Category: News

Residents at Orbis Summergil House ‘have a voice’ and ‘are supported to be as healthy as they can be and to achieve to their potential’ the latest Care Inspectorate Wales inspection has found.

Summergil also won praise for its ‘person-centred approach’ and for making use of the site’s extensive grounds to carry out stimulating activities, like gardening, bush-craft and caring for chickens and rabbits, to support the ‘learning, development and physical health’ of its residents.

Matt Dobbs, Registered Manager at Summergil, said: “We have a collective commitment to ensuring all of those within our care feel supported, and empowered to express themselves as individuals, and we are continually striving to provide exemplary levels of care for our young people.”

“To have this hard work and dedication formally recognised by Care Inspectorate Wales is an absolute delight to the team here at Summergil House.”

Inspectors also remarked that ‘pictures showed that young people had enjoyed their Halloween and Christmas celebrations, and trips out to various theme parks and play centres’ and that ‘a young person we spoke to told us that their home was “the best”’.

CIW observed that ‘staff were happy in their work’ and that new staff spoke positively about their inductions as well as a buddy scheme where they are matched with more experienced staff for mentoring purposes too.

Mike Currier, CEO at Orbis Education and Care, said: “This report from Care Inspectorate Wales is testament to the hard work and dedication of our colleagues at Summergil House, who provide a warm, caring and empowering environment where our children learn to live as independently as possible.”

The latest annual Estyn monitoring inspection at Orbis Ty Coryton shows pupils are supported to form ‘trusting relationships with staff’ and ‘respond positively to the caring and inclusive ethos of the school’.

Ty Coryton was also praised for ‘strongly’ promoting values of ‘tolerance and respect’, and for supporting its pupils in developing ‘valuable independence skills’ effectively too.

Kelly Price, Head of Education at Ty Coryton, was also commended for promoting stability within the school as a leader who is ‘passionate for staff to develop their skills’.

Kelly said: “Effective schooling of our children relies not just on the fantastic education staff we have, but also the dedication and commitment of our care, clinical, administrative, maintenance and other colleagues too.

“To have our hard work and dedication formally recognised by Estyn confirms that we are doing well to care and educate those we are here to support. It is as an absolute delight to the team here at Ty Coryton.”

The report also identified a culture where ‘leaders know the school very well’ and where the board of governors is ‘fully involved’ in the school’s self-evaluation process as a whole.

Multi-disciplinary working was also deemed to be ‘a significant strength of the school’ and ‘highly effective in meeting the needs of pupils’, with many engaging ‘consistently well’ in their learning and respond ‘enthusiastically’ as a result.

Mike Currier, CEO at Orbis Education and Care, said: “We’re truly thrilled that the team’s efforts to create a warm, welcoming and above all supportive environment for young people have been formally recognised. We are very proud of our team at Ty Coryton and congratulate them on their success.”

One of our pupils has found his ‘hoppy’ place as an award-winning rabbit breeder attending animal shows across the UK.

Nathan regularly takes his beloved pets to some of the largest animal shows in the UK and has even been made an honorary Welsh ‘fancier’ – a breeder of high standards.

His new-found status contrasts with his early days as a quiet pupil at Summergil House. Now Nathan also has plans to qualify as a mechanic, having taken up regular work experience at a nearby garage as a result of the confidence breeding rabbits has given him too.

Nathan’s mum, Sam Mansell, said: “He really enjoys the social side of the shows, which have given him a confidence that he has taken into other areas of his life and will, all being well, take into the future workplace too. We couldn’t be prouder of him and the progress he is making as a result.”

Nathan’s involvement in the shows he attends now extends to stewarding, displays and award duties, and has seen him claim rosettes at The Royal Welsh Show, Three Counties Show, Swindon Show and the largest small animal show in the country at Doncaster, to name a few.

Orbis staff at Summergil House have also seen a quiet and introverted student grow into a confident young man since he took up the hobby.

Rachel Hackling, Head of Education at Summergil House, said: “He is a shining example of how anyone can make remarkable progress regardless of what their challenges may be. We are all super proud to count Nathan as one of our own here at Summergil House and can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”

Orbis Education and Care has appointed Matt Dobbs as the new Registered Manager of Summergil House near Presteigne.

The former Social Services Children’s Mentor will build on a long-standing career in the field as he moves from a long-term role at Orbis’ sister site in Powys, Ty Bronllys, to manage Summergil.

Matt brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked across several behavioural and clinical positions for Orbis since he was first appointed to the company as a support worker a decade ago.

Since then he has accrued a breadth of expertise to support him in further strengthening the residential care and educational services on offer to learners aged 8-19 at Summergil House.

Matt, 31, said: “Staying relatable to the wider team at Summergil, in order to maintain a setting which is a happy and enjoyable place to live and work will be a major focus for me in this new role, as will maintaining our relationship with the surrounding community.

“Raising awareness and the presence of the children and young people within Orbis’ care, and supporting them to build their confidence, self-esteem and validity in feeling part of the local community is something I am also looking forward to building on further across the two sites.”

Matt added: “Orbis has taught me that with the right approach and positivity anything is achievable. I love being part of a company that has such a fantastic ethos towards the well-being of young people and can’t wait to see what else is possible in moving out of the clinical team into this management role.”

 

Making a positive difference to the lives of others is what attracted Bob Martin to a job with Orbis Education and Care after relocating to South Wales from the USA in 2011. Three promotions later, he is now running Orbis Dan Y Coed.

Bob is the residential manager at Orbis’ newly opened specialist school and residential unit, which continues to welcome new learners in following a multi-million refurbishment project to create a state-of-the art care and education facility.

The school at Dan y Coed has been open since late 2017 and can educate up to 30 children. Now the residential part can house up to 20 young people and will require 120 staff to run it at full capacity.

Bob says: “I had not long moved to the UK when I saw the job with Orbis and felt I could make a positive difference in the lives of young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), so I applied to become a support worker and the rest, as they say, is history.

“After three years in the role I was promoted to team leader and then joined the clinical team as a behavioural specialist working across several Orbis sites. This, coupled with previous work experience at a similar facility back in Nashville, led me to where I am now. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Bob added: “My favourite part of all my roles within Orbis has been seeing a young person who may have been struggling with an area in their lives make remarkable progress and the fact that I helped to make that happen – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

 

Orbis Education and Care has been shortlisted for a 2019 Leading Wales Award. We are up for an ‘Inspiring Great Leadership: Organisational Award’ and couldn’t be more thrilled about it!

Members of our senior management team based at our headquarters in Cardiff will attend a ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in the city centre later this month to find out who’s won.

Mike Currier, CEO of Orbis Education and Care, said: “As a fast growing, sector leading provider of specialist services for children and adults with complex needs associated with autism, our leadership capability is pivotal to our overall success.

“The team here at Orbis works extremely hard to inspire and motivate our teams, and ensure everyone is working together towards a shared goal.”

“I’m absolutely delighted this hard work and dedication to the cause has been formally recognised by the Leading Wales Awards, and our place on this year’s shortlist,” Mike added.

“Through ongoing investment in leadership development, we remain well equipped to cultivate future leadership succession which will in turn enable us to grow and continue to provide first class care to the individuals we support.”

Our learners in Swansea took a shot at improving their health and wellbeing during a visit from footballing legend Lee Trundle.

The former striker attended a wellbeing event with the goal of helping to promote alternative coping strategies among students at Dan Y Coed.

Learners enjoyed a kick about with the Swansea City Ambassador, as well as a tai chi session and art therapy class.

Gemma Pullen, Assistant Behaviour Specialist at Dan Y Coed, said: “As exercise is a crucial part of wellbeing, and we have a couple of budding football players here who are huge Swansea City fans, we were really grateful to Lee for coming to the event, where the students thoroughly enjoyed kicking the ball around with him.

“We also use alternative therapies such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, complimentary therapy and art to teach our students and their families strategies to calm the mind and body which can also be used as distraction techniques when they may feel upset or anxious.”

Dan y Coed officially opened as a residential facility this summer following a multi-million-pound refurbishment project to turn the former outdoor pursuits centre into a state-of-the-art living space for up to 20 children.

Our Dan y Coed site has been officially opened by Swansea City Ambassadors Leon Britton and Lee Trundle.

The state-of-the-art residential facility has now been fully registered and welcomed parents, social workers and local authority commissioners to see the new multi-million-pound building.

Located in West Cross, Swansea, the school at Dan y Coed has been open since late 2017 and can educate up to 30 children.

The residential part of Dan y Coed was a former outdoor pursuits and training centre before Orbis purchased the building from Swansea Council. At full capacity, the new service will house up to 20 young people and employ around 120 staff.

Mike Currier, CEO of Orbis Education and Care, said: “At Orbis, we work hard to ensure that every child in our care is supported to enjoy their childhood in a safe environment, progressing towards a full, independent and active adult life, whatever the extent to their complex needs. We are proud to be able to provide our young people with outstanding facilities that meet those needs.”

“The position of the school and residential home is amazing. It is just a stone’s throw from the local beaches, as well as being just a short drive from Swansea itself. We are very proud of Dan y Coed and look forward to settling our first residents in very soon.”

 

Orbis has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of its first ever Chief Operating Officer, alongside a new HR Director.

Rob McKay and Linda Bridge join us as COO and HR Director respectively in a continuing period of rapid growth for the company.

Rob brings considerable experience from a range of senior care-based and educational roles to Orbis Education and Care, and holds the task of consolidating operations across a rapidly expanding portfolio of sites now held by the company in both England and Wales.

Linda will meanwhile draw on more than a decade of experience working across high-end legal and retail organisations to further promote the development of a culture where everyone is supported to fulfil their true potential, as the Orbis headcount also continues to grow.

CEO of Orbis Education and Care, Mike Currier, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Rob and Linda at what is an extremely exciting time for our company. The addition of Rob’s role as incoming Chief Operating Officer will provide key organisational support, while Linda’s acumen for all things HR will support the buy-in required to achieve these aims.”

“Each position has a pivotal role to play in the ongoing success of our organisation and we couldn’t be more delighted to have both roles filled by individuals not only with the professional expertise we need to succeed, but also with the passion and empathy required of all those working within the Orbis family as a whole.”

Orbis has been celebrating World Autism Awareness Week the Welsh way with a visit from Valleys artist Nathan Wyburn – and a special appearance from Tom-ato Jones.

Learners created a portrait of the legendary Welsh singer out of tomato sauce during a one-off creative session with the celebrated portrait artist at our Cardiff headquarters.

Students from Ty Coryton, Ty Bronllys, Summergil House and Dan y Coed joined forces during a special visit arranged by the Occupational Therapy team.

Nathan is a Fine Art graduate specialising in creating iconic celebrity portraits and ‘pop culture’ imagery with non-traditional mediums including Marmite, sugar, chocolate, baked beans and more.

The Ebbw Vale artist rose to prominence on Britain’s Got Talent with his toast-based portrait of judge Michael McIntyre, and has since won praise from Good Morning America, Blue Peter, The Guardian and more.

Lucy Pottinger, Director of Education at Orbis, said: “As well as meeting Nathan, our learners enjoyed a structured and fun learning activity, practiced their working together skills and were able to put into practice the things they had learned.

“At the heart of this activity also lies the point that art is one of the things in life which really is accessible for all – which is in turn an important part of World Autism Awareness Week.”

“We are hugely grateful to Nathan for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with our learners and support them in exploring their creative side, whilst having great fun at the same time.”

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