Susan's story


Susan has always been fascinated with buildings. She designs houses on her computer, makes models and furniture and has completed bricklaying and decorating classes.

So when she heard that Sense was going to build TouchBase Pears – a new pioneering service for people with disabilities in Birmingham – she was determined to get in on the act. She bravely decided to re-locate from Peterborough to a supported living flat in Birmingham, where Shaniel from Sense gives her all the backing she needs. “She knows just how she wants things,” says Shaniel. “She‘s a good cook and will make friends a drink when they visit, but when it is time to go she will certainly tell you!”

Two women signing with hands

Sense is passionate about supporting individuals to express themselves and enjoy as much independence as much as possible. Deafblind people have played a key role in designing the new TouchBase Pears centre and Susan worked at architects Glenn Howells for three months on this project. She advised about the colour scheme, participated in meetings and designed a fully accessible bathroom.

Next stop was the model studio downstairs where – with support from Shaniel and model maker Paul – she carefully created a working model of the bathroom she had designed, using laser cutters and the latest materials. “I liked it, staff were good” she signs with a smile.

TouchBase Pears will be opening in 2017, and you can guarantee that Susan will be right up front at the opening – enjoying the day, looking around – and making sure that the finish in the bathrooms is absolutely spot on!

Line graphic of hands signing a BSL sign

British Sign Language

Some of the people Sense supports who have hearing impairments will use British Sign Language to communicate.

Helping people shine

  • We offer a wide choice of stimulating and life enhancing activities to help people develop and fulfil their talents.
  • Individuals with a range of challenging disabilities can choose the type of accommodation, and the level of support, that is right for them.

2015-16 highlights

  • Compliance with Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards has been consistently over 92% throughout the year – much higher than the average for the care sector.
  • Ensuring that all our services are people centred is a cornerstone of our work. To reinforce this we created new printed information, web resources and training for staff on all aspects of person centred practice.

First published: Thursday 22 December 2016
Updated: Friday 6 January 2017