Charity and Community

Discover the powerful impact of Empowering U’s involvement with charities, communities, sponsorships, and partnerships. Learn how our collaborative efforts are shaping a brighter future for those in need

Crash Pad: Pioneering Hospital Admission Avoidance

By Articles, Charity and Community

Empowering U’s Crash Pad was recently showcased in an ITV News investigation, highlighting the need for hospital admission avoidance strategies to reduce the number of adults, living with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), being institutionalised as in-patients.

Pioneering Hospital Avoidance Strategies

ITV News recently aired an investigation, shedding light on the vital issue of adults living with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder and the need for hospital avoidance strategies. The investigation centres around the pioneering partnership between Empowering U and Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHNFT). Together, we are dedicated to offering community-based support to help individuals living with learning disabilities and ASD avoid institutionalisation.

Empowering U’s collaboration with the BCHNFT has made significant strides in supporting those living with learning disabilities and ASD. Rather than institutionalisation and hospitalisation, Empowering U provide empathetic, community-led support through our experienced care team to ensure every individual receives the highest level of care.

Industry Leading Solutions: The Crash Pad and Emergency Response Team

In 2021, the community Transforming Care Partnership (TCP) team was created to provide care within service users’ homes or within their usual care settings. The Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHNFT) partnered with Empowering U to create the ‘Crash Pad’ in June 2023, which provides an intense, short-term, safe, and supportive haven for TCP clients. While the Crash Pad is a short-term solution, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) is committed to providing long-term support.

Additionally, Empowering U provides valuable support and advice to the TCP/ERT through a proactive “eyes-on” approach, effectively minimising hospital admissions. This collaboration to provide support and advice has played a significant role in the development of this partnership with the BCHNFT, to create the Crash Pad.

From January to March 2024, Empowering U has supported 24 individuals through the Crash Pad. This short-term solution provides alternative options for adults, living with learning disabilities and / or autism spectrum disorder, who are at threat of hospital admission.

The length of support and stay is as unique to an individual as their needs and can range from a few days up to a few weeks. This pioneering approach offers a secure environment, away from home and mental health units, where local people can receive effective treatment. The aim is to identify and address behavioural and mental health issues whilst allowing individuals to retain their independence.

Personal Stories: Transforming Lives

“I have been ignored whilst having a meltdown, stepped over, and walk past. I felt very distressed a lot of the time, isolated and lost because there wasn’t the staff there to support me and make me feel better. As I was having a meltdown, they didn’t understand so they just sedated me”

Daisy, a Crash Pad service user living with autism.

Empowering U and the Crash Pad have provided Daisy with the community-based support she required. Prior to using the Crash Pad, Daisy’s meltdowns would often result in her being sedated. Through Empowering U and Crash Pad support, Daisy is now able to live a happy and independent life.

“When in the community, I’m just me. I’m just being myself and I don’t feel like just a number. I feel like who I am”.

Through the support of Empowering U Care Manager, Andrea Welsh, Daisy has been able to enjoy freedom and fulfilling her needs by showering, cooking, and going to the shop independently.

“Our goal is to offer a holistic approach to care by creating a comfortable and calm atmosphere in our crash pads. Situated on a quiet street, opposite our day centre in Willenhall, we understand that we cannot prevent every admission. Therefore, we also utilise our crash pads to support hospitals in addressing their bed waiting lists as well as”.

Andrea, Care Manager at Empowering U.

Supporting Hospital Systems: The Role of Empowering U

The collaborative approach of the Empowering U and BCHNFT partnership focuses on delivering individualised 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 support along with comprehensive care for individuals living with a learning disability or ASD. Understanding the constraints faced by NHS Mental Health Units (MHU), the Crash Pad aims to identify and address the specific needs and requirements of each individual.

When contacted, Empowering U promptly travel to the emergency departments throughout the West Midlands to assist in transporting to the Crash Pad and providing support for. The Crash Pad effectively minimises the occurrence of out-of-context mimicry and repetitiveness behaviour in service-users. This is not characteristic of their normal behaviour which may be presented during their admission in hospitals.

The importance of Empowering U’s Mental Health Team cannot be understated and, in conjunction with the Crash Pad, works to provide comprehensive clinical care. The ultimate aim is to provide a robust support system that is specific to an individual’s, enabling personal transformation and recognising the uniqueness of every patient’s journey.

📹 Check out our ITV News segment here!

Headway Nottingham: Fundraising to Stop the Closure

By Charity and Community, News

Since re-opening after the pandemic, Headway Nottingham is at risk of closing down. The fantastic charity supports individuals who have sustained a brain injury and is also full of volunteers who have sustained a brain injury.

Our fantastic Divisional Director, Andi Williams (CMgr FCMI), is taking on the challenge of 9 hours of High-intensity Interval Training (HITT) at two local gyms to raise money for Headway Nottingham.

With a target of £1000, Andi’s JustGiving page can be found here.

Below, Andi talks about this fundraiser.

The Fundraiser

I’ll be completing an upcoming fundraising event that holds immense significance for the local community and myself personally. Headway Nottingham, a vital organisation providing support and rehabilitation for brain injury survivors, is at risk of closing its doors due to financial challenges. In response, we are rallying together to raise funds and ensure the continuation of their invaluable services.
Headway Nottingham has been a beacon of hope for individuals and families affected by brain injuries. They offer various services that empower survivors to rebuild their lives, including therapy, counselling, educational programs, and social initiatives. Their dedicated team has made a tangible difference in countless lives, fostering recovery, and promoting independence. Unfortunately, the financial strain caused by recent circumstances threatens to shut down this remarkable organisation.

Andi’s Personal Connection

On my 18th birthday, I went away with friends to Torquay. During this break a freak accident occurred which resulted in me ending up in a coma. I remained in a hospital in Hereford for some time, after having emergency surgery to remove a bleed on the brain. After this, I was transferred to Dudley Road in Birmingham and eventually discharged to a Headway service in Longbridge. Headway supported me during my rehabilitation and helped me recover from what was a serious accident, so Headway holds a special place for me.

That is part of the reason I enjoy working at Empowering U. We provide support and care to people who have suffered catastrophic injuries, ABI, and head injuries through our case management and our care delivery.

The Fundraising Plan

I’m gearing up for a mega-challenge that will require a lot of stamina. I’ll be completing HIIT classes at Orangetheory Fitness Nottingham & Derby.

9 hours of training and burning through around 6000 calories! (Just to give you an idea, that’s nearly double what I burned running an ultra-marathon on 26th November 2023!)

We’re also hosting a bake sale at our office in Pride Park, Derby. Shannon, our tremendous baker, will be creating some amazing cakes for the event and all the money we raise is going towards the fundraising target of £1000.

Andrew Williams to take on a ultra-marathon for BBC Children In Need 

By Charity and Community, News

Our East Midlands, Lincolnshire & Yorkshire branch’s Head of Operations, Andrew Williams, is taking on a ultra-marathon around Shipley Country Park, Derbyshire on 26th November to raise money for BBC Children in Need. Andi has set up a Just Giving page with a target of £500. 

Out of work, Andi can be found pushing himself in aid of others. 10 years ago, he ran in the London Marathon for Mencap, and he jumped 3,500 feet from the ground doing a Static Line Parachute Jump.  

I wouldn’t class myself as an adrenaline junkie” mentions Andi. “Ever since I have read Can’t Hurt Me and Never Finished by David Goggins, I’ve wanted to push and to find out more about myself. I’m always in the gym and enjoy HIIT sessions, recently I’ve started doing 10k on the treadmills to get ready for the 50k around Shipley Park. 

Andi not only limits himself to running marathons and jumping out of planes, but he’s also found UWCB (Ultra White-Collar Boxing) raising money for Cancer Research UK, Wolf Run Autumn and Winter for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Special Care Baby Units, Foremarke Hall Triathlon as well as Tough Mudder. 

We all wish Andi huge congratulations for what he’s achieved as well as luck for the 50k ultra-marathon for BBC Children in Need! 

You can visit Andi’s Just Giving Page: 


Empowering U are Proud Supporters of IRCM

By Charity and Community, News

We are pleased to announce that Empowering U are now proud supporters of IRCM (Institute of Registered Case Managers). The IRCM is a not-for-profit organisation whose role will be to safeguard the users of case management services:

  • Through setting standards for the case manager practice
  • Through publishing a public register of people who meet requirements and commit to practising in line with IRCM standards
  • Through providing a process through which concerns can be reported, and then investigating and taking action where registered case managers do not meet IRCM standards

Currently in the set-up phase, we look forward to seeing the IRCM become an accredited body and allowing our case managers to become IRCM accredited.

Director Nicola Protheroe-Jones appointed Governor of Black Country NHS Foundation Trust

By Charity and Community, News

Empowering U Director and Head of Services, Nicola Protheroe-Jones, has been re-appointed as a Governor of Black Country NHS Foundation Trust. Nicola has already completed a 3-year stint in the role, and this further 3-year tenure is a testament to the positive impact that she has had.

Nicola brings to the role over 30 years’ nursing experience, as well as the expertise and experience gained as a Director of Empowering U.

“As a Governor, I’m involved in a multitude of activities as part of my role. Whilst attendance at Board Meetings is a key part of it, I’m also involved in monitoring aspects of patient care, which includes spot checks on wards and monitoring processes to ensure positive patient progress and outcomes” explains Nicola.

“It’s important that I adopt a hands-on approach to the role, which can (if required) involve challenging and holding to account Trust executives.”

Most recently, Nicola met with Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive and Tom Cahill, National Director for Learning Disability and Autism at NHS England to discuss the unique work done by Empowering U’s emergency response team which handles crisis situations involving patients with learning disabilities and autism, thereby reducing hospital admissions. This programme is unique in the UK, and 4 other UK Trusts are keen to learn more from Nicola about this service and how they can adopt a similar approach.