My unbeatable experience
My programme in the Undateables series is being shown on 22 January, and it shows my story, what love means to me and my search for love again. I did find love 9 years ago and I was head over heels about that gentlemen, but unfortunately this didn’t last as it was a long distance relationship and for practical reasons we split up. There have been guys in the past but they did not respect me for who I was so these did not last, and at that point I lost my confidence.
Now 9 years on I realised I would like another chance to find love again so with the help of a local Stars In The Sky I met a guy and he was so sweet and so down to earth, we went out on two dates and they went so well I felt a spark there.
It all started in June at an event that I went to through Stars in the Sky, which is a group where people with learning disabilities can make friends and relationships. The event was their Summer Ball and a friend mentioned that the producers of the Undateables were there looking for people to feature in the new series. I put my name down out of interest and had a screen test to see how I coped being filmed. I must have come across well because Channel 4 liked me and told me I would be in the programme!
While I was being filmed it felt weird and it was slightly embarrassing as I have never done anything like this before. I suppose the feeling was how to I react, what to say and what I should do. I was nervous meeting the film crew for the first time but after a while it just became natural to me, perhaps because I became friendly with the crew. It also took a lot of my time of course but, secretly, I lapped it up as I was relieved to have such an amazing experience of my life.
The things that got filmed were around where I was living, when spending time talking to my friends and family about what love is like in my eyes and their eyes, and talking about the dates and how confident how I was feeling meeting a guy. I was also filmed on the way to work at BILD and in the office, as well as at Our Way Self Advocacy in Kidderminster. And of course the dates also got filmed.
I was so excited and nervous about meeting my date, but it was a pleasant experience and I loved meeting him, he was lovely, a good sense of humour, a unique personality and he was very warming and it just went with a flow.
On the first date we went to the Forest of Dean and I met him for the first time and walked together into a maze and that went really well, our conversation flowed very well. After completing the maze we had a go at crazy golf and a drink in the local café. By the end of this meeting I really wanted to stay in touch with him and so did he, so both of us exchanged telephone numbers and since then we have been in contact.
We arranged a follow up date and again it went really well. I had a poem which I wrote for him and he was very touched. We went to a pub where we had a nice meal and after that we went to Himley Hall to walk in the park and feed the ducks. It felt so romantic, just the perfect location for the date, and we decided to be friends and take things really slow and this has not changed.
Since the start of the new year it has been amazing, I have been on This Morning Live on ITV, I’ve featured in New, the magazine for the Daily Express as well as being on the front page of my local newspaper, The Droitwich Advertiser! I’ve also been interviewed for Care Talk Magazine.
In my home town of Droitwich Spa I have had people come up to me saying that they have seen me on the TV advertisements for the Undateables, and This Morning.
I am so happy with all that I have done, it has been a whirlwind for me. The support that I have had has been amazing. I would like to say thank you for everyone’s support.
Watch Kate's episode of The Undateables on Channel 4's iPlayer.
THIS MORNING – LIVE!
BILD staff member Kate Brackley (pictured above, left) is appearing on Channel 4's The Undateables on 22 January. To promote the show, she appeared on ITV's This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on 8 January. You can view the programme on the ITVPlayer >
"The experience of being on breakfast TV was just unbelievable - it was untrue! It all started getting ready at the hotel that I was staying in, just making sure I looked the best I could be, my appearance and the jewellery and the clothes. I had my mum by the side of me and that was really important to me as she was so proud of me.
After getting ready it was time for me to get into the car to take me and my mum to the ITV studios for my moment. At the studios I was met by security and someone came down and took us up to the studio. We were made very welcome and I was asked to take a seat in the green room to wait to go into make up. While I was waiting I was given a set of photographs and autographs of all the stars of This Morning and then met virtually all the stars of the show too.
After a while Sam, another contributor from The Undateables show and I went with a member of the production staff to the make up room to have our make up done. After this I went back into the green room and had my microphone put on and waited for my moment to shine.
At that point, as I was about to meet Philip and Holly on the sofa, I got nervous and a little anxious about what to say, what to feel – “how do I react?”, then something inside my head said to just be myself. I did show a little bit of nerves on air as I was rubbing my hands on my knees but I was relaxed and truly myself and the experience talking to them just felt incredible and it went really well.
After my moment happened I was relieved and I was on a high, the feeling of just saying to myself “wow that was just so much, amazing!” I was lost for words - all I could do was to hug my mum!
On the way home, after such a massive feeling I was really talkative and my mum and I wondered about how many people actually watched This Morning.
I went on Facebook at the end of the day, and I had over 60 people - my friends, work, the groups I go to and the connections that I have all contacting me and congratulating me and I was overwhelmed by everything. I just cried and cried.
What a magical two days of my life it was! I know my programme of the Undateables is going out on 22 January at 9.00pm but now I don’t know what to expect next. There may be a small chance I could get my face into the local paper in Droitwich, where I live.
It feels like a star has been born in a way - I never thought this would happen to me!"
29 November: A busy, busy day at Learning Disability Today
As well as thousands of visitors and a range of other organisations, BILD had a great day at Learning Disability Today at Olympia.
We met lots of nice people to talk to about our work, and lots of books and information leaflets changed hands, as well as the sweets and chocolates!
The prize draw for a £25 BILD book token was won by Mark Gjoni.
Ann Chivers, BILD’s Chief Executive and Tina Cooper, a family carer, sparked a lot of audience participation from the crowd in the Seminar, ‘Reasons to be cheerful: the future of services for people with learning disabilities.'
See you at LDT next year!
9 November: Are you listening? Lots of people came together to an event co-hosted by ARC and BILD to look at the current support for people with learning disabilities from ethnic minority communities and their families and to plan for the future.
Definitely out and about!
As a BILD Development Manager, I receive many requests to speak and share BILD’s work through workshops, seminars and conferences. This always gives an opportunity to meet people delivering or receiving support and to share successes and challenges.
One week recently was a very busy good example.
On Monday morning, I drove down to near Exeter to meet a roomful of Care Quality Commission inspectors from the South West of England. I had been asked to talk about what is good practice when supporting people with learning disabilities and I focused on what inspectors should look for when they are visiting services.
I emphasised the importance of how front line staff supported people and what person centred approaches looked like. In addition, I talked about quality outcomes and how these would offer a positive way of making sure that people were living the lives that they wanted.
On Tuesday, I was in Manchester at the Care Management Matters conference called “The Future of Learning Disability Care”. The day provided an opportunity to learn lessons from Winterbourne View and the 150 CQC unannounced inspections. However, the majority of the day focused on the move away from residential care to supported living. My contribution focused on moving from caring to empowering and how to achieve the cultural change required. Although it was a good day, I felt saddened that all too often, the discussion focused on the merits of residential care as opposed to changing to supported living. Surely, if we are clear about how to provide person centred support, then we should recognise that this is easier to provide in true supported living.
On Wednesday, I was in Cardiff and part of the Consensus Positive Behaviour Intervention Conference. I provided an overview of how BILD’s Positive Behaviour Support Mission had been developed and our concentration on reducing the use of restrictive practices. It was good to see that one of BILD’s new Trustees, Sandy Toogood, was also presenting on “Why Challenging Behaviour continues to occur”.
On Thursday...... I was in the BILD offices in Kidderminster, promising myself that I must plan my diary better in future!!
Development Manager, Consultancy and Advice
25 October: Nursing students learning day at City University, Birmingham Student nurses at Birmingham City University signing up for the BILD mailing list. The event was an innovative 'Lifestyle issues and conditions through the lifespan' teaching and learning event aimed at first year BSc (Hons) nursing students.
It was great to meet so many young people eager to learn and find out more about their chosen career, we want more first year nursing students to choose the learning disability option though in future!
South Korean visitors share experiences in working with people with a disability
In July BILD was delighted to receive a group of visitors who are workers and campaigners for the rights of people with disabilities in South Korea.
The visitors were from the Korea Association of the Welfare Institutes for the Disabled, the Department of Social Welfare at The Anglican Domain University, the Hanyang cyber University Department of Social Welfare, the Monkwon University Department of Social Welfare, the Hansin University Department of Rehabilitation Welfare, Yangpyoung Rudolf Steiner School/Camphill Village, and the Dongwon institute for the Disabled.
They heard presentations from BILD staff, including people with a disability and a family carer about person centred support, advocacy, personalisation in the UK and developing the workforce that provides support.
There was a lot learned, in both directions, and an agreement to continue to work with people wih a disability to ensure their human rights are respected and supported.