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Earlier this month, Maypole Grove in Birmingham hosted the latest Exemplar Service User Council meeting. A new initiative created by Dignity in Care award winner and Service User Engagement Manager, Sophia Feurtado, the Service User Council provides a platform for our service users to speak up, be heard and create a platform for change.
Still in its early stages, the Council currently has twelve Ambassadors from Exemplar homes across the UK. Every two months, Ambassadors meet and are joined by their support worker, Sophia and her team, as well as group directors.
The recent meeting showed positive progression amongst the council; with more members than ever before attending and giving their input.
Ian, a service user at Parkside in Tipton, discovered that some Exemplar homes had policies about holidays and weekends away for residents – and some didn’t. Keen to ensure that every service user across Exemplar, whatever their needs, has the opportunity to enjoy a holiday, Ian proposed a new policy. Chief Executive Euan Craig attended this meeting and has since returned to board member with Ian’s proposal – one holiday policy for all homes – and equal access to holidays for everyone.
At the recent meeting in early April, service users were learned that a new holiday policy had been created and will shortly be rolling out to all homes. This policy covers all the necessary information for staff, service users and families – to ensure all service users have the same rights when it comes to their holiday.
The Service User Council continues to provide a space for service users to meet one another, explore other homes and work together to make every day better for themselves, and their fellow service users.
Ambassadors have commented how becoming part of the council has made them feel more valued, as part of the Exemplar team and most importantly, developed their skills within different areas.
The next meeting will be held in May, where the latest developments and ideas will be shared, progressed and finalised as a group.