Our Service User Ambassadors collaborate on project with Sheffield Hallam University

2 November 2023

Female service user writing and being assisted by female health care worker

Our Service User Ambassador initiative gives our service users the chance to represent their views and that of their peers during Service User Council meetings.

Last week, Service User Ambassadors from our Yorkshire and the North East homes met at the ASSEAL New York Stadium in Rotherham.

They were joined by senior managers from across the company to collaborate on a range of topics and projects including Sheffield Hallam University’s Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work course, Exemplar Health Care’s raising concerns and complaints policy, welcome cards for new residents and the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Sophia Feurtado, Service User Engagement Manager, said: “It was fantastic for our ambassadors to be able to meet face-to-face and collaborate on work that’s important to them.

“They provided open and honest feedback on a number of projects and highlighted things that could work better for them in their homes.”

Collaborating with Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University lecturers, Nicola Woodhall and Evan Howell, were joined by Expert by Experience, Raymond, to present the draft curriculum for its Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work course.

They asked ambassadors two questions.

  • What do you want a health and social care professional of the future to be?
  • What do they think we should teach in our curriculum to make this happen?

In groups, everyone discussed their experiences and interactions to provide their insight.

Some of the answers included:

  • “Don’t talk about my label first, I am a person.”
  • “Don’t just decide who I am because of my diagnosis.”
  • “Don’t use jargon and expect me to know what you mean.”
  • “Don’t rush us. Give us time to reply. Don’t take us being quiet as we are ready for the next bit of information, sometimes it takes a while to process.”
  • “Students shouldn’t be scared to ask questions. We are real people who have real experiences of health and social care, just because parts of my body don’t work anymore my brain does. Just be patient.”

The feedback from the council meeting will feed into the new curriculum in 2024.

Nicola Woodhall, Senior Lecturer, shared her thanks: “The North East meeting was a great group for us to attend, as our students also have placements within those homes so it was fantastic to meet and be able to thank the service users and staff for hosting our students in person.

“Thank you to everyone who provided their feedback. The comments we got were humbling and so insightful and we shared them with our colleagues across the nursing courses within Sheffield Hallam.

“The meeting was fabulous and we all went away feeling really uplifted and positive.”

Well done to our Autumn planter competition winners

At the last Service User Council meeting in Summer, our ambassadors decided to run an Autumn planter competition.

They were challenged to create the best ‘Autumn planter’ to display and grow a variety of garden delights, such as flowers, vegetables, herbs and shrubs.

This time round, they came together to review the entries and choose the winners!

Yarningdale took the crown with their Halloween and Christmas crossover of ‘Jack the Skeleton kidnapping Santa’.

Willowbeck came second with their giant teapot. They took inspiration from everyone's favourite activity - ‘sharing a cuppa and a chat with friends’.

Quarryfields came in third place with an Autumn harvest planter, complete with a scarecrow and home-crafted Autumn leaves.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and the next one will take place later in the month for the North West region.

At Exemplar Health Care, we’re committed to involving people in decisions that impact their lives and the running of their homes. Read about our Service User Ambassador initiative.