Improving the quality of support
I live in Dursley and I'm supported by Brandon Trust. I recently chaired the Driving Up Quality day in Gloucestershire with Kim and Ingrid, who both work for Brandon. Driving Up Quality is an initiative with a simple aim; to improve the quality of support delivered to people like me.
A lot of people came from across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, and also Lucy Hurst-Brown, Brandon’s Chief Executive and members of the Board of Trustees. I started the day off by introducing myself, and then covering housekeeping; telling people where the toilets are, the fire escapes, and so on. I also asked everyone to turn off their phones, or switch them to silent. A few minutes later my phone started ringing in my pocket - I had forgotten to turn it off - which made everyone laugh. It turned out to be a great ice breaker.
A lot of people did presentations and told their stories. One person talked about their passion for watching Liverpool Football Club, and a lot of people talked about jobs and community connections. I talked about my part of road sweeper in Oliver - a recent production by the local amateur dramatics in Dursley.
Everyone who came along to watch was very impressed with how professional the event was. Some of us have started practising for our 100 Voices contribution, which takes place on 12 September, 2015. We don’t want to say too much about it yet but it involves drama.
I also went to London with Kim and Ingrid recently. They were doing a course about inclusive leadership and we'd met up quite a few times to work on it. We went out for meals with some other people, and talked about lots of things. That’s how we got to know each other much better and how I got involved with chairing the Driving Up Quality day.
A lot of people helped organise the day and one of my jobs was to make sure people came back to their seats after breaks, which I achieved by hitting a glass with a spoon. Along with great personal stories, people also talked about things that need to get better such as making sure there are enough staff, and making sure they listen and do the right things.