Whitehaven Respite Unit has received the Makaton Friendly award for its outstanding work and good practice in the use of Makaton.
The Unit, which is part of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, is a facility for children and young people with learning disabilities. It has a full Makaton programme: pictures and symbols throughout the unit, weekly staff meetings dedicating 15 minutes to signing, handover shifts where staff include Makaton signing, and communication packages tailored for each child or young adult. Staff, schools, parents and carers are all working together to make sure that signs and symbols are being used correctly.
This is only the ninth Makaton award to be presented in Northern Ireland. It is the first Makaton Friendly award to be presented to any respite unit within the five health and social care trusts. Of the other eight awards, seven have been presented to the voluntary sector and one to an adult centre in the Southern Trust. It is also the very first Makaton award given to any department within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
Well done to Lynne Campbell, Team Manager, Bernie Taylor, Team Leader, and her staff in working so hard to achieve such a high standard and receiving this award. It clearly shows how dedicated the team have been over the past 16 months. It was a pleasure to work with such a committed staff team who were so enthusiastic about the Makaton programme. This can only be good for the children and families you serve.
Grant Wetherall is a Senior Social Worker & Makaton Regional Tutor