Category: News

Orbis Abbey Rose, our first site in England, is now open.

The Tewkesbury site welcomed in its first visitors at a special event attended by local residents, healthcare professionals and dignitaries including the Mayor of Tewskesbury Borough.

Abbey Rose will now educate and home 30 children who have complex needs associated with autism and is set to create 300 jobs in total when full, as a result.

Situated on a 17-acre site and formerly known as Southwick Park, the school and residential home has been given new life after it closed under the Cambian Group in April 2018.

Opened by its former owners in 2013 to house 40 children, Orbis Education and Care has remodelled the residential part of the school to accommodate 30 children.

Mike Currier, CEO at Orbis Education and Care, said: “Orbis Abbey Rose has some wonderful facilities and even a battlefield from the War of the Roses within its gardens – hence the name Abbey Rose – as well as extensive grounds and a sports hall, among other things.

“We are looking forward to bringing all that we’ve learned in Wales to England for the benefit of families and employees here in Gloucestershire, and are excited to finally be inviting new residents, students and staff alike in to enjoy this wonderful facility too.”

The team at Orbis Education and Care would like to send a heart-felt THANK YOU to a member of the public for their kind gesture recently. Sometimes something amazing happens that just needs to be shared:

 

Recently, Orbis residents Emma and Demi from Summergil House went on an outing to the local Small Breeds Farm and on to Pizza Hut for a meal. But when they attempted to pay for their food, their support staff were told by the Pizza Hut team that the bill had already been settled.

 

It turned out that a member of public, who happened to be out with their family at the same restaurant, were so happy that the pair were out in the community and having an amazing time that they felt the need to pay the bill without saying anything to our staff, and to this day they remain anonymous.

 

This is an amazing tale of generosity and kindness, and also a fantastic testimony to what the Orbis team do on a daily basis. We only hope that the generous soul reads this and sees our great big thanks, from everyone at Orbis.

 

THANK YOU!

Our very own Rebecca James, head of academy living here at Orbis Education and Care, has spoken to smallbusiness.co.uk about how employing someone with autism can help small businesses!

Did you know that 700 000 people in the UK are autistic? And according to statistics from the National Autistic Society, only 16 per cent of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment?

 

Helping autistic people get into work

Many autistic people have skills that are highly sought after in the workplace. They are often experts in specific topics, as they are passionate about subjects that interest them. They are methodical, brilliant researchers, pay considerable attention to detail and are highly productive. So, why aren’t more autistic people in paid employment?

It may be that employers lack awareness about what autistic people can offer. Or they may not have the right support network in place for autistic employees. It’s something Orbis is working hard to address.

Read the full story from Ben Lobel at www.smallbusiness.co.uk 

Simon Drinkwater has joined Orbis Education and Care as our new HR Director! Simon brings considerable experience from a range of senior HR roles, across healthcare and financial services most recently, and has been brought in to head up a forward thinking people and cultural agenda in support of the organisation’s continuing growth.

2017 was a year of considerable growth for us here at Orbis – with the opening of three new schools and, coupled with the acquisition of Bangeston Autism Care Services, more than 200 new staff were recruited into the business.


Here’s what CEO Mike Currier had to say:

“We are thrilled to welcome Simon to the Orbis family. Simon has spent a number of years in healthcare and has a solid understanding of the challenges we face in our day to day roles.

“The past year has been a massive time of growth for the business and Simon has joined us at a pivotal time of development and evolution.”

Simon_Drinkwater_Orbis_Education_HR

On joining us at Orbis, Simon said: “It’s great to be back in the care sector at a really exciting time and with such an ambitious organisation and leadership team. Orbis is opening new facilities in and around Wales and I am looking forward to  working with my colleagues build upon the great foundations in place, to recruit and retain the best people in Wales to support the children and adults in our care, whilst making Orbis an even better place to work and develop a career.”

Welcome aboard Simon!

Pupils from Brecon’s  Ty Bronllys and Summergil House have been rolling up their sleeves and helping with litter picking at Pwll y Wrach as part of their Eco School project.

Children from the schools have been working with volunteers at Brecnock Wildlife Trust to clear moss and generally clean up the Pwll y Wrach nature reserve, which is very popular with walkers and families.


Head of Education at Summergil House, Rachel Hackling, said: “We got in touch with the team at Brecnock Wildlife Trust earlier this year to see if we could work around the Trust area to help us achieve our bronze and Silver Eco  school status, where we help the wider community with environmental issues.
“It is very important that our children get to experience what it is like to work in the real world, as many of them have challenging behaviour and learning difficulties and so we jumped at the chance for them to learn new skills on the job.”
Rachel added: “The conservation officers agreed that we could help and we got cracking straight away. It has been great for the children and they have already received compliments on how much nicer the area around Pwll y Wrach is since we started working there.”


“Working in real life situations really helps the children to interact with the outside world and you can see them brim with confidence as they are given compliments on their work. It is great to see.”
Stephanie Coates, conservation officer at Brecnock Wildlife Trust, said: “We have worked closely with Rachel at Summergil House to find an activity which would be suitable for the children and it was great to see them all mucking in and cleaning up a very popular area.
“As an organisation we are resource poor, so it was great when Rachel approached us to help. The children have been cleaning interpretation panels as well as picking up litter and generally clearing up. Pwll y Wrach is a popular area – but with more people comes more litter and so having Ty Bronllys and Summergil House along to help us has been great.”
As well as maintaining the good work they have already carried out at Pwll y Wrach, the children will be moving on to help screw in Waymarker discs on trails in the coming weeks!

Dan y Coed, a new specialist school for children and young people is officially opening its doors this week in the West Cross area of Swansea.

The former outdoor-pursuits centre will see the fully redesigned state-of-the-art school open its doors to up to 20 pupils. The third and final phase of the site’s development will see a residential area open up to 20 children who require on-site overnight care and support.

The school currently offers places for day pupils from the age of five, whilst residential placements will be available for children aged between eight and nineteen. Children will be able to attend Dan y Coed daily for education only or as a resident during term time or for 52 weeks of the year.

We hope to have the school and its residential arm fully open by Autumn 2018.

Here’s what Orbis CEO Mike Currier had to say:

“We are thrilled to see the doors at Dan y Coed opening and welcoming children into the school. Our model of education is sector-leading as children learn from a flexible curriculum which is tailored to their individual needs as well as their interests and aspirations. Our 40-week academic year with just two-week’s break in the Summer means that our year is structured entirely for children who appreciated structure and routine.”

As well as education and care, Dan y Coed will offer a wide range of in-house clinical services from Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy to Positive Behavioural Support and psychology. Our aim is to get children engaged in education so they can make a positive and active contribution to the school and the local community.

Our latest residential service for adults, Ty Seren, has opened in Gowerton, Swansea. Located just a few miles from both Swansea and Llanelli, Ty Seren comprises four self-contained sole occupancy flats and a four-bed home.

It can accommodate up to eight adults with a range of complex needs, ensuring they are offered a living environment that works for them.


As with all of our services, Ty Seren offers an award-winning model that combines care, therapeutic support and continuous learning. Skills are learned, practiced and reinforced at all times, with person-centred planning designed to keep adults active, engaged and working towards their greater independence.

We pride ourselves on giving students and residents as much independence as possible as well as helping them gain skills and accreditations along the way, so they can make a positive and active contribution to their local community.


The residents at Ty Seren can also access the dedicated work and life-skills day service called The Orb. The Orb provides a range of real-life working environments where young people and adults with autism can gain hands-on experience in the world of work on a supported basis. It is a shop, a cafe, an office, a laundry and a kitchen.

It offers continuous learning, a transitional stepping-stone for school leavers, a source of valuable experience for those who have already left school and an alternative to a residential specialist college placement.

We’re opening a new state-of-the-art residential home for adults in West Aberthaw, Vale of Glamorgan!

The 12-bed service offers a transition for adults who have left full time education, as well as those who are learning to live more independently. The facility is arranged across a series of grade II listed stone barns and is a flagship service for us here at Orbis.


Here’s what our CEO Mike Currier had to say:

“Ty Carreg is a wonderful addition to our adult services. We saw the site and knew we had to have it, as it provides a beautiful environment and home. It is custom designed for the needs of its residents and staff to ensure they get the best experience whilst living and developing at Ty Carreg.

“We also invite our adult residents to access The Orb in Porth, Rhondda, which is a shop, café, kitchen, office and a laundry on the town’s high street. The Orb provides a range of real-life working environments for continuous learning, a transitional stepping-stone for school leavers, a source of valuable experience for those who have already left school and an alternative to a residential specialist college placement.”

 

Orbis interior

 

Ty Carreg was developed by X-Stream Developments, which is owned by former All Black and Cardiff Blues captain Xavier Rush.

Xavier said: “Working with Orbis has been a unique experience, with every room on site custom made for the needs of its residents. Breathing life back into these beautiful old buildings has been very rewarding!”

Find out more about Ty Carreg here.

Tuesday 13th Sept is Roald Dahl Day and to celebrate what would have been the great writer’s 100th birthday, BBC 1 Wales is broadcasting an episode of Great Welsh Writers about his childhood where he grew up in Cardiff.

The eagle-eyed among you may recognise some of Ty Coryton’s nooks and crannies in this special programme, as the BBC production team came along to film some of the original architectural features in order to re-create the home that Roald Dahl grew up in. Keep your eyes peeled at 10:40pm on BBC One Wales on Tues 13th September!

Click the image for a BBC programme description.

Following recent news in which a family was asked to leave a North Wales pub for bringing pre-prepared food for their 4-year old autistic son, Rachel Hackling was invited to comment in a live radio interview with the family.

Click to listen.

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