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Positive Choices and Positive Commitments in Liverpool!

By Lloyd Page and Steve Hardy

We met at London Bridge and started our journey. Then we got to London Euston for our train to Liverpool. It was a pleasant journey.

We walked around the university for what seems like ages but then we saw Chris Hutchinson and we were saved! We then set our stall and Sarah Offley kindly let us share a table – you can always depend on Dudley Voice for Choices! We put up several posters promoting ‘Peter and Friends’ and loads of goodies on the table. We gave out loads of raffle tickets for the prize draw tomorrow. The winners would receive copies of ‘Peter and Friends’, ‘The Ten Rules’ by Jim Blair and ‘Books Beyond Words’. We were also promoting Oxleas and it lovely to hear so much positive comments about the Trust! The very famous Heidi had a stall besides us.

The first day was Positive Commitments Conference by creator Debra Moore! The first table we went up to was Sally-Anne Dickens of Makaton LDN. She gave some badges and it was lovely to say hello! We then went to the ‘Positive Choices’ stall where we met Positive Choices leader Helen Laverty!

We met Team Smile – three dentists from NHS England – Rachel Lish, Charlotte Waite and Linda Lacey. They were so friendly and we gave them copies of ‘Going to the dentist’ by Books Beyond Words.

We then went to the Cavern Club but were disappointed because the gifts were so expensive. HMV saved the day and Lloyd purchased ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles. It was early Friday evening and it was amazing how busy the night life is in Liverpool.

The party was at Bierkeller. The music was brilliant by Makaton DJ Jay and everyone had their dancing shoes on. Lloyd was dancing all night long as was Sam Abdulla! As you can see from the photos it was a fantastic night.

Makaton started the second day off with a sing song.

It was good fun and people were excited to win a prize. Many people won but Sean Leadington, Tracey Poulard and Ruth Wyn-Williams.

Quotes from people who attended the conference:

Helen Laverty

“I was quite apprehensive in the run up to the conference a none of the students had ever been to an event before due to lockdown”

“we were determined to have people with a learning disability and their families shine from the front an

d set our pace; MiXiT certainly gave us the perfect springboard for that. The shiners as always brought the sunshine into the room along with Makasong, Vivo had us all on our feet straight after lunch. Heidi and Fion taught us the power of true grit and determination”

“No one could fail to not be moved by Elaine, and to speak to us during national sibling week; we are so privileged that people who have been let down badly come back to help us learn lessons it so generous when they have experienced such loss.”

Debra Moore

"It was very emotional to see everyone after 3 years. The love, land energy in the room was amazing. I met old and new friends, we heard from people with a learning disability & their families, students, nurses and allies. I learned so much and laughed a lot! ITeam Smile came together to show that a dental visit can be a positive experience for everyone including people with learning disabilities, who often face extra barriers to care.

Charlotte Waite, Linda Lacey and Rachel Lish of #TeamSmile

"Team Smile is a collaboration made up from Rachel Lish and Linda Lacey at North East and North Cumbria Multi-Professional Dental Education team at NHS England, together with the Charlotte Waite from the British Dental Association, the Makaton Charity, Amanda Glennon from IT Matters, MiXit, Scott Watkin from SeeAbility and Helen Laverty from Positive Choices.

Our aim is to help people who are anxious about a dental visit, by providing information about different dental treatments using videos with Makaton signs and symbols, audio descriptive videos for visually impaired people, and a range of resources including Makaton prompt cards and factsheets to support communication.

Team Smile really enjoyed attending the Positive Choices Conference. It was a great opportunity to meet people who may wish to use our resources, for example learning disability nurses, charity representatives, patient advocates and people with lived experiences. We hope that many people will benefit from our Team Smile resource, which will be launched in a few weeks time’.mportantly, we stood together as fellow humans, committed to be the change we want to see."

Sarah Jackson

"It was amazing because it bought together people with a learning disability, learning disability nurses and student nurses to celebrate all the fantastic things we have done over the last year and what we are planning to do next."

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