The guest of honour at Swanton Care and Community’s annual staff conference in Rugby earlier this month was the much loved Neil Baldwin. Mr Baldwin, whose inspiring story was dramatised in the 2014 film Marvellous, was able to use his experience of living life to the fullest to reach out to and inspire learning disabilities professionals from across the UK.
Mr Baldwin addressed experts from across England, Scotland and Wales. He answered questions directly from professionals working in the field of learning disabilities, providing added insight and inspiration to those delivering critical support to people with complex needs.
Mr Baldwin’s accomplishments include working as a kit man at Stoke City Football Club; working as an unofficial greeter at Keele University and subsequently being awarded an honorary degree from the institution for his services to students; and touring Britain as Nello the clown. His adventures were captured in the very well received film Marvellous.
Building on the interactive nature of the Q&A with Neil, the conference also comprised an in-depth discussion around how services could further adapt for the benefit of the individuals Swanton supports.
Swanton CEO, Dr Alison Rose-Quirie, then took to the stage to answer questions from her colleagues. She commented:
“Having Neil Baldwin share his experiences with us was profoundly inspiring. On behalf of Swanton, we thank him for his phenomenal contribution to empowering people to achieve their goals.
“Each one of us at Swanton supports individuals whose hard work and achievements demonstrate what a privilege it is to be able to work in this field. This year’s conference was a great way to announce Swanton Care and Community’s new direction and ensure colleagues feel empowered to contribute to our collective success. Staff are critical to helping Swanton change lives and it’s so important to hear from them to ensure we support them in delivering the highest quality care and support.”
Along with staff, Swanton Service Users were able to contribute to, and benefit from, the conference. As Alicia Clark, a service user at Swanton, said:
“I really enjoyed the conference and thought it was helpful. I was able to ask lots of questions and I felt important and part of the group. The conference reminded me that I can do anything if I try.”
Staff also found the day to be motivating. Rachel Smallwood, Support Worker at Baylis Place, in Hull, said:
“I found the day to be quite moving and inspiring. It made me want to challenge myself to work even harder to help those we support achieve the absolute best. I also found the open and honest discussions with Senior Management to be very helpful.”
Founded in 2006, Swanton offers registered care homes, care homes with nursing, community based supported living and domiciliary care across England, Scotland and Wales. They focus on maximising independence for each person they support.