NANSA Blog

The NANSA Blog will feature stories from across NANSA. If you would like to submit a blog post then please email fundraising@nansa.org.uk

Anna's AGM Speech
10.10.2016

My name is Anna and I am proud to say I am Holly's mum.

Holly is our only child, at the moment but we are expecting another in January. Holly is two and a half, she has global developmental delay meaning she is behind in all areas of her development. We first heard of NANSA through the nest group at Upton rd and have been attending the "school for parents" sessions most (if not every) Wednesday since September 2015.

I wasn't sure what to expect at first but immediately felt relief that I had finally found a group that would help us to work with Holly and strive to get the best out of her. The staff are all fantastic, they come up with the most amazing ideas. Ideas that you can take home and give structure to your child's development. Without NANSA I would still feel lost, a feeling that overwhelmed me initially.

As any new parent your child doesn't come with a handbook but I feel this is especially so when your the parent of a child with special needs. But NANSA has given us a sense of belonging, facilitating the opportunity to meet like minded parents going through a similar situation, share our experiences and learn the skills to draw out the best in our children.

We still don't know why Holly is delayed despite undergoing lots of tests, and the involvement of lots of specialist doctors. But rather that sit night after night with my head in a text book, comparing other children and their conditions I prefer to focus on what I can do with Holly. I look forward to Wednesday's as its a day I know Holly's needs are being met in a fun and fulfilling manner. It's not always easy to fit in all the exercises given to us by professionals such as physio, portage and speech and language. It's even harder to mimic it in your own home and make it interesting enough each time for your child.

NANSA however have an array of specialist equipment, toys and a wealth of knowledge and experience to make each session fun and unique. (Not to mention the fact that someone else cleans up all the messy play afterwards)!

You can tell that Holly enjoys NANSA, she has gone from being the shy, sensitive child that spent most of the session with her fingers in her ears, to one that is beginning to love the attention. She now smiles and interacts with the staff and other children. As such it has helped her to develop her social skills massively, as well as her fine and gross motor skills.

Holly has truncal hypotonia (meaning the muscle tone around her trunk are weak). When we started NANSA her sitting balance was not great and she kept throwing herself backwards. Now she can sit safely on a stool, and her favourite thing is standing and sitting back down on the stool using the wooden standing frames at NANSA (in fact she is a bit of a show off during this segment of the class)! She prefers not to crawl instead she bum shuffles a short distance within the room. However she loves taking weight through her feet and with help she managed to walk down NANSA's corridor pushing a pram for the first time last week.

She is not a fan of the truly messy play, the likes of paint, jelly and shaving foam (in fact I end up covered in most of it) but she loves exploring the amazing treasure baskets that the staff put together in there various formats (buried in sand, pasta, cornflakes, in bags, under scarves etc). Such activities have helped her develop her fine motor skills, in fact she has started to use a pincer grip to hold a hair brush, remove pieces from a jigsaw and start feeding herself with a spoon recently.

We know she will get there in the end and we are forever grateful for all the support NANSA has given us, they are a truly fantastic charity. We can't thank you enough.

Phil and Katherine's Speech
10.10.2016

Katherine was born at a very young age….

In all seriousness, Katherine my daughter was born with a condition known as Global Development delay.
She also had hypotonia a lack of strength in the muscles, but look at her now!

I recall at the hospital predictions could not be made, we did not know what to expect, would she walk or be able to talk? In our search for answers when Katherine was a baby we went to NANSA on Woodcock Road to ‘School for Parents’. We were made very welcome.

It was comforting and reassuring to be told that we as people are like paintings, all different. One may be like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, another a Picasso or a Van Gogh but each one special.

Katherine has a personal budget now and chooses it spend it to continue her long association with NANSA. Happy to say 19 years on we are still part of NANSA. I will explain why.

Nursery came and then Primary School, Katherine needed assisted care at Nursery and couldn’t always join in. We wished for, as we all do for ourselves and our children ‘inclusivity’. I recall my wife saying how sometimes that as a mum collecting Katherine from school she felt apart a little isolated from the other mums as Katherine couldn’t always fit in. I was at work so not always at the sharp end.

Knowing that as children grow into teenagers they can become a little cruel we moved Katherine to a Special School, a place which could provide education appropriately in areas of special needs. We made the right choice. We have been very happy with Parkside, Pathways College and latterly Easton and Norwich City College.
Again they share the ethos of this buzz word ‘inclusivity’ it is so important. Throughout we have always continued to be a member of NANSA.

As Katherine has grown from a teenager to a young woman she needs a social life full of fun, friends and activities. So Katherine is now a member of youth/transition at NANSA attending Springboard,Fusion and Connect. This is somewhere she has true inclusion and acceptance.

It is a safe and proper environment where she benefits from the activities and social engagements.
She enjoys, Art and Crafts (she has made some great fish shaped flags),listened and danced to music, yoga, Boccia, gone on regular outings, sitting with friends watching DVD’s, playing the computer and cooking…strangley nothing ever gets home, it's always eaten.

With the help of the staff at NANSA Katherine has benefited; she has become more confident, developed her speech and language and and has a willingness to try new things such as ‘Tubing at Whitlingham, climbing at Open and Sports at Easton’. She even has had a tiger teddy so that she can explain what tiger has been doing to help getting her to speak more.

It is all very much an attitude of ‘don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do’
I know she talks a lot when I (Dad) am not here. I will never forget how when she was young other parents with children without difficulties would boast how their child would be walking and talking at three months and soon be entered for ‘strictly’.

The day Katherine could talk was hugely significant to me. After five years there was this magical moment when Katherine said her first words, she looked up at me and said ‘I’ll have a Diet Coke’ ……………………. no only joking she said ‘Dad’. I was blissfully happy.

As she grew her muscles strengthened the hypotonia went, she has recently taken part in the Regional Special Olympics running and throwing gaining gold and silver medals.

NANSA have also helped with other areas of development such as road safety practising Titan training. Katherine has also had opportunities to be a mentor to younger members. Historically she has always been looked after. This has been a superb opportunity of development providing Katherine with an important circle of learning.
Another thing we had to be grateful for from NANSA was help and support with the Educational Health Care Plan with a carefully written report.

This supported the need for social activities to underpin speech and language development and learning life skills.

So we do like NANSA and all our friends there who support us.

Wrap and Roll's New Menu!
25.07.2016

In celebration of the launch of Wrap and Roll’s new menu we are giving you the chance to win a free coffee and slice of cake!

Like and Share the Wrap and Roll Facebook Post to enter the draw which will be announced on
Monday 8th August!

Simply click here.

Like and Share the Wrap and Roll post and you could win!

For full Terms and Conditions please click here.


Minibus Appeal Roll of Honour!
27.04.2016

NANSA would like to give a huge thanks to those that have donated to the Minibus Appeal. The team cannot wait to get a new minibus!

The amazing donors:


The Ivy Child Charitable Trust
Loveday & Partners and their business partners
East Business Systems
Asda in Norwich for allowing NANSA to partake in the Community Green Token Scheme
EDP's Norfolk Community Foundation Community Chest.
Asda in Hellesdon for letting NANSA hold a Christmas collection
Service users at NANSA for putting on a fantastic Easter raffle
Julie A Hughes
Ebo Dadey
Sarah Cowen-Rivers
Paul Towndrow
Fern Alice Goddard-Coote
Lorenzo Bedini
AK Gossland
Andy Hall
Nancy Borrett
Rex
Kelvin Sadler
Natalie Gibbons
Sarah Harrison
Mizz Elaine
Heatha
Lucy Child
Christine Fulcher
Bernard Lyall
Hans Meijer
Lesley Porter
Adelaide Mobbs
James & Diane Brown
Frank Hiscox
Sonny Campbell

Not forgetting the fantastic donors that have chosen to remain anonymous!


The team at NANSA are so grateful for your contributions!

www.crowdfunder.org.uk/nansaminibus

Kirsty Storey - nominated for the Work and Employment
17.03.2016

Kirsty has been learning work skills in the NANSA Aylsham Road Train & Trade shop since late 2013.

She works in the charity shop environment and has gained Gateway Qualifications in customer service, retail environment, teamwork, health and safety.

From the skills that she has learnt at NANSA, Kirsty has developed the independence and confidence to work in a café in the city for three hours each Saturday. As a result of her enthusiasm to access external placements and the confidence that she has gained, Kirsty has been nominated for the Work and Employment Award at the Chairman's Civic Reception - A Celebration of Achievement at 4.00pm Friday 18th March 2016.

Hannah Gill - nominated for the Leadership and Responsibility Award
17.03.2016

In the last year at NANSA, Hannah has become a Trustee, meaning that she is part of the decision making process for the organisation.

Hannah has also started her placement at the NANSA Wrap & Roll Cafe, where she is developing her customer skills in a busy environment.

She has completed a Gateway qualification in working in a person centred way and has applied this in starting her new role as a mentor to other trainees at the NANSA Artshoproject. Her confidence and skill to lead others and take responsibility has improved over the last year and Hannah has been nominated for the leadership and responsibility award Chairman's Civic Reception - A Celebration of Achievement at 4.00pm Friday 18th March 2016.

Glenn Butcher - nominated for the award of Overcoming Personal Barriers and Accessing the Local Community
17.03.2016

Glen had the idea to put on a nightclub evening as a NANSA fundraising event.

Glen liaised with the NANSA fundraising and marketing department and together they worked with him to plan an event that he called 'Sparkle'. Prior to the event he approached an array of local businesses and spoke to them about his idea, asking them at the end if they would be prepared to donate a prize for the event’s raffle.

Each time he went out to a business he had to work on managing his speech, slowing it down so his message was clear. He has gained an incredible amount of confidence and overcome personal barriers in order to communicate clearly his ideas to support the charity.

Shoo Shoo! Is disability travel on the right track?
21.04.2015

Having not been to Leicester for a number of years. I found myself having to travel there again for a family funeral.

Travelling on the train as a disabled wheelchair user, is always a stressful experience; given that you are relying on others, to get you to and from your destination; (which often includes transfer from one train to another).

I had planned the journey, through the Passenger Assistance Helpline, who incidentally, were very much on the ball and tried to seat me with the two people I was travelling with. They sent me an e-mail clarifying what changes had been made to the tickets I bought online; which includes a booking reference.

If you are in a similar situation, do take this email confirmation with you, as I was to find later on in the process it would prove invaluable in proving my seat reservation for the only available disabled seating area on the train.

The experience did not start well, the guard got me on the train at Norwich; only to find a lady with a baby in her arms and her two other children seated in the disabled space that I had booked, but she refused to move.

After a heated discussion with the guard, I had to give visual proof of my booking, my e-mail from the Passenger Assistance Helpline.

He then proceeded to threaten the lady and her children with expulsion from the train!

On the travel company website the following guideline exists for the seating are:

THE DISABLED SEATING IS ONLY CLASSED AS PRIORITY SEATING AND CAN BE USED BY ANYONE. BUT SHOULD BE GIVEN UP FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, EXPECTANT MOTHERS,THE ELDERLY OR PEOPLE CARRYING YOUNG INFANTS. (Please check with your travel provider, this may vary).

After seeing these guidelines after I had travelled, you could argue, that the lady and her children were possibly equally entitled to use the priority seating.

However, the way the guard spoke to the lady and her children, I do not think was the best way to handle the situation and embarrassing both parties trying to sit in the designated area.

Why didn’t the guard check that the disabled area was clear, before getting me onto the train? And why was it not made clear that the area was booked, to avoid the woman’s embarrassment?

As the woman began to move, the situation worsened, trying to get people to move cases etc whilst I sat in the gangway. In addition the discussions about who should be seated where, were all made in front of me, this did not make the atmosphere comfortable during the journey.

The train as a result left Norwich eight minutes late! I wonder how the station manager explained that one, when asked why the train was late leaving Norwich?

The rest of the Journey, to Ely our connection / changeover to Leicester was spent apologizing, to the lady who was clearly, upset and tearful! As a parent of young children I had the greatest empathy for her. This caused me great embarrassment and made the journey uncomfortable for us, as a small misunderstanding had escalated because of disorganisation.

The two people I was travelling with had a different experience, one seated down the carriage and the other who suffers from mild cerebral palsy, having to stand all the way to Ely!
Is this a case of selling too many tickets for too few seats? You wouldn't do it in a theatre, selling a hundred and twenty tickets with only a hundred seats available would you?

Furthermore, it was lucky that with all this stress I didn't need to use the toilet on the train, as these were blocked by cycles in front of the doors blocking wheelchair access.

There was similar experience on my return journey, the change at Peterborough, fortunately, those people moved without any embarrassment or uncomfortableness caused.

On a positive note, I have to acknowledge the efficiency of the guards at the changeover stations, who were waiting for me to help me transfer on to the next train.

What experiences as a disabled passenger have you had? Do you think there should be larger seating areas? What other challenges have you faced?

Sponsored Swim
24.11.2014

On the 15th August I did a sponsored swim to raise money for NANSA.

I swam 32 lengths (25M) 800m in 52 minutes. I wanted to do the swim because NANSA needs a new building and as I love swimming I thought what a perfect way to raise money doing something that you love whilst giving something back.

I have raised £130 from my swimming.

Norwich Half Marathon
21.11.2014

A team of NANSA staff are taking part in the Norwich Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd November, with the aim of raising money for the Diamond Appeal.

The team is Jacqui Ronsdorf, Pauline Robinson, Francis Woodcock, Vicky Moore, Chelsea Dale & Joshua Dale, they can be sponsored by going to their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/runningfornansa/

Please join me in wishing them the best of luck! The forecast may be rain, but here's hoping for clear skys on the day.

Thanks to Norwich Rotary
28.10.2014

The Norwich Rotary Club donated to NANSA a touch screen computer, some dual headsets and a mail sorting unit. Glenn has used one of the headsets whilst on reception and said they are good These items were presented at our Gateway qualification day back in August we would like to say a big thank you to the Rotary club

Summer Programme
03.10.2014

The summer went from the 28 of July until the 5th of September .It was a great success, Mervyn liked the Tuesday bbq.

I enjoyed the picnics and the swimming. Glenn said "I enjoyed the chill, chat and salad lunch, I liked the Smoothie Making, as it was my first summer program I had a great time"

Yang enjoyed all of the summer program and he was happy.

We also had our gateway celebration day on Friday the 29th of August. The mayor of Norwich come to give out our certificates and awards we had a bbq for lunch we are now on week 3 of our new September timetable. Katy, Mervyn and Glenn are really enjoying the new timetable.

Good foodie fun week
27.08.2014

There are some fun things going on this week. On Wednesday our Summer FIZ! session was busy baking cakes, dipping fruit in melted chocolate and playing with spaghetti! On Friday, our successful Train & Trade graduates will get their Gateway Qualification certificates at a Youth and Family Centre barbecue.

This Week at NANSA
22.08.2014

Wednesday we celebrated 20 years of School For Parents with a picnic in our garden. It was lovely to see families together, past and present.
It moved us to hear that "Schoot for parents is probably one of the only truely child and family led and centred services".

stephen reception

Stephens Thoughts
04.08.2014

My name is Stephen Warnes and I’m 28 years old. I have been at NANSA for 2 years. I really enjoy the different choices we have to learn about.

Since I have been at NANSA, I’ve learnt how to use the telephone with Jacqui and I work on reception. I’m good at showing visitors around and have made my own visitor pamphlet. I also do counting and sorting so I know where things go and in what order.

I hope to do a Gateway qualification next year and one day help to train new people and pass on skills. The new training reception is a good idea so lot’s of people can learn skills at the same time.

I work like to try work experience at a Train & Trade project one day and am looking forward to being a NANSA Journalist soon.

Watch out for my column and our blogs on our new website www.nansa.org.uk

It’s nice all my friends at NANSA will be able to have their say on our website.

Highball Climbing

Together we can reach new heights
30.04.2014

No matter what your ability, it feels great to achieve a personal challenge. NANSA's first annual climbing event for all abilities is held at Highball Climbing Centre, Norwich on Saturday 31st May. Harnessed and supported, climb the 8m high wall to reach new heights.
  • The Street Cafe
  • Artshoproject
  • Wrap & Roll
  • NANSA Sleep
  • Train & Trade
  • friends of NANSA
  • neo optic ltd
  • NANSA Bowls League
  • ProHelp
  • Hello Ideas
  • One Stop Carriers for Causes
  • Loveday and Partners
  • NANSA Care Awards