The Carers Wellbeing Café at Forth Valley Sensory Centre is open again and looking for new attendees!
The Wellbeing Café is more than just a lunch club. Meeting each Thursday between 12 midday and 2:30pm, the group is designed to support people who care for someone with a sensory condition or carers who may have hearing or sight loss themselves, yet still care for another person.
Open to people from the Falkirk area, the group is rare in that it allows both carers and cared for people to attend at the same time. Joint activities are laid on, including outings and interesting guest speakers but there is always an important edge to the proceedings.
Topics have included; healthy eating, managing stress and getting a good night’s sleep. These cover the ‘wellbeing’ part of the group name. The ‘Café’ is dealt with by the Centre’s own Café Tiki, who provides a healthy lunch, soup and a sandwich, to attendees, free of charge.
Group Co-Ordinator Brenda Whyte commented: “The Wellbeing Café is now in its second incarnation and feedback remains incredibly positive. Those who have come along have found it very productive and really bonded as a group.
“The real difference has been bringing both cared for people and carers together in the same room. Too often, carers don’t ask for help until they realise they are struggling to cope and solutions don’t always involve the cared for person. By working together, we can not only find ways that work for both parties but improve wellbeing, reduce stress and improve the care that is provided.”
The Wellbeing Café is actively looking for new members and anyone who finds themselves caring for another person who has sensory loss (or has a sensory condition themselves) is encouraged to join.
Upcoming activities include:
10th August Ten Pin Bowling
17th August Trip To Bo’ness Steam Railway
24th August Baking
31st August Music week
Contact Brenda at the Centre on 01324 590 888, email email@example.com
Forth Valley Sensory Centre has been given a £20,000 makeover courtesy of staff and donations from TSB Falkirk, Mitie Property Management, electrical contractors Arthur McKay and recycled furnishing firm, Go Green. The works which were carried out over a long weekend, have led to a dramatic improvement in the Centre Café and waiting area.
The completion of the work was officially signalled by Miss Janet Service, 93, from Falkirk who is one of TSB’s longest standing customers. Miss Service officially ‘cut the ribbon’ on the newly refurbished Hall which is being re-named ’The TSB Suite’.
TSB Falkirk Bank Manager, Greig Fowlis says: “Our staff had a fantastic day cleaning, painting and working hard to get the Centre looking fantastic. We’ve raised over £1,000 in branch through bake sales, walks and cycling and it is great to see that money going to such a good cause.
“We are always looking for new ways to help the local community and after an off the cuff question about seating, we have sourced a number of items from other branches and it’s amazing to see the difference they have made. All our staff wish the Centre and all those who use it all the best and we hope they enjoy the new look. It’s a great facility doing important work in the community and we’re delighted to have given our support.”
Tommy Logan, TSB Property Senior Engineering Facilities Manager adds: What a fantastic project! It was great to have the TSB Property team working with the local branch here in Falkirk to enhance an already brilliant community base at Forth Valley Sensory Centre. The work we have all completed will ensure the users benefit over the next few years. Everyone had a great time contributing and a special thank you to our Property Management supply chain Mitie, Arthur McKay and Go Green. One team all working together for the benefit of the local community.”
In addition to new seating for Hall 1 along with fresh paint and new chairs for the waiting area, the Café has also been extensively updated with a new floor, lighting and sound deadening roof tiles in order to make it easier for people with hearing loss to follow conversations. Lights and a TV were donated and installed by Arthur McKay while flooring and new shelving unit to house Centre User crafts for sale were installed by Mitie.
Ryan O’Rourke, Project Manager for Mitie Property Management says: “We were delighted to help out at the Centre with this work and it was good to get our partners involved too. We estimate the total cost would have been around £20,000 and the Café and waiting areas have a new, bright look. Safe, non-slip flooring and the new shelving means it really looks as good as the food tastes now! A huge congratulations to everyone who donated their time and gave their weekend to undertake some not insignificant works with the minimal disruption to Centre services.”
The Centre Café is open to the public from 8:45am every weekday serving a range of hot and cold food including homemade soups and specials. Open to the public, halls can be booked for private or corporate meetings for up to 100 guests. The hope is the new look will help increase footfall to the Centre.
Forth Valley Sensory Centre Manager, Jacquie Winning adds: “We are so pleased that all these different companies came together to make a momentous difference to our Centre. The feedback on the makeover has been amazingly positive already. A huge thank you to Greig, Tommy, Ryan and all their staff and partners for everything they have done.
“The Café is a social enterprise and our halls are an important revenue stream for us in a time when fundraising is increasingly difficult. We’d like to invite anyone looking for a new place to visit or hold an event to give us a try!”
TSB’s focus is to serve local people and businesses which, in turn, helps fuel local economies across Britain. Instead of having a centrally chosen Charity of the Year, Partners working at TSB are empowered to support a local cause that shares the Bank’s passion for helping local communities thrive.
In total, TSB, its Partners and customers have donated more than £900,000 to over 480 local charities across Britain since its Local Charity Partnerships launched in January 2015.
Further detail on TSB’s Local Charity Partnerships and the vital role that local charities and social enterprises play in their communities – as well as the challenges they face in today’s world and five ways can all help – can be found in TSB’s Local Charities Matter report, launched in June 2016.
For more information on activities, ‘like’ Forth Valley Sensory Centre on Facebook or follow @FVSensorycentre on Twitter.
Forth Valley Sensory Centre, held a thank you event last week for volunteers who helped the Centre raise an amazing £2121 in the recent pop-up charity shop. The total just beats the amount raised last year by just £100 but still represents a great achievement and the culmination of weeks of work by all those involved.
The shop, in Grangemouth’s La Porte Precinct, was managed a team of volunteers and staff from various partners within the Centre, including NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Council, RNIB Scotland and Scottish War Blinded.
Lynne Frail, Fundraising Coordinator said:
“After last year we were hopeful of a success and we knew the work it would require but to raise such a great amount again is brilliant and makes all the effort worthwhile.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of our army of volunteers who were superb as always. A big thanks to all the partners from the Centre for supporting us too and providing members of the public with information about services and support they can benefit from locally if they have a sensory condition.
“Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who donated items or shopped with us during the week. It was lovely to welcome so many people through the door and it means a lot to the Centre.”
The funds raised will go directly to helping people with a sensory impairment across Forth Valley, including social groups, events and other activities.
Lynne Frail added:
“The funds raised will stay within Forth Valley and help people all across Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire. We had help from Asda, Morrisons, The Howgate Shopping Centre and Strathcarron Hospice and it is always good to see charities supporting each other and private companies helping out in the local community.”
Additional thanks must be passed to Fay McDonald for providing the ‘Guess what’s inside the box’ prize won by Myra McGregor who gets to enjoy a nice bottle of spiced rum! Also, Real Jobs Falkirk and The Action Group who provided young volunteers Leon, Tom and Ruaridh who were a massive help through the week.
The next fundraising opportunities for Forth Valley Sensory Centre will be has a number of fundraising initiatives planned over the rest of the year, including Malvina’s Garden open event on 6th August and an Afternoon Tea and Ladies Fashion Show on 8th October.
Edinburgh-based tech start-up Neatebox has launched their app ‘Welcome’ at a customer event at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre and The Falkirk Wheel this July. A groundbreaking and innovative disruption to the customer service market for the benefit of both disabled visitors and service teams alike.
‘Welcome’ is a cloud based platform which helps customer service teams to provide a five star level of service to any disabled person on entry to their store. ‘Welcome’ is designed to improve the relationship between the Customer Service representative and client and makes initial contact more efficient, friendly and streamlined, ultimately helping to build a foundation for a future relationship and visits.
Explaining his motivations, Gavin Neate, CEO and founder, of Neatebox said, “With so many people being disabled by poor communication and understanding of disability I felt that now was time we utilised our smart devices to break down barriers and improve human to human interactions. I am incredibly excited that ‘Welcome’ will give us the chance to really help those with hidden disabilities as much as anyone else and look forward to introducing the platform internationally next year.”
The aim of the launch event at The Falkirk Wheel and the Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon is to showcase the Welcome app and how it can influence customer experience for the users. It will also demonstrate the great work from charities like Action on Hearing Loss, RNIB, Scope and Guide Dogs UK which have helped Neatebox in designing the app. The 18 customers who will join the event, will be encouraged to share the app with their friends to build a strong community of users which in turn will drive the sign up of venues.
Jacquie Winning, Centre Manager, Forth Valley Sensory Centre said, “The Welcome app is a great piece of innovative technology which we are delighted to be using here at the Centre. We know there has been a real buzz about it amongst our Centre Users and we look forward to more organisations signing up and committing to improving their customer service for disabled people.”
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience at the world’s only rotating boat lift and the Welcome app is an innovative way of ensuring we offer a fantastic day out for all of our visitors – whatever their individual needs.
We’re very excited to be at the forefront of this technology, playing a part in the launch of the app and we look forward to using it to help those with disabilities, including hidden ones, to enjoy a great day out at The Falkirk Wheel.”
Steve Dunlop, Scottish Canals CEO
Beside The Falkirk Wheel and Forth Valley Sensory Centre, several other venues have installed the geofencing/ibeacon solution to upgrade their customer service. These include, but are not limited to, RBS Gogarburn, Edinburgh Airport, Atos, DoubleTree Hilton Edinburgh, and Edinburgh Printmakers. In the next months, Neatebox will organise a further launch event for the Edinburgh venues.
One of the Welcome users, Angela Wales, is excited about the significant improvement in customer service driven by Welcome: “Currently I can’t find staff in shops if I need assistance, this app solves this as staff know I am there and how best to assist me.”
Pictures from the launch day, including Centre Users visiting The Falkirk Wheel to try out the Welcome App:
Notes to Editors
Neatebox is a Accessible Technology company based in Edinburgh and founded by Gavin Neate, Founder & CEO in 2011 to help customers with disability, hidden or other wish, access transport, retail, tourism and other sectors comfortably. They currently have 3 applications which you can learn more about at www.neatebox.com
About The Falkirk Wheel
The Falkirk Wheel is the world’s only rotating boat lift, connecting the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after the nearby town of Falkirk in central Scotland. It opened in 2002, reconnecting the two canals for the first time since the 1930s as part of the Millennium Link project.
About Forth Valley Sensory Centre
Forth Valley Sensory Centre is a place where people with a visual or hearing loss, their friends, families, carers and the wider community can access quality services and advice from our partner organisations. The Centre is inclusive, accessible and aims to promote the involvement of the wider community and build positive relationships across Forth Valley.