Service users meet to celebrate one year of changes

Exemplar’s Service User Council met today to mark the council’s 1st Anniversary. The special meeting was held at the home of the Bradford Bulls, Odsal Stadium – which just so happens to be the home team of council member Mick.

The Service User Council enables service users to speak freely about what matters most to them with Exemplar’s directors – and have real decision making capability. Exemplar employee’s, senior managers and Chief Executive Officer, Euan Craig, are regular attendees. Members actively influence, change and suggest improvements to Exemplar’s homes, working together to make every day better for themselves and fellow residents.

Over the past year, the Service User Council have suggested positive changes to Exemplar’s services which has resulted in the introduction of a company-wide service user holiday policy; the development of seven videos for training and developing new staff, Wi-Fi roll out into all care homes; as well as becoming more involved with the hiring of new team members within the homes.

Chris at Thames House spoke at the anniversary meeting, saying: “It’s been great to be the voice for all the other residents at Thames House. I’ve got a good relationship with the CEO, Euan – and I know if I need to get in touch with him about anything, I can. There’s also the bonus of meeting up with residents in the other homes, seeing how they are and what they’ve been up too.”

CEO Euan gave a speech to the Council members: “We have seen real changes in all our homes since the setup of the Service User Council – we’ve always had great communication with service users and their families, but the Council has boosted morale across our homes, invited more changes and had such a positive impact on everyone. After all, the care homes are homes for people – so we must do whatever we can to ensure everyone is happy within their home.”

Sophia was presented with a bouquet of flowers from Chris on behalf of himself and all other service users at Thames House, as well as a huge round of applause for helping the council to develop into the strong group it is today.

Council members designed Christmas cards earlier this year, and today were presented with their printed creations. The cards will be sold throughout the homes, raising money for the service user fund – enabling homes to spend more on days out, holidays or to develop their in-house activities.

One care assistant, Geoff said: “I can’t believe it’s been a year already; every time I come there’s more and more people involved, which just goes to show how important it is. Coming along to the meetings really opens your eyes as to what other homes do, and what changes could be made in your own or what ideas could be shared. Everyone is always so positive and just wants to put forward their ideas to develop their home further, or get themselves more involved into its running.”

Closing the meeting with Christmas crackers, a roundup of events over the past year and a vision for 2019, Sophia commented: “I am so proud of each and every individual making their contribution to the Council, and building on their independence and confidence.

“None of this would be possible without each and every ambassador, or without Euan who supports us on everything. It’s been amazing to see how far we have progressed together this year and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for everybody else – and with seven new care homes coming on board, I can’t wait for even more members and the Service User Council developing further.”