It’s just got easier to spend a penny in Leeds

Carol Benson, Paul Foottit (events manager) and Rachel Smalley (access officer) with the new mobile loo

Carol Benson, Paul Foottit (events manager) and Rachel Smalley (access officer) with the new mobile loo

Changing Places is a national campaign to provide specialist toilets and Carol Benson was asked as part of her work to lead the project.

Carol works as a Business Change Leader in the Learning Disability Community Support Service at Leeds City Council.  As a qualified social worker, she has worked in the field of learning disability for over 30 years and has been a carer for adults with learning disabilities for most of this time.  She has been at the heart of the transformation agenda in Leeds, improving services to be more flexible and person-centred.

In this post Carol tells us about a new Changing Place.

Continue reading

Posted in Independence, Learning disablity, Personalisation, Physical disability | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bramley Lawn – enterprising people creating a social space for Bramley

What is it that turns a neighbourhood into a thriving community?

Is it jobs, housing, public transport or places to go? Perhaps it’s people with an enterprising outlook, willing to organise things and encourage others to take part? And folk willing to share their knowledge, help others and spread the word about what’s going on and how people can get involved?

It’s all of these and more, but sometimes it’s having a focal point where people can meet, inside and out, and just be part of things.


Bramley Lawn was a council-run care centre for older people which closed four years ago but which opened again recently after being transferred to the local community. It is now being transformed into a social space for older people by Bramley Elderly Action, the local Neighbourhood Network.

We visited them on their opening day to find out about their plans to create a social space in Bramley. Lee Ingham, centre manager and Fran Graham showed us round. Continue reading

Posted in Achievement, Health and Wellbeing, older people, social enterprise, Social Isolation, Transforming care services, Uncategorized, volunteering, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep on spreading the word about safeguarding and protecting

In his latest ‘Deputy Blog’, Dennis Holmes talks about the recent ‘Doing nothing is not an option’ safeguarding campaign.


Did you see them?

The prevention of adult abuse campaign took to the streets over the summer with posters and banners in areas of high footfall for maximum impact. It sent forth subtle messages about the various forms of abuse, how to recognise it, and what to do about it.  At a stroke, the issue of adult protection travelled beyond its traditional home as an internal Adult Social Care services matter, to the ‘outside world’ and thereby harnessed a new and powerful safeguarding army – the general public. Continue reading

Posted in Achievement, Health and Wellbeing, Information, Safeguarding, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30,000+ reasons to keep the conversation about social care going


Here at the Better Lives blog office, we’re always on the look out for stories that show how health and care services are making a real difference to peoples lives and we would love more feedback on what we publish but we also want to provide content that you want to know and read about.

We were pretty chuffed that to coincide with UK day for Older people 2014, we had our 30,000th view of the site. We know it’s not all about the numbers, but we did have some celebratory high fives in recognition that people are dropping by and more recently leaving more comments. So a big thank you to you all.

Did you know there is a ‘like’ option on every article?  If you wanted to show that you’ve read (and liked) a story but don’t really want, or haven’t the time, to comment, you can simply click on the like option to show your appreciation. We can then see which are the most popular stories.

We have our usual contacts for stories, but we’d like to grow the list and even invite some new guest editors to maybe tell it from their point of view.

So do you have any suggestions for blog posts?

Would you like to see more stories from the people at the top or from people on the frontline?

Would you like to be a guest blogger?

Is there an unsung hero/organisation you think we should shine a light on?

We’d like to know more about what you think about the blog; your likes, dislikes, what you’d like us to do more of or less of.

Please complete the poll below and we will try and take-up your suggestions

Thank you for reading.

Blog office

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Let’s talk, let’s connect on World Mental Health Day 10 October 2014


Friday 10 October is World Mental Health day – so let’s talk, let’s connect at a wonderful event at the Leeds Civic Hall, 11am and open to all, with the support of the Lord Mayor and Leeds City Councillors, in partnership with the Time to Change Leeds Team, Volition and Adult Social Care.  There will also be 42 organisations represented with stalls to share information and offer advice and support. There will be bands, line dancing, and tours of the Civic Hall, short films and a pop up pledge booth.

Vanessa Findlay, a volunteer for Time to Change Leeds and studying psychology and society at University, and Tricia Thorpe, Time to Change Leeds co-ordinator, tell us why World Mental Health Day is so important. Continue reading

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All’s fair in love and awards

Award for Excellence nominees

Award for Excellence nominees

On Tuesday this week, I had a sunny smile on my face as I attended the Adult Social Care Awards for Excellence. I say a ‘sunny smile’ because I don’t think it matters who you are, I think most folk like some form of positive recognition because it simply feels a little bit lovely! Whether such recognition is a formal or an informal affair, to be acknowledged can give someone a gorgeous glow as the awards ceremony so readily proved. Today we hear from some of the winners; acknowledge those nominated and, of course, ask a little thought provoking question or two…   Continue reading

Posted in Achievement, Carers, Dementia, Legislation, Mental Health, volunteering, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine – tackling loneliness and isolation in Leeds


Today, 1st October, is UK Older People’s Day and in the run up, our blog has been promoting various events being held to celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to society.

Days of the year that highlight a particular cause are clearly helpful but there is a whole lot more going on to ensure that Leeds is a city for all ages everyday and this includes finding out what people think about what it is like to live in Leeds. Tomorrow and the rest of the year is no less important.

Leeds Older People’s Forum supports organisations throughout Leeds that provide services for older people. It has recently secured funding from the Big Lottery of £1M per year for the next 6 years, starting July 2015. This will be used to help tackle the loneliness and isolation experienced by many older people in Leeds. Continue reading

Posted in Achievement, Active ageing, older people, Social Isolation, Working together | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment