What a busy couple of months it has been since our last update!
On 11th October, 72 riders, 40 volunteers and more than 120 people took part in our PIP Mountain Bike Challenge. Hosted by Lovibonds brewery in Henley on Thames and catered for by Bosleypatch Farms, this dedicated and enthusiastic group raised more than £26,000 through sponsorship, generosity, baking, and good will. PIP is incredibly grateful for everyone’s support, making this event our biggest fundraiser ever.
The summer and autumn leisure programs have been great fun and involved a trip to Brighton to enjoy the sunshine, 5 weeks of Capoeira lessons culminating in our very own PIP Carnival, a fantastic sports day run by volunteers from Rockspring PIM, an exciting PIP trip away in October and a Halloween themed week packed full of fun events for students who stayed at our centre in W9.
PIP's trip to sunny Brighton!
During PIP’s summer leisure program the PIP students are encouraged to have an input in the planned activities; a popular choice is always a day trip to Brighton. According to Sandy Whelan a PIP Development Worker “This year’s Brighton trip was a fabulous day out full of sea and sunshine.”
Fundraising in focus: PIP Pub Quiz
In partnership with Oliver Wyman, PIP hosted a Pub Quiz at the Elgin Pub in Maida Vale in September. Many thanks to the Elgin for their great service and food. Everyone's generosity and spirit supported us to raise an amazing £2,850.
“Both students and staff enjoyed a fantastic day using outfits designed by the students to celebrate our PIP carnival” states Lauren McKenzie a PIP Development Worker. Students performed their carnival dance routine that they had been practicing in capoeira sessions over 5 weeks of the summer leisure programme.
Volunteers from Rockspring PIM joined us at PIP on 7th August to run a sports day for our students. Alongside team games such as sack and egg and spoon races, the volunteers supported us to play a PIP Students vs. Staff football match- something our students have been asking to do for a long time! The staff lost spectacularly! Thank you to Rockspring volunteers for a wonderful day!
PIP Trip Away
From 27th to 31st October, 4 PIP staff and 11 students went on holiday to the QE2 Activity Centre in Bursledon, Hampshire. Students took part in a series of activities such as archery, indoor climbing, a challenging ropes course, orienteering and much more. This encouraged students to try something new and to get active.
After full days of activities, students and staff worked together to create tasty and healthy meals to eat together. Improving the health and wellbeing of our students is one of PIP’s key outcomes, so we are really happy that this year’s PIP holiday was so healthy and active! PIP Service Coordinator Katherine Gale said, ‘Our annual holiday is a chance for our students to take the independent living skills they learn at W9 and SW1 and put these into practice. It is important that we challenge our students and push them out of their comfort zone at times, and we certainly did this during our holiday this year! It is a pleasure to watch everybody continue to learn, develop, and have loads of fun!’PIP would like to say an enormous thank you to the staff and activity instructors at the QE2 Centre who worked so hard to make our stay so wonderful. We would also like to thank Rockspring PIM, who put together a team to run the recent Royal Parks Half Marathon and raised more than £4000 to cover the costs of this years PIP Holiday! You are all fantastic.
This week begins our summer leisure programme at PIP. Over the next five weeks, PIP students will be going to visit Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Lord's Cricket Ground, taking a trip to Brighton, visiting parks and swimming pools throughout London, and much more! These trips and activities are well deserved after a busy and exciting end to our 2013-2014 term. Since our last update in April, our students have worked hard to complete their course work, done a number of volunteer projects in the community, and made a music video with the help of some amazing volunteers from the BBC!
PIP has been abuzz with the sound of music this spring. Over seven weeks, a group of nine PIP students worked with four volunteers from the BBC to write and record a song and produce a music video. The students recorded the song at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios. On 11th of July, the song and music video premiered at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House in front of PIP students, families, and BBC employees. Check out the link below to watch the video!
The students worked extremely hard in their courses and finished the term successfully. On 8 July, their work was reviewed by a panel of individuals from other ASDAN centres. All of the students from PIP who took part in accredited courses earned their certifications. This year, PIP students earned ASDAN certifications in Healthy Cooking, Numeracy, Literacy, Computers, and Work Skills.
PIP’s Transitions group and Work Skills group finished the term by volunteering in the local community. The Transitions group volunteered with the Calthorpe Project, a community garden near King’s Cross station in London. Our Work Skills students spent the last few weeks at the Canal & River Trust cleaning up the canals.
Last Friday, we finished the term with a celebration of our student’s success! They received certificates for the work that they have done over the term, and watched photos and videos of all of the wonderful things they’ve done this year.
It seems like only 5 minutes since our last project report, where we talked about our Christmas Leisure Programme, and already the Easter Leisure Programme is upon us! As I write, a group of 12 PIP students are at the Tate Modern, enjoying the excellent weather and seeking inspiration for their next artistic project.
And what an artistic and creative few months it has been at PIP. Since February we have held 2 exhibitions of student artwork, 2 showcase drama performances and 1 overnight hike through Harpenden. So much has happened that I am afraid I can only give you the highlights, but here goes:
On 19th February we held an opening event for our art exhibition of student artwork in Collyer Bristow Gallery in Holborn. The collection spanned several years of PIP’s finest student artwork, with some magnificent pieces, including student Tom’s colourful (and enormous) ‘Elephant’, which took a year and a half to complete. You can follow our link below to see ‘Elephant’ plus many more of the fantastic pieces of artwork we featured.
We also held a second exhibition of the PIP Creative Arts Group’s collaboration with the London Print Studio on Thursday 3rd April. Students used a variety of printing techniques including silk screen, mono and lino printing, to create some fantastic work.
Perhaps our most anticipated event in the PIP calendar is the PIP Theatre Company’s annual performance, which this year took place on 29th March at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Our largest audience ever joined us to watch the original story, inspired by the collections at the V and A, unfold. We even got to perform a 10 minute teaser (with a breathtaking cliff-hanger) at Cadogan Hall as part of the Hope Springs event held by Miller Philanthropy on 18th March. If you weren’t able to join us on the day, you will can watch the highlights on our Youtube channel (you will find the link below).
PIP also had a new first in February, when we got our students directly involved in our fundraising efforts by working with young volunteers from organisation Woodcraft Folk to take part in a sponsored walk. Our students hiked 5 kilometres (all with very heavy backpacks), stayed overnight in the wilderness (well almost- we stayed in a scout hut), and hiked all the way back again the following day. We were so proud of our students, who not only did a fine job on the hike, but also raised an amazing £3000 for PIP!
After all that excitement and hard work, we feel our PIP students have certainly earned a chance to relax on our leisure programme. Over the next 2 weeks they will be going to the cinema, watching cricket at Lord’s, swimming, gardening and much more.
It is back to business at the end of the month, when our normal timetable resumes. However there is still plenty to look forward to for PIP, including an exciting collaboration with staff from the BBC, who will be donating their time and expertise to help us create an original PIP music video, which should be just about ready in time for our next project update……!
Happy New Year from PIP!
Everyone here at PIP HQ is looking forward to 2014, with staff and students busy planning for what will inevitably be another jam-packed year! In 2013 we got a new building and a new timetable, lots of new faces and a non-stop programme of events and activities- what will 2014 bring?
Our new delivery space is now fully up and running, and our new kitchen is certainly the focus of activities. Our highlight was when the Healthy Cooking Group made us all a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings! We held our official opening for the new space on 13th December, which gave our Dance and Multimedia groups a chance to showcase the fantastic work they have been doing, as well as a chance for PIP staff, students, friends and supporters to reflect on our journey so far.
As promised in our last report, you can see some of our of photos from our working holiday in Somerset below. Our students took part in lots of activities, from working hard on the farm gardening and feeding the animals, to visiting Bath and taking the opportunity to relax in the wonderful Bath Spa. We also embraced the Halloween spirit with a pumpkin carving competition (you can see the results below), and learning how to cook pumpkin soup….in a cauldron!
Back at PIP we really enjoyed our Winter Leisure Programme. PIP students took part in ‘PIP’s Got Talent’ and treated us to songs (in a multitude of different languages), dance and some excellent costumes. We also visited the Southbank Centre where we tried out ballroom dancing along to some excellent music. PIP was of course the first group on the dance floor, but we did mange to persuade lots of members of the public to join us. PIP staff also got into the holiday sprit by taking part in a 5K Santa Dash around London’s Victoria Park- this is harder than it sounds in a full Santa costume!
However among all this fun we have been doing some hard work...honestly! Last week we were visited by a group of volunteers from HMRC, who generously gave up their time to deliver a workshop to our Numeracy group to teach them all about tax. This can be a difficult concept to grasp for those both with and without learning disabilities, so we would like to say a big thank you to the wonderful volunteers who made this session not only informative but also tremendously good fun!
Looking forward we have lots of exciting events on the horizon. 19th February marks the beginning of a month-long showcase of artwork created by PIP students, at Collyer Bristow gallery in Holborn. Shortly after this our students will be taking part in their very own sponsored fundraising event for PIP- the PIP Woodcraft Hiking Challenge. PIP students are teaming up with volunteers from the organisation Camden Woodcraft Folk to take part in a gruelling hike, culminating in an overnight stay in the wilderness (well, in a scout hut), before doing the whole thing again on the return journey. Finally on March 29th we will be holding our showcase event- the PIP Theatre Company’s Annual Performance. Their original production, Darkness Comes To Castle Kingdom, will be performed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and tells a story inspired by the museum’s collections. We hope to see you there!
The past few months at PIP have been hectic, as we knew they would be. We are coming to the end of our exciting expansion project, and almost have our new space up and running. The expansion means we are doubling our delivery space, so we can deliver a wider variety of sessions to more students. We want to make every minute of their time at PIP as meaningful for each student as possible! We have also been busy delivering 2 big fundraising events so far this Autumn. On 21st September the wonderful R Band put on a fantastic concert for us in central London. The venue was packed full, the atmosphere was fantastic, and the event raised us £3000! Then came our biggest fundraising event of 2013- PIP’s second annual Mountain Bike Challenge. Following the success of last year’s event, the pressure was on to make the 2013 Mountain Bike Challenge even bigger and better, and we certainly delivered. 40 sponsored riders took on a gruelling (and extremely muddy) 18 mile course through the beautiful Chiltern Valley and along the River Thames. Despite a week of nervous weather-watching from the PIP office, it was a beautiful warm day with only a couple of rain showers to slow the riders down! The day finished up with an excellent BBQ (our thanks go to Bosley Patch farm for putting together the amazing food), and a few beers at our host site Lovibonds Brewery in Henley-on-Thames. So far we have raised an incredible £11,000 from the Mountain Bike Challenge 2013- thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, riders and donors who made this event possible. The money that we have raised from these events will go directly into supporting our students with learning disabilities. Back in London at W9 we have been getting to grips with our new timetable, and lots of new sessions. The students’ favourite is Action Hour every Friday, where they learn lots of practical life skills. In the past few weeks we have had a very clean and tidy PIP! We also have a Transition Group for the very first time, which has been helping students to work together to take their first steps into the world of work. The group has been practising their interview skills, finding out what it is like to work in an office, and have even learned about the importance of dressing smartly when you are looking for a job. The group has committed to dress smartly for every Transition Group each Wednesday, so we are seeing lots of dapper students in suits and ties! Looking forward, we will very soon be taking PIP’s students on a working holiday to Paddington Farm in Somerset. Last year’s working holiday was excellent fun, and this year promises to be even better. We will be posting plenty of photos in our next report, so keep your eyes peeled!
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