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Monday, 30 January 2017


Ex-service personnel looking for a new career are ideally suited to the care industry, says Marcel Ballinger, a former Royal Marine who recently joined Green Light. He’s no stranger to danger having spent 15 years with various units touring countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Sierra Leone. “People think that ex-military personnel are cold and hard-faced but I’m very passionate and caring. War operations are not just about fighting it’s about winning the hearts and minds of the local communities and finding commonality and building trust.”

Marcel left 30 Commando RM Plymouth in 2012 and was working as a bodyguard for the British Embassy in Baghdad when a chance encounter with a spider saw him return home to Cornwall for good. “I was bitten on the ankle and ended up in the American hospital. It was touch and go for a while as the poison spread through my leg. They threatened to amputate but thankfully I made a full recovery, it made me realise what was important in my life, my son and wife, Donna.”
While Marcel was on the front line Donna was working for Green Light while caring for their son, Leon, who has Aspergers. “It wasn’t easy for Donna while I was away. My relationship with Leon was difficult because I was on tour for long periods. Now I’m enjoying home life, spending time with Leon,  and the challenge of a new career.”

Marcel was recently promoted and is now a senior support worker as well as a Physical Intervention Trainer. “The physical instruction was second nature to me because of my military training. I’m calm under pressure and can think clearly under stressful conditions. Being an instructor is the next step in my progression, it’s about using safe techniques to diffuse situations. I also enjoy being part of a team, it’s great working with a functioning group of people with a common cause. Military personnel make ideal care staff as they are calm, keen, punctual, and smart. It’s a great start for me, I’m looking forward to achieving much more with Green Light and getting to know the people that I’m supporting.”

For information on jobs at Green Light please go to www.switchedoncare.com

Friday, 18 November 2016

New Deputy Manager at Springfield House

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Kerry & Sarah congratulating Calum on his recent appointment as Deputy Manager at Springfield House in Perrancoombe.

Springfield House, the latest home to be opened by Green Light, is currently home to two young men, with a third young man hoping to move in early next year.  Supported by a team of 12 plus staff it’s a busy household nestled in the picturesque Perrancoombe Valley on the outskirts of the popular beach resort of Perranporth.  

Calum Rollo joins the team as Deputy Manager. It’s a varied role and one that Calum is excited to have taken on: “My aim will be to maintain the great team spirit and morale amongst the team.  Having worked as a support worker at another Green Light home, The Pines, helps me relate to the team.  It’s good for them to know that I can do the job.  There was a great mix of skills at The Pines. Everyone had different needs that took patience and a flexible approach.  We used to walk on the coastal paths and we visited a theme park. For one young man it was his first trip to a leisure park.  For someone who doesn’t like queues he was fantastic and took it all in his stride.  I enjoy being hands on and I’m looking forward to all aspects of my new role at Springfield.”

Calum, who grew up in London, studied nutritional science at Plymouth University and worked as a nutritional advisor at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth. He moved to Cornwall to be nearer his family who retired to the county several years ago. “My mum’s family are from Cornwall, I have lots of relatives here.” Calum is studying his NVQ 5 in care management and is also a boxing coach with the Cornwall & Poole ABC based in Falmouth: “Sport teaches humility and discipline. Boxing has also increased my confidence and communication skills. I’m quite shy by nature. It’s easy staying in shape but it takes commitment to keep fit, it’s very hard but rewarding.”

Sarah Miller, recruitment manager (above right) congratulated Calum on his new post saying: “Calum has done some excellent work since joining us only last year; particularly recent transition work with a young man with autism who moved to a new home from an out of area residential special school.  Calum’s attention to detail really helped the whole team make it a positive, person-centred experience for everyone involved.”     

A young growing company, Green Light is currently recruiting Support Workers, Senior Support Workers, Waking Night Support Workers and Deputy Managers for homes in Newquay, Truro, Redruth, Camborne down to Helston. This includes two new homes, each for two people, opening in early 2017.  To find out more or apply see here

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Behaviour expert joins Autism Care Team in Cornwall

                       Behaviour Expert Joins Autism Care Team in Cornwall

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L-R Green Light’s head of recruitment, Sarah Miller, Ioanna Konstantinidou and Green Light’s managing director, Jo Pyrah.

Cornish care company, Green Light PBS Ltd has welcomed a behaviour analyst, Ioanna (Yianna) Konstantinidou to its team in Newquay. Her key aims are to provide bespoke training for Green Light’s support teams working with adults who have autism, some of whom may present with challenging behaviours. Initially, she will be involved in training new employees for three new family-sized homes which are due to open in Perranporth, Redruth and Camborne.

Ioanna trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to Masters level at the internationally regarded the University of Kent School for Learning Disabilities; The Tizard Centre and is the first ABA practitioner registered with the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board to be based in the county.

The company, which employs more than 200 people and runs 14 family-sized homes across West Cornwall, recently moved to new offices at Mor Workspace on Treloggan Lane, Newquay where it has conference and training facilities.

Ioanna joins Green Light from an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ special school for children with autism in London. Applied Behaviour Analysis is widely recognised as the ‘gold standard’ in teaching children with autism. British Psychological Society guidance for Clinical Psychologists highlights the need for Certified Behaviour Analyst supervision of interventions for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. ABA is the scientific study of an individual’s behaviour and their environment. The information gathered is used to produce positive techniques to influence and change behaviours.

Keen to highlight the benefits that her new role will bring, Ioanna said: “ABA provides the tools for staff to feel confident in their approach and the knowledge that it is doing something positive for the individual with autism. It also gives staff the scientific evidence to back this up.” Having settled in Newquay Ioanna also spoke of her joy at living by the coast, adding: “I like the quality of life in Cornwall. There is so much to do outdoors, I feel that much closer to nature. It reminds me of my home in Greece.”

Jo Pyrah, Co-founder and Managing Director of Green Light, said: “We are very excited about Ioanna joining us.  The role is the first of it’s kind in Cornwall and will add tremendous value to our service for people with autism.  Our mission ‘empowering people with autism to lead a lifestyle they are proud of’ is usually possible by creating homely, personalised environments, with the right support.  However, a few people need more focused support to overcome barriers in life.  It’s these people we hope Ioanna will help us better understand and ultimately support.”  

Notes
For further information contact Bev Coumbe 01637 416432


The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behaviour analysis services.

Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of principles of learning and behaviour. Two primary areas of study include the experimental analysis of behaviour and applied behaviour analysis. The experimental analysis of behaviour is the scientific foundation of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is a systematic approach for influencing socially important behaviour through the identification of reliably related environmental variables and the production of behaviour change techniques that make use of those findings.
Practitioners of behaviour analysis provide services consistent with the dimensions of ABA. Common services may include, but are not limited to, conducting behavioural assessments, analyzing data, writing and revising behaviour-analytic treatment plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans. Behaviour analysts are qualified to provide services to clients with a variety of needs, including improvements in organizational functioning (e.g staff performance, management and pay structure interventions), skill deficits (e.g communication, adaptive behaviour), and problem behavior (e.g aggression, self-injurious behaviour), among others.




Friday, 17 June 2016

Geno's 'Rat Race' Cornish Heaven

Green Light PBS Ltd is proud of its dynamic workforce from a record beating kayaker, musicians, jewellery designers and marathon runners.  Geno Crawford, a father of three and a support worker based at The Pines in Carharrack, started pounding the streets to shed some excess timber, as he put it taking part in his first race last year.



The Roseland August Trail (RAT race) starts at St Anthony Point, St Mawes and finishes at Porthpean, St Austell, and is  a gruelling 32 miles that took Geno 10 hours to complete. “My second run was the Exmoor Stagger which was 16 miles over Dunkery Beacon - the highest point on Exmoor in Somerset,  which I did it in 3hrs 50 mins. This was the most challenging run due to the 3,600 meters of climbing hills in extreme conditions. I twisted my ankle 10 miles in and was being sick because of the pain. I pushed on through the last 6 miles and ended up being severely dehydrated due to being sick. My game plan went out of the window and I really struggled. But because of my stubborn nature, I made sure I finished.  It does sound crazy pushing your ability to run until you’re ill but I have a great sense of achievement completing some of the toughest runs in the UK.”

Before joining Green Light, supporting two young men with autism Geno spent eight years working as a welder and fabricator. He decided to change career paths fulfilling his ambition to work with people: “I moved to Qura Brain Injury Services, based  in Truro.  I used to run a house in Camborne looking after a man who had Cerebral Palsy supporting him for more than two years until he passed away which really upset me and made me leave care. I continued to weld for another year and then saw an advert for Green Light on Facebook which really appealed to me, working with young people who have autism.  I applied and started as a waking night support worker which I enjoyed but found it didn't suit my lifestyle. I transferred to days and had the most amazing experiences working with great staff and customers.”

Geno has used his running experience to good effect inspiring his daughters' and even his work colleagues at The Pines and those that he supports to become more active. “So far I have done one ultra marathon and one insanely hard 16 miles run on Exmoor with my good friend and colleague Rory O'Carroll who has been a great support to me with the running.  We have been able to take something that we love into work and use it to help the people we support keep fit as well. On numerous occasions, we have taken one young man that we support out on the scooter, while myself and Rory run by his side for several miles.”

He is hoping to take part in more running challenges in the coming months, including the Liverpool to Manchester 47 mile run and the RAT race. “I feel that my shift pattern works well with my hobbies and family. Working every other weekend allows me to make those weekends exciting and have adventures with my children. “Unfortunately I was unable to train for a while because of an injury but I am now trying to run 30 - 40 miles a week.  I have booked the 2016 RAT race along with others. Next year I'm doing the North coast challenge from Devon to Lands End unsupported which should take around three days to complete. My colleague Will Cunnington is also hoping he will do this with me.  My big ambition for next year is to take part in a marathon in Italy, so there are lots of events coming up in the next 10 months.”


We wish you all the best with your training Geno, you’re an inspiration to us all!

For further information on work opportunities at Green Light please call Kerry Noonan on 01637 416450.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Blasting Falmouth's Tuff-Enuff Challenge


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A self-proclaimed film nut who loves nothing better than to sink into his sofa and enjoy action movies, Nathan swapped the comfort of his living room for the gruelling Tuff-Enuff ‘Urban Survivor’ obstacle course and SURVIVED!
He ran the 8km Urban Survivor in Falmouth with Green Light’s support worker, Rob Peerman, a former lifeguard. The pair took one hour forty minutes to complete the course saying it was “fast and furious” and a real test of their endurance.
It was the first time that the teenager had taken part in the course which was designed by military athletes to test competitors’ strength, stamina, fitness and nerve!
Rob (L) & Nathan ready for action on the start line of the ‘Urban Survivor’.

“It was freezing,” said Rob, “I was so proud of Nathan for sticking it out. It was a massive challenge and a really positive experience.” Speaking after the event Nathan said the icy cold, muddy waters were off-putting but he was ‘up for it’, adding: “It was good fun and I don’t mind doing it again. I used to do kickboxing. We’ve played badminton and I would like to get a bike. My main interests are playing the Xbox and watching action movies.”

Starting at the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth the pair ran along the coastline into the town centre, up Jacob’s Ladder, down to Events Square and it’s 20ft high obstacles, onto Ships & Castles, then Pendennis Castle, taking the scenic coast road to the finish line on Gyllyngvase beach.
Rob, who’s hoping that Nathan will take part in another Tuff-Enuff challenge during the summer, said of his feat: “He did all of the obstacles, I told him not to quit and encouraged him as we went round. Jacob’s Ladder was hard, there were 111 steep steps but the toughest section was running through the sea and jumping high fences. I was proud to receive my medal with Nathan, we were both cold and exhausted but it was worth it.”

Tony Borrett, who founded the Cornwall Tuff-Enuff challenges, praised Nathan’s efforts saying it was important to complete as much as compete: “Completing the Urban Survivor is a great achievement. There are lots of opportunities to get muddy, it’s one of our hardest challenges.”
The courses are normally set out on farmland or open countryside but the Urban Survivor brings the action into the heart of local communities where people can watch competitors close-up. “It’s a niche market that is growing in popularity. The sport builds on the team working, well-being, confidence and gets people active outdoors,” said Tony, who is expecting to see upwards of 700 children and 1500 adults taking part in his next Tuff-Enuff challenge in St Buryan at the end of May.
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Smiling through after completing the 8km ‘Urban Survivor’ route with 20 gruelling obstacles, including Jacob’s Ladder and its 111 steps, 20ft high fences and freezing muddy waters.

For more information on Tuff-Enuff challenges, you can go to: www.tuff-enuff.co.uk

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Tigger - it's all in the name!

“People warned me that no one would take me seriously if I changed my name, but it’s been awesome. Far from damaging my career it’s helped. It’s memorable and people often question it. It’s a great way to be introduced.”

Named after the A.A.Milne character, renowned for his boisterous and exuberant ways, Tigger is a people person bursting with energy whose main business is to improve the way that people communicate with one another.

Tigger changed his name 19 years ago while he was working as a Duke of Edinburgh leader in Cornwall. “I was handed a Winnie the Pooh mascot. The kids told me that I was more like Tigger and the name stuck. PR wise it’s been the best thing I've done.”


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Tigger during a visit to Green Light.


Having started out as a support worker for people with a learning disability, Tigger was encouraged to learn sign language and is now celebrating 25 years as a Makaton tutor in the South West: “I’m extremely proud, I must have taught thousands of people across the region. I feel lucky to be part of their training,” he said.


Keen to develop people’s skills further Tigger became a lecturer for adults with a learning disability and helped to design the Access to Skills and Development (ASD) course which is still running in the county to this day. Leaving the classroom to follow a new career as a consultant ASD trainer, Tigger has worked with many organisations, including special schools in Cornwall, training organisations and service providers in the South West. His latest collaboration with Green Light, which provides services for people with autism, is aimed at developing the company’s communication approaches by working closely with support staff, individuals and parents. “I’m seeing this as a new opportunity to develop my role. I will also be on shift for part of my time helping me to understand the way in which people are working and communicating. You can’t develop resources unless you have experienced the environment and interactions on a day to day basis.”


Jo Pyrah, Green Light’s co-founder, welcomed Tigger, saying: “We’re delighted Tigger has joined us.  His role puts him right at the centre of what we do, where he can observe and empower less experienced team members and share his skills and experience.  His passion for understanding and helping others is highly contagious.  This helps nurture positive perceptions about the people we support and an atmosphere of learning.  He’s a trainer that practices what he preaches.”  

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Tigger with Lecturer Dr. Jill Bradshaw



Tigger recently attended Person Centred Active Support Training for Trainers at the University of Kent Learning Disability Research Centre; The Tizard Centre. The training focuses on ensuring support and interactions are organised to achieve important life goals and that overall quality of life for people with learning disabilities is enhanced.  



Last year Tigger travelled to Nepal helping victims of the devastating earthquake that left thousands homeless. He was invited to volunteer at a school in Kathmandu for children with autism by a former Green Light support worker, Catherine Eastman, who has been working in the school.


Tigger says Nepal’s attitudes to autism and learning disabilities are based on long-held cultural beliefs and a lack of education: “I've worked in specialist schools in the UK and was keen to help Catherine develop the training in Nepal. It was great to be able to reassure parents and tell them that their children are not possessed by evil spirits and that they have so much to offer and should not be shunned because they have autism.


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Children playing in Kathmandu.


“One approach they have developed is the use of social media to help them to understand autism and how to support people. The country as a whole is making tremendous strides in altering perceptions and in developing very up-to-date resources and training, There is still much work to be done.


“They have very reduced resources but are achieving good outcomes. Several areas were destroyed in the earthquake, there was no mains gas, electric or water. They are rebuilding everything but it’s slow progress. Many will be living in shelters for a long time. I hope to return and continue my training Kathmandu, it’s a beautiful country.”

For further information on Green Light go to the website  and to read more on Nepal please see Catherine's Blog on Facebook.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Person Centred Care - More than just a Buzz Word

2015 Good Overall with Some Parts Outstanding

2015 has been a busy year for Green Light.  In the past 12 months we have opened several new homes; many of which have been specially adapted to suit people’s needs, and come through an unprecedented period of inspections with eight homes coming under the Care Quality Commission  (CQC) spotlight in just 14 weeks.


All eight homes: Litttlecroft, Huthnance Park, Wheal Gerry, September Lodge, Fairfield House, Comprigney Vean, The Pines and Penrose Farm, achieved an overall rating of ‘Good’, with Littlecroft achieving an ‘Outstanding’ from the independent regulator for its responsive approach.  The inspections, which took place between August and November this year, highlighted the positive relationships and the open and warm culture that exists within the homes.


Jo Pyrah, Green Light co-founder


The CQC inspectors also found a common theme running in all eight homes - that staff teams were open, visionary and enthusiastic in their approach to their work, creating positive cultures built on mutual respect and trust. Inspectors said of the service at Comprigney Vean that it: “...had a clear vision and put values, such as kindness, compassion, dignity, equality and respect at the forefront of their  practice.”

Claire Kavanagh - Registered Manager
Claire Kavanagh, Comprigney Vean Manager

Staff working in the Truro-based home also told the CQC inspectors that there was a culture of fairness and openness, and an approach which encouraged people and staff to question practice between them and directly to management, with the aim of being creative about the support they delivered.

Martin, Manager Leanne Griffiths, Rory, Jeanette, Ben & Charlie
While at The Pines, near Redruth, inspectors noted that staff had been selected for their common interests with the people that they were supporting, including golf and football. Relatives of those living at the home praised staff for their ‘excellent’ communication, with one telling inspectors: “I receive regular updates including emails and lots of photographs...It’s excellent.”


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“We’re very pleased with the Inspector’s findings, particularly the views shared with Inspectors by the people we support, their families and professionals who have been working with us,” says Jo Pyrah, Green Light’s Co Founder. “These inspections came during our busiest time of year, so it’s a real credit to the team’s in each home that they were awarded a good overall rating.”

The CQC inspectors focused on five key areas within the homes: is the service Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well Led? They consulted team members, relatives, and professionals connected to each home and carried out unannounced inspections, and where possible spoke to people about their care, activities and environment.

The CQC report on Littlecroft near Newquay showed the proactive approach taken by staff to introduce new opportunities for the people living there. These included attending music festivals, sporting activities, organising holidays and setting up a learning project and voluntary scheme to aid people’s skills and independence.

One professional, with links to Littlecroft, told the CQC inspectors: “The key to the success of the service is the strategic management...It is very inclusive...and from the bottom to the top staff seem to have an excellent understanding of the conditions of the people they support and how to keep them safe but at the same time let them live fulfilling lives.”

Ryan Smith, Registered Manager, Big Wig
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(L-R) Jen Ashley, Amy Foxford and Kerry Gardiner, the Registered Manager at Penrose Farm.





Services at Penrose Farm near Truro were also described as creative, imaginative and innovative in the ways to manage risk to keep people safe and ensure that they had a meaningful life. One person was encouraged to join a local football team and travelled to London to see their favourite team in action.  

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Jabe Norman, Fairfield Registered Manager

At Fairfield House support staff devised a unique work scheme encouraging a young man to carry out jobs, such as car washing and shopping. His family spoke of their pride in his achievements, telling the CQC inspectors: “I can’t tell you how this has benefited (name)..giving (name) something in common with mates ...they can be heard all discussing their jobs and how tired they all are...the sense of purpose and achievement have done wonders for (name) confidence.”




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September Lodge Team who were recently rated Good Overall by CQC

Support teams based at September Lodge spoke of the amazing’ training when questioned by the CQC inspector, saying it made them feel more confident within their role in the home.The CQC report said: “People were relaxed and at ease with staff. It was clear from our observations and discussions with staff, caring relationships had been developed and staff valued people. They talked about their roles enthusiastically. Comments included: ‘I didn’t realise working in care could be as fulfilling.’ And, ‘I really enjoy it. You try and put yourself in the person’s position and think how would I feel? It’s nice to support the guys to have a good life.”



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Manager’s Keziah Exell, September Lodge & Gemma Thomas, Wheal Gerry

The CQC inspectors also found that relatives were well informed and had positive relationships with the support teams at Wheal Gerry. A relative told inspectors that staff were sensitive and patient in their approach. Good communication was at the heart of these relationships with relatives, with the person's permission, given access to their daily logs so that they could see how the person had settled into the service. This, inspectors said ‘allowed a more trusting, open and transparent relationship to be formed.’


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Professionals told the CQC inspectors that staff based at Huthnance Park, which is home to four adults, were open to suggestions and new ideas and were knowledgeable and professional. Their comments included: “The care provided to individuals who live at Huthnance is excellent. Person-centred care is a buzz word these days but Huthnance staff really know the meaning of it.”


Hannah Musto, Registered Manager Huthnance Park




Thanking Green Light’s support teams in all of its homes, Jo Pyrah added: “We’re genuinely proud of the work that we do to help people achieve the kind of lifestyle that works well for them.  To have this recognised by families and professionals you have a lot of respect for, and for this to be highlighted by the independent regulator is just fantastic, particularly for a young company like ours.  We’re looking forward to build on our achievements in the New Year”

For further information on Green Light's services go to: switchedoncare.com