Team work makes the dream work as service users put their skills into practice

19 July 2021

Male carer stood with male service user in the garden

Everyone is entitled to live a fulfilled life and take part in activities that are meaningful to them, including and especially those who live in care homes.

For many of us, getting involved in groups or going to work/volunteering gives us a sense of purpose and pride.

At Exemplar Health Care, we support and encourage the people who live in our homes to take part in a variety of roles, so that they get the opportunity to learn new skills, build new friendships and do activities that give their life meaning and purpose.

These roles can be within the home or across the wider company, and can include:

  • being a tour guide for visitors
  • getting involved in interviewing new colleagues
  • inducting and delivering training for colleagues
  • acting as a buddy for new service users
  • delivering newspapers and posts
  • tending to the garden
  • taking a tuck shop around the home
  • planning social activities and events.

Hear from three of our Service User Ambassadors about their roles and how they make a difference.

“I wanted to speak up for people”

Cherrill is the Service User Ambassador at our Yarningdale care home in Codnor, Ripley. She also supports the Home Administrator by answering the phone in the home and helping around the office.

She shares: “I am a Service User Ambassador and wanted to do this because I like to help the people here and speak up for them so I thought I would ask Debbie if I could have the job.

“I answer the telephone on reception, take messages and pass the calls to the Home Manager. The Administrator left for a while and whilst she was away, I used to work from 09.00 – 16.00 and really enjoyed it. I am still doing this now, but my days have reduced to two days a week. I also get involved with other office work such as laminating. I have never done this type of work before and I am very confident.

“This role is amazing and it’s great when people praise me to Debbie. When I walk into reception I become a worker and when I leave I become a service user. It is all official and makes me feel proud that they trust me and there is something for me to do.”

Read Cherrill’s story


“I’ve always been a busy person and need things to do”

Chris is the founding Service User Ambassador at our Thames House care home in Rochdale, and has been involved in lots of projects such as developing the company’s service user holiday policy and implementing better WiFi in our homes.

He shares: “I’ve always been a busy person and need things to do. Being an ambassador enables me to put my ideas forward and get involved in different things that are going on, as well as find out information about the home.

“As an ambassador I help the Manager to interview new people. I generally tend to be the light hearted one, whilst Dawn asks the serious questions.

“I also go to people’s inductions to explain about the home and offer them any help.”

Read Chris’s story


“This role gives me purpose”

Sarah is the Service User Ambassador at our Ribble care home in Preston. She loves getting involved in interviewing new colleagues and organising activities for everyone in the home.

“I wanted to become a Service User Ambassador as this role gives me a purpose. I help plan our four weekly activity plans and I have done some interviewing for new colleagues. 

“Helping me to plan things gives my life meaning and the staff come to me to show people around. I have also made friends with another service user and I am a befriender and peer buddy. I love doing these things as it makes me feel good and I understand how they feel having been in the same position myself.”

Read Sarah’s story

Service user engagement at Exemplar Health Care

Exemplar Health Care’s mission is to make every day better for the people we support, and we do this by putting them at the heart of everything that we do.

Life with Exemplar Health Care is all about choice – we encourage and empower people to decide how they want to live, and put them at the heart of any decisions that impact the running of the home and the wider company.

Read more about service user engagement