Doing what we do

At Liaise we are proud of our reputation as a specialist service so we were very pleased to receive the following email recently praising our coworkers for their professionalism and positive attitudes.

This was from a former teacher of a new service user who has recently moved into one of our services (published with her permission).


I’d just like to share my thoughts and feelings on a current transition of one of my pupils to Marika House.

marika-house-newI’ve been A’s teacher for 3 years having come from mainstream to suddenly be teaching a highly challenging class at Tadley Court School with A as one of the most challenging pupils in the school. I immediately developed a very close working relationship with A regardless of the daily behaviours he demonstrated. He has come a long way. So much so he is now (mostly) to be able to self manage his anxieties.

For the past 3 years I’ve been anxious about A’s transition into post 19 provision.  I needn’t have been. The transition plan that was put in place by Marika, rather than ourselves, has been second to none. Each and every staff that has met A, or myself, have told me how excited they are to get to know him. This has given me even more confidence that this is the best place for A.

I have every confidence that Marika house is the best place for this special young man. I’d like to pay a particular thank you and commendation to Lizzie who has ensured a flawless transition as well as developing an immediate positive  relationship with my special boy!

Many many thanks


Moving towards a Mindful Organisation

A few years ago, I was attending the annual Loddon Training & Consultancy Conference, and heard a presentation from Dene Donalds and Melanie Chapman on the increasing use of mindfulness practices in social care.

This struck a chord with me. I was intrigued and wanted to find out more.

So, a few days later, I found a local Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR) and started on a journey that has transformed both my life and my attitude to the workplace.

Being a natural sceptic, what has kept my attention is the increasing amount of research in this area. This is not some flaky, new age fad.

So, what is Mindfulness?

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School,

“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises by paying attention,
on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”

Sounds simple? And in some ways it is, but in others, it is really difficult. But when you do give yourself some time to stop and just pay attention to how you are feeling and how you are reacting to situations, then, it can be transformative.

There is lots of information on line about mindfulness, so I’m not going to go into more detail here for now. Check it out for yourself, or let me know if you would like me to write another blog on it!

Stepping Stones


After my MBSR course and starting a journey of regular meditation practice, I wanted to find out more. So, I went back to University in Bangor for a year. Bangor University was one of the first places in the UK to set up a research centre to explore and develop mindfulness based approaches.

During the year, I have gradually developed my ideas on how we can integrate some of the ideas and concepts behind mindfulness into our work, mainly focusing on enabling and empowering co-workers to have the skills to manage the high stress situations that appear and also, to enjoy more the successes that happen in the present so much of the time.

We have now run a few general Introduction to Mindfulness Courses as a taster for co-workers from across the organisation and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.

Next Steps

So, what are the next steps?

I am setting up a small focus group of about 10 co-workers, who want to take the lead on how we develop mindfulness within the organisation.

The first step is to let them loose on a full eight week mindfulness course and then, once they have more information and can see for themselves what seems to work, then we can work together to provide a range of tools, training, skills, practices and ethics that will help us move forward.

This is not something that should be done in isolation. Nor is thing something that can be rushed.

We need to make sure that we can actually show that it works and makes a difference to the co-workers, and ultimately, the people we support. This will link into many other activities within the organisation, such as Driving Up Quality, Practice Leadership and the development of a Wellbeing Strategy.

It is not something that will change overnight, it might take a few years for positive change to happen but I hope that it will be an interesting and inspiring journey.

 “Of all the virtues we can learn no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness


Deborah Cornick, Managing Director


Driving Up Quality

The Driving Up Quality Code is a voluntary code of conduct written as a response to the abuse at Winterbourne View. The code was created by the Driving Up Quality Alliance, made up of national member organisations that collectively represent 80% of all learning disability service providers in the country. It was launched in September 2013 at the House of Commons.

The code is endorsed by the Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb (who contributed a foreword), the Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission. Its primary aims include improving quality in learning disabilities services and promoting a culture of honesty and transparency. Organisations that sign up to the Driving Up Quality Code are expected to assess themselves annually and publish what they find, with an action plan for improvement.

Find out more on their website.

Liaise Loddon have signed up and here is our first report looking at Practice Leadership within the company: DUQ code summary