’s co-location with the Cherwell Wellbeing Garden & Farm, and the social lounge, a funky 364 days-a-year drop in space, makes it unique in the UK. It offers a place to live, work, volunteer, learn new skills and socialise, whilst being part of a real, vibrant community.

Building is expected to commence in January 2019, with completion towards the end of the year.



Zinc entrepreneurs searching for a heart of gold


Fifty tech entrepreneurs from around the world descended on Rochdale during October 2018, looking for big issues that needed big solutions. We were delighted when they asked if they could visit PossAbilities, and we hosted two groups of them, as part of a mission organised by Zinc, which aims to build new tech companies to solve the world’s toughest social issues.

Our visitors included entrepreneurs with backgrounds in psychology, architecture, technology and business from countries including Ukraine; Poland: France; Israel and the UK.

We spent time talking about our work with vulnerable adults and exploring ways in which technology and artificial intelligence can help us to overcome some of our biggest issues.

The entrepreneurs have returned to their London base to work out which ideas they would like to develop further, so we look forward to working with them to create some tech based alchemy.



PossAbilities featured in governments Civil Society Strategy


In August 2018, the government launched it’s new Civil Society Strategy. The document Building a future that works for everyone, sets out a range of commitments to strengthen the role of civil society.

By civil society they mean individuals and organisations who act for the primary purpose of creating social value, independent of state control. Social value implies enriched lives and a fairer society for all.

As well as setting out the government’s commitments, the strategy uses case studies to illustrate what this approach to building civil society look like. Rachel Law, Chief Executive of PossAbilities said, “We were both delighted and surprised to find that we were featured in the government’s strategy as an example of excellence in social enterprise. It’s a great credit to all our staff that quite a new enterprise based in Heywood has attracted the attention of people in power. It’s nice to have accolades like this, but accolades don’t build a better society. Action, hard work and innovation do. So whilst we are delighted to be noticed, we will keep our feet firmly on the ground and carry on doing what we do best, creating social value”.



PossAbilities at Manchester Pride


Manchester Pride returned for its 15th year, celebrating in style with over 4000 participants parading along the streets of Manchester on a glorious sunny day. Whilst parade veterans such as Greater Manchester Police, the NHS and Coronation Street got the crowds going, the parade welcomed a the PossAbilities float this year, which turned out to be a real a crowd pleaser.

This year’s theme, ‘The Circus of Acceptance’ featured  fortune tellers, strongmen, ring leaders and even two bearded ladies who spread the love during Manchester Pride. The fun wasn’t all on the float, as some members of the PossAbilities team took to the streets with stickers to raise awareness of the importance of home sharing. The stickers also attracted young adults and the elderly, who are the key people when it comes to home sharing, which brings together different generations with one offering a spare room in exchange for help around the house or just a chat.

Chief Executive Rachel Law said, “We came to show our support for diversity bringing with us people with learning disabilities and our LGBT+ colleagues. I don’t think we realised quite how much fun it was going to be. It was a thrilling, fun-packed day and it demonstrated the human spirit at its very best. We just can’t wait for next year”.

For more photos of a great day, have a look at our Facebook page

 



Government Minister visits PossAbilities


David Lidington, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office spent the day at Heywood based social enterprise PossAbilities.

After the collapse of Carillion, the Minister is mounting a campaign to rebuild confidence in government outsourcing and aims to increase the proportion of government contracts awarded to small and medium enterprises.

A big theme for future procurement will be to encourage more businesses to focus on adding social value. PossAbilities, which has doubled in size since its inception in 2014, is being held up as a prime example of how be successful whilst making life better for people and improving the places where they work.

The Minister toured the Cherwell Wellbeing Garden & Farm, the Flower Lounge Florists and The Social Lounge, which is a place where people with learning disabilities can drop into 364 days a year.

Rachel Law, Chief Executive of PossAbilities said “It’s great that we are getting a national profile for our work supporting vulnerable adults. It’s further recognition of the fantastic work that our staff are doing. It shows that we are a great place to work, and the message to anyone who likes the idea of working in social care is to come and join us, we are always looking for good people”.



We are always looking for Shared Lives carers to work in their own home


People with a learning disability often want to live more independent lives. For some, being part of a family and a home is a big step towards creating a fulfilling life. You can earn up to £350 a week, you can carry on working in your normal job if you have one, and you get great on-going support and training from our professional team. To find out more email kate.bearshaw@possabilities.org.uk

 



PossAbilities CEO is a Forward Ladies Finalist


PossAbilities Chief Executive, Rachel Law, will be at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel as a finalist in the Forward Ladies Awards.The FL National Awards & Summit recognises the achievements of business women in the UK. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth of women with the National Awards & Summit being a national showcase and celebration of the achievements of successful women across the UK.

Rachel is shortlisted for the Public Sector/Academia/Not for Profit Sector category in North West, Wales, Ireland & the Isle of Man, and this accolade follows on from her inclusion in the WISE 100 list of inspiring women in social enterprise.

 



Cabinet Office showcases PossAbilities as success story


So far, over 100 organisations have been formed by leaving the public sector and becoming Public Service Mutuals.

This initiative, championed by The Cabinet Office, has launched a second round of support, Mutuals II, which aims to encourage more public sector leaders to develop plans to ‘spin-out’ and become independent entities. PossAbilities is seen as one of the big success stories of the mutualisation programme, and The Cabinet Office has produced a video to encourage others to take the plunge. You can see this on PossAbilities TV and find out how to apply on the Cabinet Office website.

Since our formation in 2014, PossAbilities has doubled it’s turnover; increased staff from 220 to over 500; attracted some £500,000 in grants; built its reserves; and expanded from Rochdale into Widnes, Runcorn. Oldham and Todmorden, thus becoming a regional rather than a local player in the market.







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