I hope you’ve had a wonderful month. The team and I have been really busy, visiting Achieve together services up and down the country, and even fitting in an event or two (more on this later). I have been so pleased to see how often our teams go above and beyond in caring for the people we support, and really make sure that lives are enriched, as well as seeing all the wonderful things the people we support have achieved. I have been to services in Northampton, Devon, Dorset, and Hampshire and across the board, there is so much innovation going on – lots of creativity which is fabulous.
One initiative I was particularly impressed with was the ‘Service Champions’ that Paige, the manager at Harbour in our Devon services, had created. As you can see in the picture, she has allocated a different member of staff for areas that are vital to the running of the home, such as a Dignity Champion, Nutritional Champion, Meeting Champion and Cleaning Champion. Paige and her team created the roles to promote leadership and responsibility, whilst also meaning that the people we support know exactly who to go to for each area of their lives. It’s a good tip for other managers and staff as the people we support were clearly benefiting from the approach, well done Paige!
Learning Disability Conference
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Learning Disability England conference in Manchester on the 13th February, where Campaign 4 Change were running the workshop ‘Making a profound difference together’, including Brad, Samir and Frankie, who are 3 people we support with PMLD. It was one of the first conferences I have been to at Achieve together where I’ve seen the people we support as presenters. It was amazing, inspiring and a really proud moment to watch them present, especially as people with PMLD are often overlooked for presenting roles. I know that there was a lot of planning that went into organising the event too, so I want to say a big thank you to the staff members that helped to organise it. The presentation was really well received, and has even featured in articles in the LDE Newspaper and PMLD Link Journal. I want to say a huge congratulations to everyone that took part, particularly Frankie, Brad and Samir, who managed to strike the exact balance between being informative and funny. I am still chuckling over Brad’s ‘what’s brown and sticky’ joke- answer for those who weren’t there: ‘a stick’ of course…. What were you thinking?
Town Farm Workshop
In Dorset, along with many other service visits, I went to Town Farm Workshop – it was hard to tear myself away from the wonderful atmosphere. They offer a weekly schedule of activities including crafts, gardening, horse riding, pottery, weaving and swimming. They also offer various training days throughout the year for the people we support, such as getting a job, keeping safe and keeping fit. I was impressed at the array of things on offer- there really is something for everyone there, and everyone I met at Town Farm loved what they were doing.
Claire from Cedars
When I visited, Claire, one of the people we support who lives at Cedars, showed me her amazing weaving skills, which she learnt at the workshop. She showed me a vast array of all the cushions she had made by hand and all the different colour combinations. The handmade cushions are on sale at Town Farm, and there was also a big assortment of handmade ceramics, such as mugs, bowls and these beautiful little ornaments in the shape of rabbits – I did come away with a lovely mug but could have bought much more…. Next time!
Relative Quality Checkers
I also met with some of our Relative Quality Checkers early on this month – this is a really great initiative and something I do think we should be doing more of. The engagement with families and ensuring at all times we have maximum transparency is really enhanced by involving families and the people we support in assuring our quality and developing our services – it’s something quite special about the Achieve together approach.
On a different note, there has been a lot of hard work going into the development of the eLFY learning system… have you discovered it yet? Since ‘go live’ in December, around 3000 of you have logged on to your learning account and around 1800 of you have downloaded the eLFY app, this is fantastic but of course we are aiming for everyone to have the chance to get the right training, learning and development. You will find your e-learning, our training calendar and your own learning stats and e-certificates on eLFY and if you download the app, you can learn and check your training records on the go. If you haven’t logged on yet, please do ask your manager for details of how you can get to your account. I will keep you up to date with how we are progressing on this front every few months.
I haven’t had space this month to give you an update on Alderwood, a business that is part of the Achieve together family that cares for some of the most complex people we support. I have had two days with Alderwood this month and will make sure that it’s included as a special case study in the next newsletter- there is so much good practice to share.
Must sign off now as I am off to Cornwall services (flooding permitting). I hope you all have a wonderful March and that you and the people we support enjoy some of the beautiful flowers that are blooming. See you next month,