We’ve had a busy few months so far at Halas.



Si+224e17042812170_0001aHalas Homes Supported Employment project has been successful in helping people with a learning disability to gain employment and volunteering opportunities. We have helped support one young man to successfully gain full time employment.  We have a volunteer working in Coffee Cups who will be starting an apprenticeship very soon. Sophie, our job coach, has been busy helping people learn how to travel independently as well as supporting many other clients who wish to seek employment possibilities.

Recently one of Halas Supported Employment jobseekers had the opportunity to interview Local MP James Morris about a marathon that he recently ran in London to raise money for Halas Homes. Sean prepared his questions and interviewed James Morris at his surgery in Halesowen.  Sean did a great job and there is a link here followed by the interview which Sean devised himself:  https://youtu.be/_XLnqPLasp8

Sean & James

Interview Questions James Morris. 20th July 2018

  • What training did you have to do for the London marathon?

My average run was around 10k, so doing the London marathon was a challenge. I started training a little bit at a time and building myself up.  I did a half marathon in March.  This was 13.1 miles and took me 2 hours 12 minutes.  When I started increasing the miles I got up to 18 miles, I started to struggle with tendonitis and was told to rest so this set me back a little.  I was determined to do the race and complete it.

  • How many hours a week did you train?

I would train up to 6 hours a week, with about 3 half hours on running. I like to go to the gym as well.

  • Are you happy with the time that you completed the marathon in?

No not really. I completed it in 6 hours my aim was 5 ½.  The day was very hot but the organisers were prepared and there was lots of water available and showers along the route.  I feel I started off too quick and burnt myself out.  At one point I was over taken by a rhino….haha.

  • Are you keeping up your training?

Yes. I enjoy playing cricket, so I am keeping up my fitness through the running.  I am a batsman so have to run between the wickets fast.  I have recently done the Black Country Road race which was 10k and took me 55 minutes.

  • Have you got any other events planned?

Yes. I have signed up for the Birmingham ½ marathon in November this year and next year I am going to do the London marathon.

  • How did you hear about Halas Homes?

I have been the MP for Halesowen for the last 9 years but have known Alison the CEO of Halas Homes for around 10 years. From around 2008 I have visited Halas Homes when they have had open days, which has been a pleasure.

  • Why did you choose to do a marathon to raise money for Halas Homes?

I wanted to do something different and support my local community. I wanted to challenge myself.  I knew Halas Homes and the work that they do so decided to raise money for them.  I did some publicity work with Halas homes which included having their name on my running shirt.  I raised just over £3200 which I am pleased about.

If you would like any information regarding this project, please contact:

Sarah Roper

Community Engagement Officer, Halas Supported Employment

Tel: 0121 550 8778/07376 497324

Email: sarah.roper@halashomes.co.uk

Coffee Cups LogoWe would like to take the opportunity to thank Seth Somers and DPD for their generous donations which has enabled the refurbishment of Coffee Cups. which is a Social Enterprise Community Coffee Shop that provides work opportunities in collaboration with our Employment Project. Thank you also to staff from the Natwest Bank who gave up a couple of hours of their time to help promote the re-opening and delivered leaflets to the local community.  We hope you will visit.

Our newly refurbed coffee shop

Birmingham Rep logo

Early in 2017 we were told about an amazing opportunity which was a brand new large-scale production featuring over 100 participants from the local community. This production was going to be staged at the Birmingham Rep.

After attending an audition at the Birmingham Hippodrome we were excited to be told we had been successful and were given a schedule of rehearsals over several months. So, by being a part of this people with leaning disabilities showed how talented they are and were a part of a richly diverse cast.  Everyone in the cast w rote their thought down about being a part of this wonderful event.




The show was a great success …………………………………

After many months of rehearsals, the day arrived and Woyzeck was a reality.

We had some wonderful feedback ………

“From the moment they step on stage the community cast is ALIVE and their enthusiasm is infectious”
#BrumHour saw Woyzeck at @BirminghamRep part of @BhamDanceFest until Sat 23rd June. Read more here:…
#Birmingham https://t.co/AgHwXwsEkS
brumhour.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/woyzeck-at-birmingham-rep/ … #Birmingham

One of the members of Dance Unity has written about her experience of being involved with Woyzeck

“On Sunday 6th May Dance Unity met at Halas.  We were going to The Birmingham Rep.  We were really scared and excited.

When we got there, we met Nicole. She told us about the play.  We were performing a show called Woyzeck.  Then we met all the other cast.

We went to the Rep every Sunday and some extra practises.

When we did the show we were really scared. The other people put us at ease.  They were really kind.

We loved performing with new people.”


As part of Dudley Disability Service, Dance Unity were asked to perform at Dudley College. As usual their interpretation of dance and Makaton sign language had the audience in tears.

A very clever mix of signing and dance by Dance unity from @HalasHomes to launch Dudley Disability Service”

No matter how many times I see @HalasHomes Dance Unity I am always completely drawn in by the energy, joy and talent! Perfect to be part of the Dudley Disability Service launch @dudleymbc

The fabulous Dance Unity from @HalasHomes bringing the event to an end, showing how by bringing services together and putting people in the centre of their own lives can only empower them. It’s all about what you CAN do.”

@HalasHomes every time the tears come, such powerful interpretations using dance and sign.”

On Wednesday 11th July Dance Unity went to perform at Dudley College and a member of Dance Unity who performed wrote about her experience.

“Along with Hayley and her girls we performed in 4 dances.

We enjoyed meeting all the people there and made lots of new friends.

I love my dancing – it’s my life!”


Since the Autumn of 2017 we have again been working with local school children from St Margaret’s of Hasbury primary in preparation of the judging days in July and August for Halesowen in Bloom. We are hoping the town gets another gold this year.  Members of the Meeting Place made a button covered mushroom which light up in the dark #bloomin’ marvellous.

Do you see what I see logo

We have a very innovative arts project on the go at the moment call “Do you see what I see”.  We are so pleased to have some great professional artists working with us.  So far we have produced art work from paints and we have just started working with clay.  We are linking with Halesowen College and will be spending time developing the project with students from the college.  There will be a performance element with this project.

Members of the art project held a session to discuss and design a logo design which you can see on the left.

This project will be ongoing and there will be a curated tour which will be on tour to allow people in the community to consider “Do you see what I see”. If anyone has somewhere they would like this exhibition to be placed please contact Libby at Halas Homes who will communicate with the project co-ordinator.

These are some of our art work from a session Animals at the Zoo.


THSH logo

Halas Homes Sing & Sign have been performing all over the place of late. Dance Unity Sing & Signjoined them at the Birmingham Symphony Hall for Celebrating Family Carers. Community Spirit is again a family inclusive project and Sing and Sign performed to a full house at Birmingham Symphony Hall.  Learning Disability week provided yet another opportunity,  Sign and Sign performed at Birmingham University and also on stage at Black Country Day in Dudley Town Centre (we were also on the BBC Midlands News on the same day).



We like to think that at Halas Homes we offer a wide range of opportunities for people with a learning disability to lead an active life and this newsletter provides a flavour of some of the things that have taken place recently.

Peter Taylor, from Inclusive Films and Nick Fogg, from Piece of String Films have produced a film called Ageing Well with Learning Disabilities. This is a fabulous demonstration of how to live life to the full.


But as always it has to be said that without the support of all staff the opportunity for service users to have positive outcomes are only possible with a committed and caring team of staff.

We’ve had a busy few months so far at Halas.

It’s all go, go go

It’s all go, go, go

Over 150 people joined us in rockin’ Benjamin’s on Sunday 29th October at our Music Show.  Thank you to everyone who supported us to make this an amazing night.

Our attention is now being turned towards Christmas and we are preparing for our Christmas play, which has already sold out.

Other Upcoming Christmas events include:

If you would like to book tickets for the Town Hall event please click on the link below.


 Our Christmas elves will be on sale at our Christmas fayres on 2nd and 8th December for £8.00 each or 2 for £15.00

What a fantastic year our gardening club has had working alongside Halesowen in Bloom on various projects, including helping to win a Gold Award in the regional Britain in Bloom awards.

They have also been working hard on our allotment and we would like to thank Mick Poultney for all his help and expertise this year.

This week we are looking forward to attending the Colley Gate Gardening Club AGM where we will see all our friends.

Coffee Cups……….Coffee Cups Logo

continues to be a great community coffee shop and a lot of hard work has gone into the community garden. Thank you to everyone who continues to weed, water and generally takes time to stop and ‘smell the flowers’.



Our Supported Employment goes from strength to strength. We are very pleased to congratulate Zoe, our first job seeker to gain paid employment. Watch this space!



Thank you to St Margaret’s at Hasbury Primary School for inviting us to join in their Remembrance Service on Monday 13th November at St Margaret’s Church where we laid the wreath we had made.

julie with poppy

We were busy recently selling the poppies we made to raise money for the Royal British Legion.  We raised an incredible £205.00!



It’s all go, go go

Sing & Sign at Selfridges, Birmingham

On Saturday 12th August the Halas Homes sing and sign choir were invited to perform in the Birmingham Bull Ring Selfridges department store.


The event was a great success and shoppers and staff were treated to some unexpected entertainment and lessons in signing from our fabulous choir leader Glynis.

Thank you so much to Charlotte, Rose, Chris and the stores General Manager Sam for your hospitality and making us so welcome, our choir members said they felt like star’s. Looking forward to performing for you all again soon.

My favourite ever day at #SelfridgesBirmingham – thank you @THSHBirmingham for bringing the Sing and Sign choir to us.”

The best feeling seeing an entire store join @HalasHomes Sing & Sign Choir @Selfridges @THSHBirmingham #musicmatters #selfridgesbirmingham


Sing & Sign at Selfridges, Birmingham

“It was about the journey not Machu Picchu itself”!

img_2794aWhat started out as a personal challenge to push my physical limits quickly turned into much more when I decided it would be good to put my efforts to good use by helping with Halas Homes’ plans to create a bespoke dementia garden adding to the funds raised by our incredible staff and residents during a Memory Walk they took part in during September.

Working in social care is not ever easy particularly now with austerity, black holes, living wage and more expected for less; there has never been a time where we have to be more creative, energized, pro-active, accepting to change and positive, whilst always keeping the vision in mind of where we are going.

It is many years since I backpacked and climbing Machu Picchu proved to be a physical and psychological challenge where the re-inforcement of qualities of patience and acceptance had to be at the forefront of my thinking

On a grey damp morning (accompanied by Paddington Bear who was returning to deepest, darkest Peru with me) I departed from Heathrow with a stack of inspirational notes written by staff and friends and a promise to everyone that I would complete this trek as long as altitude sickness didn’t prevent me.

I had in my mind the end point which was me standing on the famous photographed point of Machu Picchu and, although I had purchased all necessary attire (in particular a camelbak to ensure I drank copious amount of water), I hadn’t really had chance to study the trip. As anyone who works in social care knows however much your to-do list is up to date competing agendas always arise. It doesn’t matter how determined I am to finish my last day before annual leave there is always just one more opportunity which must be taken in order to continually drive the organisation forward.

After my third flight I checked into a hostel in Cuzco to acclimatise with my new found buddies with whom I was to spend 4 days trekking. The top bunk was difficult to get into but we were all in the same boat – feeling sick, tired and lacking co-ordination and concentration and this soon broke down social barriers between me (a baby boomer) and 5 millennials.

The Inca trail was to be 4 days trekking and I was shocked with my body on the first day. My legs wouldn’t work as quickly as I was used to and the altitude had a profound effect on my respiratory system. I knew I was the eldest in the group but found it hard to accept that I was not at the front of the group and, although the mind was willing, my body held me back; my breathing was laboured and I knew I had to listen. Yoga came to mind and the importance of listening to your body and acceptance. The guide asked me why people came to his country to rush the journey without looking at its beauty and I realized he was telling me it is ok to be at my own pace on my own journey and after all isn’t it me who is always telling myself ‘DON’T FORGET TO STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS’

That night I bedded down next to a running stream and watched the stars in a night sky unspoilt by light pollution and this overrode the unspeakable toileting of our first night’s camp.

Day Two took us to Dead Woman’s Pass which was the highest point being 4,200 metres and never more did I listen to my body and accept that I needed to walk slowly and deliberately without stopping. If I stopped it was like starting the motor of a car up again on a cold morning when the car moves a 5mph and chugs along. The trick for me was to continue with determination and grit and walk at a pace which although annoyingly slow would get me there! Once again I reflected on yoga practice and especially acceptance. During training sessions at Halas Homes staff are put in situations where they experience what it is like to be disabled or partially sighted; to sit in a hoist or wheelchair needing personal assistance. Walking up Machu Picchu put my mind to thinking how I would be when aged and using a stick and being unable to push my body due to frailty.img-20161205-wa0003

This brought home to me how our training in values and culture here at Halas is so important in helping us to experience and better understand situations from the viewpoint of the those that are dependent on our care and support.

It was enlightening walking with such an interesting group of people who had different reasons and journeys in life directing them to the trek and this made the experience more interesting.

Eventually on Day 4 after 3 long and arduous days we arose at 4.30am ready to admire the wonderful sunrise over the mountains to Machu Picchu. Sadly however the clouds are low and the view is mystical if not bright and clear. We continued our journey to our ultimate goal and the rain and damp ensured that we tread carefully and methodically. I had been told of the last push of high steps and, as I clambered up (on all fours) with the weight of my back pack bearing down on me, I was so excited to reach the last step. The view was not as I had envisioned for my yearned photograph and yet it didn’t matter. There we all stood – a group of people who I had not known previously but with whom I had been through so much and discussed, laughed and analysed much about life with. The realisation came that the journey with this group of tremendous young people had been what this had been all about. Not only had I learnt yet again the importance of patience and acceptance I had made new connections without email, iphone, ipads, Facebook or twitter but by ‘being’ by ‘listening’ by accepting our differences and our similarities.


So what started off as a personal journey to a final destination ended up with 5 new friends, 4 days trekking, altitude sickness, several nose bleeds, unspeakable toilets, an ascent of 4,200metres in 30 degree heat with coca leaves for altitude sickness and a feeling that essentially we all are pulled to nature which nurtures us, feeds our souls and teaches us so much about ourselves.



I asked the group to send me thoughts on what they had learnt from this trip; they were all so positive and energizing but the two which sum it up all so well and can be applied to each of us were “We need to get out of our comfort zones every now and then”’ and “We can learn and grow from every situation presented to us”.

I had a fantastic experience and so far have raised over £1,700 for our dementia garden and, although I doubt it’s going to get any easier in social care, it has been a positive experience to roll back the years and remember to always keep in mind that youthful feeling when anything seems possible ………….




“It was about the journey not Machu Picchu itself”!

Look at us!!!!!

We were very proud to have been a part of and to perform at the 3rd Sector Care Awards held in London in December 2015.  The response to Dance Unity’s performances was amazing and they wrote as follows:  “Showcasing what the event aims to achieve, the winners of 2014’s Creative Arts Award, Halas Homes, concluded the ceremony with a powerful dance performance which left Dame Esther in tears. This emotive and inspiring finale from Dance Unity, an integrated dance troupe comprising trained dancers and people with learning disabilities, served as a poignant reminder of why everyone in the room strives for excellence on a daily basis”.

 Care Management Magazine’s link below.


 Dance Unity   Dance Unity (21)

   Dance Unity and Esther

 Poppy Appealjulie with poppy

We started the New Year with a cheque presentation to the Royal British Legion from the sale of our hand made poppies. Liz Keenan, Poppy Appeal Organizer, came and visited us at the Day Centre and stayed awhile to listen to our Music Club.





Coffee Cups are starting a new Luncheon clubCoffee Cups Logo



 Well done to Coffee Cups on obtaining a Gold Star for Healthy Eating Awareness from the Food Standards Agency; this is a brilliant achievement.

Dignity Day                        

Dignity Day logo

What a fantastic day we had when Sarah Offley from DVC and her co presenters who attend The Meeting Place at Halas gave a presentation on ‘What its like to be me’. This allowed an audience from the wider community and also members of staff to listen and have an understanding of how some people with learning disabilities feel about themselves.

We had a talk about our Reiki sessions that we have been holding at Halas and also a music quiz which was won by the Green Team. To add to the day there was a pamper table and a memory table with loads of photos for residents, clients and family members to reminisce about.

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National Care Home Open Day 2016


The National Care Home Open Day is on Friday 17th June and this year’s theme is ‘Celebration’.  Keep you eyes peeled for more information on our blog, twitter and Facebook page.


Halesowen in Bloom


We have been to Halesowen again recently to plant some more bulbs and keep an eye on our adopted plot.


Health and Wellbeing continues despite the wintry season First picture

 It may be winter outside but in our hearts its spring but we still continue with our walking and exercise classes and thanks to Laura from Dudley Rowing Club we are able to have rowing sessions in our Day Centre.


We are trying to get and keep kit for the Black Country Fun Run on Sunday 3rd July.




 Our allotment group have had a fantastic meeting with local schools and community warriors this week and have some amazing ideas for an eco project.

Volunteers have kindly been looking after our off site allotment and watered the cabbage and lettuce as well as pruning the grape vine.


 “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

 We were very pleased to welcome artist Jason Wilsher-Mills to the Day Centre. Our clients enjoyed a day of drawing and colouring using iPads.



A group of us visited Jason last year and we really appreciate him taking the time to visit us.

These are some thoughts from members who joined in with the art class:

“Never seen anything like it, I thought it was amazing.”

 “The nice man showed me how to do a picture using the tablet, enjoyed learning something different.”

 “Great, never used a computer before, my picture was great. I want to do it again.”



Halas Homes Sing & Sign choir are proud to be part of Community Spirit, Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 22nd May 2016 



Please support us and come along to this great event at The Symphony Hall on 22nd May.

Look at us!!!!!


Our day centre provides opportunities for members to showcase talents and December was no exception.

December 9th – Dance Unity performed at 3rd Sector Care Awards in London.  The audience were very receptive and made us very welcome. (See links)

https://youtu.be/_w44zcZAKLY    Uptown Funk

https://youtu.be/zbnou0fpxVg    I’m only human

Launch of video re ageing well

Health and wellbeing is something we continually promote and we were pleased to see such a brilliant video put together by BILD and Dr Peter Taylor featuring Halas Homes



ASC Dudley (@AscDudley)
22/12/2015 22:35

Brilliant video -ageing well and people with learning disabilities in Dudley @BILD @HalasHomes @CoffeeCupsHalas wp.me/p3LWoN-34F

 6th December – Salvation Army

 We had a great turn out to our annual carol concert and it was great to have the Mayor and Mayoress of Dudley join us and sing at this ever popular event.

Salvation Army logo

 13th December Celebrating Carers at Christmas

We had a great time performing at the Celebrating Carers at Christmas concert held at the Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday 13th December.  It was a great honour to be performing with the prestigious musicians of the Metropolitan Brass Quintet.

16th December Carols in the Cornbow

 Once again we were joined by Lutley Primary School for singing and signing carols in the Cornbow in Halesowen.

“Thank you @HalasHomes & @LutleyPrimary for singing & signing @Cornbow today, over £100 raised for Halesowen In Bloom “

16th December Bulb Planting   Si+22415091811570_0001

Halesowen in Bloom asked Halas to help out and we were happy to oblige. Residents went into Halesowen and helped plant spring bulbs on the grass verge outside St Johns Church.

18th December Christingle at St Margaret’s

We welcomed pupils from St Margaret’s School who joined us at the Meeting Place to make Christingles ready for their Christmas service.

photo (16)

We also attended the Christingle service where we watched the children perform their Nativity play and lit our candles during the service.


23rd December – The Limes

Our Sing and Sign group performed Christmas songs at The Limes Nursing Home

Christmas Fayre

Thank you to everyone who attended our Christmas Fayre and helped to make it a success raising £234.00.

 24th December – Christmas Pantomime

A lot of talented staff and service users were busy designing, creating and performing to delighted audiences.”

After many weeks of hard work the annual production came to life. Staff and service users really showcased their talents and creativity and this year the production was Shrek Saves Christmas.

Chris Johnson“Lots of smiles and laughter this morning at @HalasHomes as we look forward to Christmas day. Well done all.”



Our production of ‘Shrek Saves Christmas’ went down a storm at our Christmas Eve celebrations.

The performers and audience all enjoyed themselves. Even Father Christmas made time in his very busy schedule to pay us a visit to hand out some presents.


 Coffee Cups – Coffee Cups logo

December was very busy in Coffee Cups with Roz’s Christmas cakes being a firm favourite again this year.

We would like to thank everyone who had Christmas lunches or parties throughout the festive season.

Coffee Cups.png


During January:

Si+224e16010713510_0001 We will also be holding another Social Media training course on Thursday 10th March 2016.


 A reminder, if you are wanting to keep fit and also help a good cause for 2016 why not join us .

Fun Run 4

 Looking forward to Spring  Spring-Flowers-Wallpaper-18


 We have some amazing volunteers who have tended to our allotment during the Christmas break. They have watered the cabbages and lettuce in the poly tunnel during the Christmas break.  They have also put down black sheeting on the beds to restrict weed growth and help keep the soil warm ready for spring planting.