Purple Tuesday is about 'improving the disabled customer* experience 365 days a year'.
This Purple Tuesday, we're looking at how people we support have driven changes on our website to meet their needs. Now any events and trips we plan across Persona are accessible not only to people who use the service that's planning it, but to everyone who uses and works in our services, as well as their friends, families and the Bury Community.
We regularly arrange activities, events and trips out for people we support and these are always planned with the input of people who use whichever service plans the activity. People have also always been welcome at events in Persona services they don't use, but they don't always hear about them, as there has never been a centralised way for services to share all their events so that everyone can access the details and book a place. Before lockdown we shared events on our website calendar, but it was under-used; only some services shared details of their events and the people we support didn't always know they could find this information there either.
In 2022 we held our first Persona Your Voice committee* meeting and we asked for their opinions on our website. We made several immediate changes following their feedback and we also demonstrated our Recite Me accessibility toolbar, showing how it makes the information on the website available to people with different needs. During these early meetings, the committee also discussed having more activities and events available to them and some members expressed a desire to go out more.
We hadn't used our events calendar at all since 2020, but when the topic of accessing activities across our services came up again in our November 2022 Persona Your Voice meeting, we knew that the website could be the perfect way for people to see what events are going on across Persona. People we support were now aware of the website and using it more, so in February this year, our comms team started work with our web developer A&P know how to improve on the way events were listed on our website.
Clear details on each event. We share:
Easy to understand information that different people can view and access in different ways. Thanks to our Easy Read trained comms team and our accessibililty toolbar, people can:
Flexible and simple back office function. For our small comms team to be able to keep on top of all the events, the calendar needs to:
With events shared in a clear way and more people aware of our website accessibility tools, the calendar helps us support people to look for ideas of things they might like to do and then make their own decisions about what they do in their spare time. Costs and locations are clear, so budgeting and travel options can also be considered in the decision making. Staff can access ideas for people they support which can not only give people new experiences, but provide opportunities to meet new friends too.
Our events calendar really does support people to live their best life.
After months of development and testing, the calendar went live in August and services are being encouraged to share their events on the website. We're getting requests through thick and fast with the party season approaching and we're ironing out any remaining glitches as they come up.
The Persona Your Voice committee knows the calendar is live and we're looking forward to sharing more details with them, including how everyone can share events from the website, at our next meeting in November. It's been really rewarding to work on this detailed project with direct input from our co-production committees. The changes have been built with people we support in mind, so we know they are going to make a positive difference.
We're really grateful to all the members of our service committees and Persona Your Voice, staff and A&P know how, who've all worked with us to make Persona's events accessible to everyone we support. Thank you to you all.
Click here to read more about our Recite Me toolbar and for Easy Read information about it.
To read more of our management and development blogs, click here.
*Persona Your Voice Committee launched in 2022 and meets quarterly. Its members also sit on the committees that meet in each service and feed back on what's working well, what could be better and any other agenda'd items. One of the first decisions Persona Your Voice made was that our customers should be referred to as people we support.