Tree Article from Shields Gazzete

It is great to hear young people at St Oswalds RC Primary School being so enthusiastic about becoming Eco friendly from being more Eco aware. It is equally as good to hear a bid being brought in to bring more trees to south Tyneside allowing an appropriate amount and mixture of trees in the area (supported by the bio diversity report).

With “Eco Champ” Tor Bruce, the children planted a tree which in itself is one single step towards a more Eco friendly environment. This is something the children really got involved in and enthusiastic about. They were not just told about being more environmentally friendly, they got a hands on experience which i believed spurred on the interest.

Tor Bruce also visited the school previously informing the young individuals on the Healing Heart project.

There was a new “day” created where the children came in to school wearing recycled clothes inspired by Tors events that he speaks so passionately about. The children “wore items of recycled material, or brought in clothes to be donated to the BHF”. I love that people are getting involved with helping others and the environment so early on. I only hope this continues and the spark does not “fizzle.”

Tor spent a total of 5 hours with the pupils which included an assembly by the man himself (Tor Bruce) as well as the activity of tree planting. He found the visit “inspiring”.

This is linked with the John Muir Award which promotes individuals and groups becoming more ECO aware and environmentally friendly.

There is a quote from the article which goes as follows “The young people have really taken to the heart concept” I believe this could be because an image of a heart has warming connotations linked to it. It is also a visual everyone recognises. It is greet to hear young people being enthusiastic about such a great event.

The article also mentions the pupils (aged 9-10) creating “green hearts to be given to those that are ill to encourage them to feel better” In the news today there is such a negative out look about the youth today, it is both encouraging and inspiring to see such compassion in the young individuals.

The pupils had also brought in a sum of £1 for the opportunity to not wear their uniform for the day, instead clothes of recycled material. This may go towards a tree as well as a great charity that are known as Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD). This charity “helps poor countries across the World”. What an amazing and compassionate day they had and what they done that day i am sure is appreciated by many who both read this and see the benefits.

To read the article i got all the information from please go to: http://m.shieldsgazette.com/news/education/school-lays-down-roots-for-future-1-4600913

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Healing Heart Event

I think this is a great event to get involved in and i hope to be a part of it as much as i can. I really like how there are a variety of different groups allowing everyone and anyone to get involved in it. One Single Step (OSS) welcome anyone and this shows with this event. 

There is a big promotion of Eco awareness and living a healthy life style. Today with drink, drugs and bad nutrition seeming to be a big play in peoples lives it is good for people to be made aware of the benefits that come with the healthy lifestyle and becoming more eco friendly. 

The event starts at 10am which is not too early or too late. It gives people (and admittedly) myself a reason to get out of bed at an appropriate time and get active. People with a mental illness may find themselves lying in bed until late afternoon because they may feel they have no reason to get out of bed early, lack of motivation and focus. This event could give them the motivation to have an active and beneficial day. It will also be good to mingle and interact with new and different people. Maybe not feel so alone… not so isolated. 

The event is set in a nice location with grass, the sea and music playing. There is not just music and setting, there will regional circus performers to entertain, bringing people to laugh and smile. With the Sun out this would become a very colourful and beautiful setting for such an event that has a beautiful reason behind it, hopefully bringing colour back in to peoples lives. The start of a healthier and more active life style. The circus performers could also inspire others to get involved with The Arts. OSS understands the benefits The Arts can bring to an individual. It can be a means of escapism, provide motivation and focus as well as just being a fun activity that gets them active. OSS support The Arts and have a page dedicated to it on the website.

It is nice how Westoe Practice (Dean Glozier) are involved. The event has the sponsor of Windsor Kitchen. The more people getting involved in the event the better and great to see such names involved. 

The short run will provide motivation, raised self esteem and rehabilitation for individuals. This is hopefully becoming a yearly event giving people something to look forward too. 

The entry fee is £10 but considering what the event entails it is a reasonable price to pay for such a day experience. Part of the fee will help towards funding the charity programme to allow OSS to continue to help others. 

There is a give away of outdoor items for the most ridiculous outfit at the event. I believe this shows the fun side to the event more. It is not just beneficial but it is a day to be enjoyed. 

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My thoughts on the Cyrenians Report

The full report can be found and downloaded on the official website off http://www.1singlestep.org

First thing is that the title immediately jumped out to me “Zero to Hero”. This title is something that is filled with potential. It is catchy, short and sweet that also indicates a journey, a transition that would catch the eye of most people. I really like the title. 

 
The explanation of what the report is about is a clear over view that gives a sense of clarity to the reader. They know what to expect to read about and can make sense of the information more as they go along. Using the line “One Single Step at a time” continues to reinforce the charities name as well as reinforcing the concept of the charity being part of a journey (as every journey starts with a step) but also the journey being achievable as it is just one step at a time.
 
During the “Intention of Report” section there were a few lines that again, jumped out at me. These were:
* “Identifying with past”
* “Accepting the present” 
* Moving on towards a future they feel in control of.”
 
These jumped out at me because i feel these sum up what the charity is about and what the charity does. It is not about getting people to forget what hurt them or to tell them what they should be doing. It is about understanding and accepting the situation, which is a much more healthy way of dealing with a problem/problems. One Single Step is about guiding someone to what they are wanting, not controlling them are the situation. It is about exploring options that would best fit the individual. As known from the 1singlestep.org website there is a section titled “The Individual” this is because OSS take the time to get to know and understand the individual as best they can because there is a big focus on the individual as there is not a one quick fix for everyone. 
 
Ages 18-23 is when people will be going through a lot of different scenarios where they may be in need of guidance. 18-23 is when one may experience guilt, loss or experience a lack of direction and purpose. At such an age people may feel more reserved for asking help and with the negative stigma attached with MI they may be hesitant to reach out because of the fear they are going to be treated like a child, being told what to do and someone trying to tell them how they are feeling. This could result to a feeling a loss of independence or pride. This is where OSS is different, the individual is still in control, it is about exploring and guiding someone, not trying to control them. A lot of people may just be un aware of the options available to them, this is another way how OSS could help. “The Light Directory” may be all one needs to start their journey to life they are wanting to lead without even having to contact anyone involved with OSS. 
 
As mentioned OSS is about helping people with employability, education and well being. These are three things that can help enrich the lives of someone and help them feel better in themselves. This could help the problem of: 
* Lack of purpose, 
* Lack of direction, 
* Isolation, 
* Feeling vulnerable, 
* Lost, 
* Forgotten, 
* Emotionally fragile, 
* Physically lacking
* Non motivated, 
* Neglected, and 
* Feeling damaged. 
 
There are other ways that can help someone out of a “dark time” or improve on someones MI. OSS recognises how effective the arts can have on an individual. A creative outlet can be used as a form of escapism or motivation during hard times. There is also a section of the involvement OSS have with The Arts on the website. 
 
The section titled “Initial Observations” shows that there are some set backs and issues that come with starting up something new. There is a trail and error process involved. Practical activities are a positive way to allow someone to open up, there will be a lesser sense of pressure. The report mentions giving the young people are target to do for the next session which seems to be held a week after. When giving a target people, despite how fragile, can and will motivate themselves more. By setting targets you are allowing the individual to have more control of the situation by allowing them help themselves. People who come to OSS don’t need “someone to do all the work for them” but may just need some light and direction. OSS provide the tools and the individual will build upon the foundation OSS can set for them, that is if the person wants it enough they will. This section also shows how effective the Arts can be as there was progress made with the young people through the art of fashion, writing, drawing, music, etc. 
 
OSS is about letting someone lead the life they love, not the life they may feel they need. 
 
The section marked “Session One- March 26th 2012” shows more trail and error. Testing things and understanding what works and what does not for certain people. As mentioned before, there is not one method that would suit all. It also shows that the young people are having a voice and it is that voice that has even helped shape their own individual programme/plan. 
 
OSS is not about creating a short term quick fix, but a long term plan to enrich the life of the individual. They are guided, not led. This is a poit that keeps being brought to attention as it is something very important to the ethos of OSS. 
 
The section marked “Real Life Stories” mentions Tor Bruce talking to the young adults who shared their stories with him. Everyone has a story to tell and they “were very keen to get the information out”. Sometimes people need a listening ear and even when one is offered some will be more with holding than others. This demonstrates the importance of to develop a plan specific to the individual therefore getting to know a bit about the person. Not one plan fits all and some journeys with OSS may be longer than others, but every journey taken is important and has substance, meaning and reason. 
 
Session 3 April 9, Session 4 April 16th and Session 4 April 23rd all show real progress with the OSS programme. This is due to the contacts being made, emails sent out, work shown and visits taken. 
 
The section titled “The Lone Wolf” shows the potential in the individuals that may come to OSS. This story shows just how some guidance and a listening ear can make such  big difference. 
 
Section 7 May 7th talks about the day when a paper template for a potential website was given to a designer from Northern Designers. This website is now a functional source that could be the beginning of someones journey with OSS. 
 
Session 8- May 14 opened my eyes to how accessible OSS is and how many people could potentially be/get involved. 
 
The Conclusion and Suggestions section of the report mentions the NE being a region “dependant on alcohol and drugs”. Alcohol and drugs seemed to be a running theme for the 15 individuals according to the report. The drugs and alcohol played a part wether it being themselves consuming the substances or being effected via family members. They were also used as a way of “numbing the senses”. This led to a raised awareness of drug and alcohol and abuse and ways around it. They also discussed what can be done to help not just themselves with the abuse of substances but for the region “dependant on alcohol and drugs”. Surveys were suggested and surveys are both useful and valuable forms of research. 
 
In conclusion, after reading the report i found it:
* Proved progress, 
* Created a raised awareness for the young adults, 
* Single Steps were made in the right direction, 
* The programme motivated people, and
* Proven evidence that OSS  have had a very positive effect on those fragile and in need of some guidance. 
 
Guidance was given and progress was made. 
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My thoughts on www.1singlestep.org website.

I like the new font, it certainly doesn’t look “Western” like the old font got named as. It is still a nice, clear, strong bold font. Looks good. The menu works well as there are not too many sections so it looks crowded, but there is still everything there that you need at a glance. Navigation is easy and uncomplicated which is great for a website that is focused on the content and info. 
 
The black and white look is both modern and professional looking. It is not flashy and again, shows the focus being on the content and information. 
 
The info from one page to another also flows well. “OUR MISSION” is followed nicely to “OUR INSPIRED START” and so on. It is like separate chapters in the story that is “One Single Step” and the next chapter is all down to the individual, what they want to do next. Adding images and documents shows an honesty and openness to the website. The website is hiding nothing to the reader, this openness shows the website being genuine, open and honest in itself. 
 
All images and links work. They make the site more interesting without taking the focus away from the content/info/message. 
 
The events section is a good way of both raising awareness to the charity as well as getting people involved. Having something to do and being around people can be the motivation someone needs to start to pull them out of the depression, the first step. Love the events side of things. Unfortunately, it looks like i will not be making it to the Lake district on the 14th and 15th but will be attending next years. If there are any upcoming events more locally I can be involved in, in anyway, I am certainly going to be attending and helping out. 
 
As a whole the website has an openness and honesty to it through out, people will warm to the charity already. 
 
The gallery is a really nice idea for people to visually see progress and the positivity of One Single Step. In terms of the “Arts” and “Music Player” sections, I know people in music and the arts wanting to get their music and performances out there. It would be great to see more people I know getting involved with such an amazing charity. Not just those I know, but seeing new faces becoming part of it too. 
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My trip to Westoe Practice

Westoe Practice. 

So i came to Westoe with my mentor Tor Bruce and this is how it looks from the outside. As you can see it looks quaint and homely. With a mix of neutral colors a calming blue work well for the business. The clouds on the window stood out for me. When i think of clouds i think of fluffy, soft, summer and comfort. I instantly had a good feeling of the place.

When i walked  through the door this is what i stepped in to. There is a poster on your right of all the different therapy styles and possible issues that i mentioned in my previous Westoe Practice blog. I liked the cosy feel of the place. It was comfortable and the lack of large rooms made it not feel like an intimidating place. There was still plenty of room to move about with ease.

So from walking through the door you take a right and enter this room, this is the reception area. It has kept the same color format of neutral colors with the hint of blue. It has a professional feel with the items you would find a typical reception area. It has leaflets to inform and guide individuals.

This is a poster that is seen when you walk out of reception. This is an image i feel sums up Westoe Practice. It is a place you feel “naturally” comfortable in. There is a warmth to it and the way there is a range of colors used in the image there is a range therapeutic techniques to help different images. The building has a personality to it which i believe is best reflected in the little details you find. These details you can see in the following photos.

Good use os space and a calming (what i believe to be a) teal color on the walls. Plenty of space to move about. Personally that seat looks rather comfortable!

The little details like having cloud images in the windows just shows that they pay attention to the little things,  someone who considers the little things is a nice comfort if your trusting the person to help with your healing process.

Another room that uses the space well and has a calming feel to it from the us of color and detail without seeming cluttered.

In the rooms are informative posters that allow the individual to learn more about what they are having done which will put them at ease. Also shows a sense of professionalism within the business.

This is a very clean and hygienic place, important when dealing with people.

Westoe has three different floors. On your way to the 2nd floor
you see this stair case. The leaves along the walls and banister create a comfortable feel to the place. It gives the place a bit of personality. Leaves are organic reflecting the organic and natural healing that comes with the Westoe Practice. Green has connotations of being a calming color associated with good health and prosperity. Peronsally, it also just put a smile on my face.

This picture caught my eye. In my personal opinion the colors appear both bold and gentle. The way the light appears to bounce off the gold was it lovely. The image is very in keeping with the feel of the building yet still stands out.

This is another eye catching piece. It is colourful and vibrant which is how i felt coming out of the place.

This book shelf is different and unusual. It has a sense of softness to it with the smooth curving. The books also shows the intellectual side to the practice. They are professionals after all.

The drum and beads are not just pretty and quirky, to me they are the kind of items i would associated with culture separate to my own. Their interest and open embrace to different cultures items shows an open mind.

When you are getting your therapeutic treatment lie back and let your worries float away like the clouds in the photo. When outside is raining, relax and think of Summer.

The curtain keeps to the neutral color pattern. It not only looks nice, it also allows you to have your privacy. There is no need to see the traffic, buildings are the public passing by when you are relaxing in this cosy room.

I really like this bed. It not only looks cosy but purple is a color that has a relaxing nature to it. The decoration and colors have had a lot of thought but in to it.

The sky line, corner sofa and little hanging decorations really make the room seem more of a bedroom that a therapy room. How many doctors rooms have you been in that look this nice! If your nervous before the therapy, you will certainly find peace of mind in the room.

Again, this shows the thought to detail that is put in to the practice. I have great confidence that the same thought to detail will be put in to the individual’s session.

Another room with nice decor that can help with your well being. I like how the bed faces the image on the wall. It is a nice image of an idyllic setting anyone would like to be at.

Stocked with appropriate supplies.


Another relaxing room with a comfy bed, nice decor and paint. The blinds supply you with privacy but gives you the option of more light if wanted.

Two pillows for extra comfort. The bedding is clean and neat.

Even the ornaments are chilled out. The ornament looks calm, relaxed and his rather quirky. Another piece that made me smile.

A lovely piece of material. The material is vibrant with a mix of colors. Westoe Practice itself is a lovely place that has a vibrant energy and a mix of different therapeutic techniques. There is a lot of little detail in the material just how Westoe Practice has had a lot of thought put in to it with the detail to decor.

So after i had a looks about Tor told me to go to the very top floor which is the image above. He said to just chill there and take in the energy. I admit i did not expect to pick up much but when i sat down i genuinely felt such positive energy and good vibes. I sat with my back against the wall and began to take deep breathes. I was having such a hectic week it was nice to be in such a calm environment. I put my phone on silent as i did not want any distractions. It was a nice little spot to begin with but after a few minutes was when i began to really feel the benefits of the positive energy. Walking about taking photos did not allow you to feel the positive vibes in a way that sitting and relaxing did. I thought i would take full advantage of the opportunity by closing my minds. I was unable to keep my eyes closed because my body felt energised. I had such focus despite feeling so calm.

I came back down smiling feeling very relaxed despite a hectic week. The way down reminds me a bit of a home with the layout and door. I like the homely feel of the place. If you feel at home in a place, you feel more at ease.

Then we left. This is a great place that i highly recommend to go. The help with the with both physical and mental well being. Even if you just wanted to un-wind with a relaxing massage, consider Westoe Practice.


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A conference on Autism

On the 2nd April I had the privilege of attending an annual conference in Gateshead that was held by a group called the Gateshead Autism Society. They are a great organisation that help, support and give guidance to those dealing with autism (“suffering” seems like a horrible word to use) and families that may need help with helping those dealing with autism. The Gateshead Autism group has been going for about 1 year now and already has touched the lives of many people and I hope such a great organisation continues to grow in terms of awareness, support and success. The information in the post is all information I have received from the Gateshead Autism Group and I give them full credit to my broadened knowledge of autism.

I wanted to leaner about autism as I wish to learn about many different therapeutic techniques, coping strategies as well as different people with different needs.

I learnt a lot at this conference… a lot more than I ever intended. The people there were both lovely, understanding and very passionate about what they are doing. I learnt that 1 in 4 are likely to be diagnosed. I believe this number is an eye opener at just how many people can be and are effected by autism. It is something that need more attention to it. Males seem to be more likely to be diagnosed with autism, however, if a female is diagnosed with it, the autism tends to be more severe than a males diagnosis. Of course this is not the case for every diagnosis.

People who do not have autism have the ability to block out the background noises around them, or at least deal with them efficiently. People who do have autism are not able to block out secondary noise pollution such as the noise from central heating, the rustle of someones clothes or whispers from a cross the room. All this noise pollution they hear so clearly can be what causes them to “lash out” and react to things that would pass by us. This is because their brains do not take in the signals, their signals become mixed up and this can cause them to feel uncomfortable as well as cause stress.

One technique to calm the individual down during the “lash out” are what is called Social Stories. Because of their impairment with theory of mind everyday social situations that come naturally to us can become confusing and de stressing for those with autism. They struggle to understand that others opinions can be different top them and that we may choose to do something differently to what they wish. Social situations and interactions that are perfectly harmless may seem threatening to them as they are unpredictable. They do not understand therefore fear.

This can lead to larger difficulties. People with autism may feel a sense of isolation and lack of opportunities because of their struggle with social situation and interactions. This is where the technique of Social Stories comes in to play.

“Social stories attempt to address the “theory of mind” impairment by giving individuals some perspective on the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of others”.

They are brief stories that help explain social situations better through images and words. It will be a very basic social situation or skill and it helps the individual understand what has happened in the situation, why it has happened and the common reactions. By understanding the protocol for social situations that may usually cause them distress, they can go through the process they have learned from the social stories to avoid feeling isolated in society. It is a coping strategy as they can play out the scene through their new found understanding that has guided them through it. The different situations can be visits to a shop or hospital, when queuing in a  line or travelling on public transport. This allows an individual to interact with others appropriately as uncertain situations become less de-stressing through the new understanding. It is also encouraged for the social stores to show the individuals behaviour as not a negative response, it is just different and the response they could give can have positive effects.

To make the Social Stories as effective as a technique as it can be they should be based around the individual needs of the person with autism. Every diagnosis of autism is different as is everyone diagnosed with it therefore the social story should be relevant to that specific person.

Social stories “key points: the important social cues, the events and reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of him\her and why”

As we all learn best through different means, could be learn at best through sound, images, touch, interaction. People with autism tend to be more visual learners therefore having the imagery in social stories will allow

Autism does not just effect the individual, family and friends can struggle adapting to loved ones being diagnosed. Some may have an advocate counsellor to help and support families so they can live their lives in the most positive light that they can. They can learn to calm one down when they become distressed, understand their behaviour and just be there for the family and friends. This can be done by creating plans and step by step guidelines so the situation is more controlled and goals seem more achievable.

“not one size fits all for helping autism”

This is true. Everyone is different and autism effects different people in different ways. Some have a more extreme case of autism than others and everyone should be treated differently. For this to take effect it is important to get to know that individual, the more you know about the person the easier it will be to understand their behaviour, what triggers distress and the best ways to calm them down.

Unfortunately there is no cure for autism right now, just ways of making things easier for people. Autism is something people will have with them for their whole lives and it is normally recognised during the “child” stage. Those with autism are very smart people dispute their impairment. They generally have rather high IQ’s.

A few statistics about those with autism.

  • 60% rely on family support
  • 40% live at home
  • 33% do not have enough support, and
  • 33% have difficulties with support.

“1 million peoples lives are touched everyday in Britain\England by autism”

I believe this shows just how much of an impact autism has in society today, it is an issue that could have a lot more support and awareness brought to it.

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Reiki

Reiki is a therapy style founded in Japan that promotes good help through aiding people in relaxation and their stress’s in life. There is a belief focused around Reiki that we have a life force that is our essence of living, this life force, however, cannot be seen but can be treated and aided.

There is a call to action with your life force. If your life force is of high energy then you are able to experience happiness in life and enjoy life more relaxed, however if your life force is low you are more likely to fall ill and feel stressed.

Reiki has more benefits that simply allowing yourself to have a good life force. There are many benefits to Reiki including …

 

 

Taking from the above image you can see the different areas of one well being Reiki can contribute too in a positive light.

Adapting to the needs of the individual shows a focus and dedication that is put in to the Reiki technique. People who specialise in this area of therapeutic technique have a warm heart and open mind. They wish to help people and enrich their lives. Everyone is different and this is taking in to consideration which is why they adapt the treatment to the individual so they receive the best treatment they can.

I have the fortunate luck of being able to receive a Reiki treatment. Once i do i shall add to this blog about the benefits of the treatment, my thoughts and opinions on it.

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