Bury Shared Lives Committee has been meeting quarterly since its first meeting in February 2020.
Here Mo, the scheme's registered manager, tells us a bit about what it entails and how the committee has been driving changes for the past few years:
'Committees made up of people we support are so important. These are the people should be involved with developing, shaping and having a voice in the scheme so it works for them, supporting them to live their best life.
The meetings are quarterly and are open to people who use Bury Shared Lives, though we have a strong group of 5 people who attend regularly. Because everyone had commitments during the week, we now hold the meetings on Sundays so that as many people can attend as possible.
We have an agenda and we take minutes; we start by welcoming everyone and introducing any new members. We discuss all sorts of things, such as how we do our regular placement reviews for the scheme. We've also acted as Persona's Easy Reads panel since 2020, so we feed back on any new documents as they are created, to make sure they work for the people they've been written for. You can see some of our Easy Reads here. Now that the Persona Your Voice Committee also meets every quarter, we also feed back on anything that was raised at the last Persona Your Voice Committee meeting.
Over the past few years the committee has suggested several changes to the way we run Bury Shared Lives, including how we appoint new carers. The group developed several new questions which we use as part of our recruitment and one committee member also interviews applicants and sits on the panel for approving new carers. This has made a huge difference to our approval process is a change that we feel is extremely important.
Having the Bury Shared Lives Committee is a great idea and one that I think all services should commit to (you can read more about Persona's co-production below). During covid we met virtually so we never lost touch with our committee - now we are all happy to hold these face to face again!
And my thoughts for the future? In time it would be good if we had an independent advocate supporting the committee, but for now Diane, our Shared Lives development officer, and myself really enjoy this and are proud to have such a strong committee at Shared Lives, that makes a difference to the running of the scheme.'
Find out more about our co-production with people who use our services here.