Shine provides specialist support from before birth and throughout the life of anyone living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, as well as to parents, families, carers and professional care staff. Shine enables people to get the best out of life.

 The Foundation awarded a grant of £12,000 in 2015 towards building and equipping a new Living Skills Training Suite. Adults with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus have used the suite as part of health and independence assessments conducted by Shine’s Health team. This has enabled the Occupational Therapy Development Worker to determine the level at which each person’s ability to complete basic cooking and domestic tasks is affected. This, in turn, has enabled her to suggest adaptations and/or equipment to improve their independence around the home.

Other adults with the disabilities have also visited the Suite outside of formal assessments to test the facilities on offer. The Multi-use Outreach Suite has been finished with new wooden flooring and LED lighting. Additionally, new ‘Flexi Tables’, with safer, rounded edges, were purchased. These can be easily moved, which enables the organisation to run different activities and makes the Suite a truly multifunctional space.

The Suite has also housed an exhibition launched on 4th July 2016 as part of Shine’s 50th Anniversary Year. Alongside a narrative on the history of spina bifida and hydrocephalus, the exhibition featured personal stories, materials and decades-old mobility equipment contributed by people with the disabilities. The Multi-use Outreach Suite is an ideal space for this, and Shine welcomed more than 80 visitors.

Case study: Using Shine’s Living Skills Training Suite  

Jason (pictured) is a Shine service user with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. He was one of the first to test the Living Skills Training Suite and talked about this experience: 

Do you cook or bake at home?

"I don’t tend to cook or bake often at home because my kitchen isn‟t the most accessible. I have a disabled partner and we both try to do an equal share, but the layout of the kitchen means that we can’t both be in there at the same time to help each other out. Our son helps a lot, but I do get frustrated and would like to do more."

 What did you like about the facilities at Shine?

"It’s a different set-up, with newer facilities than we have in our kitchen. Out of everything, I would most like to have the adjustable sink – I could move this up and down until it was at the right level, and I had no issues with reaching the tap. I like the fact that spending time in the kitchen enables people to see what they could get."

We understand you followed a new recipe...?

“Yes – apple crumble cakes. Kathy suggested it as she knew it was something simple to try. She also made sure all of the ingredients were ready for me."

How did you feel after you’d completed the new recipe?

"Really good because I don’t do it very often at just proves that you can do it."

Jason was particularly impressed with the adjustable sink 

With thanks to Shine for providing excellent feedback on the use of the grant and to Jason for allowing us to use his photo and words.
Photo credit: Shine