• Grace Eyre Annual Review 2014-2015




    Welcome to Grace Eyre’s annual review for 2014–15. Grace Eyre has now been working in Sussex for 116 years! We have also started working in the London Borough of Lambeth where we won a Shared Lives contract. Another exciting development has been the setting up of the Purple Playhouse Theatre CIC — our second subsidiary after Grace
    Eyre Housing CIC. We are eagerly looking forward to next year when we will be able to see the results of these two new developments. 


    In addition to these two major developments, we have expanded all of our services and now support over 400 people with learning disabilities. We employ 240 staff and over 70 self-employed full time carers and our new Volunteer Manager is supporting over 70 volunteers, with numbers still growing very fast. Please take a
    look at some of the activities we have done over the past year.


    Eva Eriksson, CEO





    The last year has been another year of fantastic achievement for Grace Eyre. Personal highlights included our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the King Alfred Leisure Centre in October, continuing to grow Grace Eyre Housing and winning a major tender to expand Shared Lives into the London Borough of Lambeth. 


    None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all of the staff, volunteers and service users, all of whom deserve a huge ‘thank you’. The board of trustees said goodbye to our longest serving member in the past 12 months. Tony Fellingham was involved in Grace Eyre for many years, several of which were spent as chair. All of us would like to thank Tony for his dedication, and we’re delighted that he will continue as a patron of the charity. We hope we will still see him in and around Grace Eyre.

    Finally, I hope that reading this review inspires people with some spare time and energy to join us at Grace Eyre — we have a variety of roles for volunteers, including roles on the board of trustees. If you are interested, please get in touch; I hope that you can enjoy being part of Grace Eyre as much as I do.


    Tim Drew, Chair

  • Our Services

    Active Lives

    Over 30 new people joined Active Lives last year, with the service supporting up to 100 people a day! Sessions took place at the Open Market, various sport centres, Cravenvale, our allotment, Montefiore Road, Walsingham Road, and the RSPB at Pulborough Brooks.

    February saw the completion of the refurbishment of our Walsingham Road site — thanks to the help of many generous funders — and the opening of our new complex needs service. 


    With Autism Sussex, Impetus and Brighton and Hove Council, we rented a dedicated artist studio at the Open Market for art sessions. This amazing new studio proved ideal for our Employment Team to open a pop-up art shop over the Christmas period where we supported individuals to run the store and practice their customer service skills in a busy community space.


    We also worked with City College Brighton & Hove and the NHS to run free courses both at the Open Market and within our Montefiore Road building. Courses included hospitality training, living skills, exploring mental health through art, as well as other
    unique art courses. Over half of these courses ran on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Our Sport England funded project, Sports for All in Sussex, and our Travel Buddy Scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, both successfully completed their second year of funded activities, enabling
    people to build confidence and awareness of travel safety, engage with sports, compete in international competitions and become more independent in their
    travel around the city. The Sports for All project was also successful in securing further funding to increase participation in sports activities in East Sussex.


    “I can do the sessions that I like here. It’s a nice place to come and everyone is friendly” - Brenda

    Shared Lives

    Over the last year Shared Lives saw the arrival of some new people joining the scheme and others moving on to new and different services. We recruited some new carers — eager to provide support and guidance — and we said
    goodbye to a few long standing carers who will be very much missed.

    Shared Lives are looking forward to becoming a more inclusive scheme with people who use the service becoming more involved. We want to see
    friendships flourish and people speaking out about their likes and dislikes.


    Person-centred approaches are important and people are being enabled to engage more in the activities in which they are interested. Community participation is high on the agenda with people
    accessing and becoming more involved in and around their local communities.


    Choices Supported Living and Outreach Scheme had another exciting year with more people asking for our support and more staff joining our support
    team. In 2014-2015 Choices welcomed 20 new service users in addition to two new service managers.

    Individuals brought with them their own unique talents, including film makers, jewellers, musicians, athletes, Special Olympians and cooks. We worked with people around personal safety, accessing health professionals, working with family members to improve safety for individuals in their home and addressing issues regarding online safety. We were
    an effective service supporting people to feel more confident in their community, to save for their holidays and for some, to find a new home and tenancy. We were responsive in working with landlords to improve accommodation facilities and
    supporting people in emergency situations. 

    Responses from our 2014-2015 staff survey showed that we are well led, that staff feel listened to and service users feel confident in speaking with
    managers to help improve their services. We offer a caring service, supporting people to feel able to be themselves and do the things that make them happy.


    “Thank you for all you do for AS, I am truly grateful” - family member 

    Grace Eyre Housing

    This was another exciting year for Grace Eyre Housing where we continued to develop our range of housing opportunities for people across Sussex.


    The recent refurbishment of our Walsingham Road service gave us the chance to develop a wonderfully spacious two bed apartment. The property is
    now occupied and the tenants are really pleased with their new home.

    We continued to develop partnerships with both private landlords and local authorities who have offered Grace Eyre Housing some fantastic new housing options, which included a newly refurbished
    three bedroomed house in Chichester.

    Eight people attended our pilot Safety in the Home training. The feedback was incredibly positive and
    we aim to develop some new training opportunities in partnership with our tenants over the coming months.


    'Mr B had very limited life choices after years in residential care. He moved into supported housing and now lives independently. He’s been in a Grace Eyre Housing flat for over two years and loves it!' Chris, staff member

    People Development

    Grace Eyre continued to grow, with an additional 20 staff since the previous financial year.

    Head Office underwent a restructure in which four new roles were introduced; Director of Operations,
    Director of Finance and IT, Quality Manager and Office Manager.

    Training was rolled out to all managers and staff, with a number of staff completing professional qualifications. 


    We held our fourth annual staff conference in November 2014 for staff, volunteers and carers, at which nominated staff were presented with staff recognition awards.

    Our volunteers gave over 206 hours per week - not only an invaluable contribution through their time but
    also their energy and experience. This is over 10,000 hours per year!


    Grace Eyre continued as an accredited ‘Investors in People Employer’ and a ‘Living Wage Employer’. 


    The annual staff survey showed that 95% of staff believe that Grace Eyre makes a difference to the lives of people who use the services.


    "Working at Grace Eyre with people who care about their roles and responsibilities, has been a breath of fresh to me!" - Sarah, staff member

    Service User Involvement

    The Service User Involvement Group had a very busy year planning events like our Annual General Meeting (AGM), Service User Day, Trustee Away Day and our End of Year Party. In addition, they worked in partnership with four organisations
    including Mencap on their “Hear My Voice

    Campaign,” which led to a big question and answer event with local councillors and MPs in our Purple Playhouse Theatre.

    The group also worked together with Grace Eyre Head Office staff to design and produce a new
    accessible Grace Eyre Charter.

    Together there was discussion and research into the adoption of new ways to approach accessible and paper-free surveys in order to gain feedback from all
    the people who use Grace Eyre services.

    Grace Eyre Friendship members grew in numbers and made good use of our local park and beach hut for meet ups and get togethers. They also signed up with Albion in the Community’s ‘Gully’s Day Out’ to
    use local attractions across Sussex which helped and encouraged people to get out and about with their new friends.


    'Grace Eyre is my home from home, I love coming here.' - Brenda


    "I volunteer as a student buddy to help promote independence and it is really a great deal of fun.

    I really enjoy my time at Grace Eyre and it's nice coming in on a Thursday to see so many happy

    faces wanting to chat away to me" - Cameron

  • Statement of Financial Activity

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