Radio Sparky – Working Together Week transcript

Radio Sparky is the podcast shining a spotlight on the work happening on the ground in Richmond Fellowship and the wider Recovery Focus Group of charities  – talking direct to staff and people we support.  To mark Working Together Week our Communications and Marketing Officer Matt Webb spoke to Matt and Jordan who use our Supported Housing Service in Stowmarket, Suffolk and the service manager James.Working Together Week

We wanted to find out from them what co-production and Working Together really means in practice, and how they’ve made it part of the service.  You can listen to the episode in full here – but if you want to have a read instead or even as well, we’ve got a transcript for you below!

Matt W: As a member of staff, it is of course working together week, what does co-production mean to you?

James: it means that we are all equal, and we are responsible for running and developing the service.

Matt: How have you managed to instill a co-production model in your service? It must have been quite a tricky thing to do, because you have to get everyone together and plan. How have you been able to make that happen?

James: Back when working together came to fruition in around 2014-15 – we are really fortunate that we have a really good community link worker, Janet, who is able to really push getting people involved in the service. Also, I think leadership is really important, so I really wanted to be quite a role model for that for staff in our services, developing a plan for example about how we are going to implement working together on a practical level.

“For example, changes as a result of that I have seen is that we always include people in the recruitment/interview process, we have people who last year helped to set the annual budget, and we also involved people in the local ways of running the service.”

They have helped formulate our approach to recovery, they have also helped out in the running of groups, and also when we are doing promotional work for mental health day, they will help to do that and run it for the day. But it is really about ensuring that it is embedded in the service and that there is a culture of working together. But also that they have got the skills and feel confident and able to dip in and dip out as they see fit as well, because it is something that you are volunteering to do, so a lot of it really is about gathering that information on RF Connect but also making people aware of what opportunities are out there.

Matt W: Matt you have been heavily involved in the working together at Cricket Meadow, tell us about the things you have been doing when you were a service user to bolster support and get fellow people we support to get involved?

Matt: I was involved in the interview processes for staff, I have been to various meetings and discussions about co-production, which can be anything from advising on policy, correcting paperwork, maybe some grammar, and having an input on the whole idea of co-production and being around that.

Matt W: Jordan, what activities do you get up to at Cricket meadow? Obviously Covid-19 has probably resulted in some of them changing in how they are delivered but what sort of things do you get up to, and how many people are usually involved?

Jordan: it is mainly 1 to 1s, opportunities for support from the staff and having a chat. But most of the activities have actually stopped at the minute because of Covid. It has changed everything really.

Matt W: How has the working together approach impacted on your recovery journey?

Matt: It has been an absolutely vital in here, and there is quite a lot of reasons for that and I haven’t got time for all of them. But, for example, I am able to use my skills where I was previously, outside of mental health, outside of the involvement that I have had with Richmond Fellowship to do with my mental health. I had skills, I was working, I could bring a lot of things.

“So rather than it be led by, rather than having a dynamic of service user and staff, I found myself embracing the idea and feeling really empowered by the working together.”

My mental health issues, previously driving it all seemed to dissipate, and I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the staff as human beings and working together. So it is incredibly empowering, travelling around the country, attending meetings, making connections which is often quite an unspoken aspect of co-production. But for me it is making connections with different organisations and people, whether that be at Richmond Fellowship or other organisations that attach to them, has made a massive difference and a lot of these connections have led to further opportunities, and further opportunities for co-production. So working together has had a quite, albeit a lifelong impact, a very very positive impact and certainly on my recovery going forward and I am very proud to be part of it.

Matt W: that’s really good to hear, Jordan I will put that same question to you?

Jordan: It gives you an insight of who is caring for me, and how much effort they actually put into what they do for us. Like Matt said, it gives you a chance to travel around the country a bit, and meet new people. It is really good.

Matt W: Jordan how are you finding your support through Richmond Fellowship at the moment?

Jordan: Really good to be honest. I have come a long way since I have been here, and I have changed so much since I have been here. I really want to thank them for what they have done for me.

Matt W: And Matt?

Matt: I have been involved with Richmond Fellowship since 2013, and my support has always been outstanding. I have been discharged from their service for over a year now, and yet I am still supported and to a great level.

“Particularly during Covid we had some zoom meetings, phone calls, and the level of support that was still offered even though I was discharged has been amazing even though these times plays a significant role in keeping me positive.”

Matt W: That is a really inspiring story Matt and yours as well Jordan. James thank you very much for joining us on Radio sparky to talk about working together and what it means to you across Richmond Fellowship. Gentleman thank you.

 

Radio Sparky – Working Together Week Podcast

Welcome to the latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship.

To mark Working Together Week across the Recovery Focus group of charities, Communications and Marketing Officer Matt Webb speaks to James Dominiak, Service Manager at Richmond Fellowship’s 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Stowmarket, Suffolk and Matt and Jordan who use the service about how they’ve embedded co-production in their service at local level.

“I’ve been involved with interview processes for staff, discussions around co-production and policy making. I was able to stand shoulder to shoulder with staff”. – Matt, person we support.

World Mental Health Day – Leaving Hospital After Ten Years

World Mental Health Day (10 October) is the international day for global mental health awareness, education, and advocacy against social stigma.  This year’s theme is “Mental Health for All”, and we are sharing stories of people that we support that show how important that is. Maggs, a person we support living in one of our 24 hour community support services, shares her story of moving from the criminal justice system into our services.

Hi! My name is Maggs and I would like to share the highs and lows of my discharge from hospital into 24hr support in the community. Before this, I spent ten years in various hospitals around the country. I think I should start from the beginning: I have been in a very low and difficult place for a long time. In 2010 I was in a place I didn’t think I could escape. My family could also see the darkness of that place in my eyes. Ten years on I can now finally accept how mentally and physically poorly I was.

Over the last ten years I have spent time in prison (for my own safety and to give the courts time to be able to apply a 37 hospital order). Once I had that order, I went to my first hospital not expecting that I would be going into a further three hospitals after that.

After being in the hospital, I gained a lot of confidence and accepted the person I used to be.

I was discharged from hospital into the community within a 24hr support housing service. This was alongside another lady who had been in the same hospital as me, so it was good to know someone who lived there too. There were also ten men who lived at the house; however this didn’t affect me even though I have a bad history with men. To be fair they were a good laugh! Eventually my friend moved in to her own flat with support from staff. It was sad to see her go but I was also so happy for her as she had worked hard to get her own flat.

I found it hard after she left, because all I was listening to were ten men bantering, swearing and being inappropriate with what they were saying and the manner they were saying it in. But now when I look back on this I know we all were struggling with mental health problems and everyone deals with these issues in so many different ways.

I know it wasn’t down to the individuals in the house that I had relapsed again, it was because I had put high expectations on myself to mend people who were struggling too.

At this point, I didn’t feel as confident as I had when I left hospital but that was because I wanted to fulfil my dreams of helping others who have been in the same position as me. I thought that if I could help anyone who is struggling with their mental health in any way shape or form, I would be fulfilled. While all this was going on, I had family back home who had been in a bad place too due to watching their own mum try to take her own life so many times. I loved them so so much but I knew that I was in the way of them following their dreams too. So, as I said at the beginning, I was admitted to a further three hospitals over the next five years.

I was at my last hospital for nearly two years and during this stay I developed many skills. These skills were then tested to their limits because I wanted to be a mum, a grandma and be with my family more than I had been. I questioned what would help me find the true Maggs underneath all the heartbreak over the years, and how I would make sense of the last ten years. I really valued the skills I learned during DBT, and I still use them to this day.

So, moving into the community was exciting, happy, scary and emotional for me. I was moving back home to my family, and I was excited as I was able to be a mum again and felt so lucky to be a grandma to seven gorgeous grandchildren. I wasn’t the only person who was emotional about moving into the community, my family were too. They had been waiting for this day for a long time.

Due to Covid-19 I was unable to see the property I was moving to. Two of the staff visited before lockdown to assess me for the accommodation and I was accepted. When I realised I wouldn’t be able to see where I was moving to, I judged the staff that came to visit me who were really lovely and approachable. I felt that I would be okay just to move in. I think my thoughts were to push myself that bit further because I knew I was so far away from the Maggs I was in 2010.

I had also met my care coordinator Kevin and my social worker Lydia. They were both so lovely and approachable too, I knew this was something big and such a positive and an amazing move waiting for me to grab with both hands.

Post lockdown tour of our services

Since lockdown has started to ease, Jo Schofield, our Head of Operations in the North, has taken the opportunity to visit several services and see for herself how staff and people we support have been getting on.

In this blog, she tells us more about these visits and what they tell us about our staff’s commitment to Making Recovery Reality, and how proud she is of how well staff and people we support adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Moor View (Care Home)

Yesterday was a great day for me. As Head of Operations for the North, I have always been out and about visiting our services but due to Covid-19 that hasn’t been possible since March 2020. However, yesterday I ventured out to my first service visit since lockdown. I visited Moor View our registered care home in Halifax with 24-hour nursing. Upon arrival, I was temperature checked and offered disposable PPE.

Even though I was at Moor View for a meeting with colleagues, I took in the environment and was impressed with the cleanliness of the building. I introduced myself to two staff who I haven’t met before and they told me that they felt safe in the workplace, they felt well informed and supported. Whilst I have heard daily about the good work that is happening in services, there is nothing quite like seeing it for yourself!

Our frontline workers have continued to go into their workplace and adapted their home life to ensure they are as safe as they can be to continue to support the people that use our services.

Today I really felt such pride for everyone I met at Moor View. Not only our frontline staff for their awareness and alertness around Covid-19 but also the people living in our services. It was obvious to me that a lot of work had taken place to educate some of our residents about keeping themselves safe and respecting personal space and maintaining a safe distance with our staff and other residents and visitors to the service.

Trevayler (Crisis House)

Continuing on my visits to services to see how things are going on the frontline during the pandemic, last week took me to Trevayler. Trevayler has two elements; a transitional unit for people moving from a hospital setting and also a crisis house for people experiencing a mental health crisis that require some interventions to prevent a further relapse in their mental health.

As I walked down the drive, I could see what has now become a familiar sight when visiting Richmond Fellowship services; the colourful rainbows in the window that residents and guests had coloured to represent “hope” during the pandemic.

On arrival I was told that I was entering a Covid-19 free zone and asked if I had had any of the identified symptoms, which I confirmed that I had not. I spent time walking around the building and viewing an area of the building that will be transformed into a Crisis Haven over the coming weeks.

There were six staff in handover and I talked to them about how they felt coming into work on the frontline during the pandemic. They collectively told me that this was their job and that they did what they do. At this point, they felt very supported and said that  Richmond Fellowship had done everything possible to make sure they were safe.

As a senior leader in the organisation, I came away feeling proud of the staff working at Trevayler and how they had made adjustments to their lives to ensure the safety of those they support.

There are no words that can describe my gratitude of those working on the frontline to ensure that people we support continue to get the support they need, when they need it.

Tower House (24 Hour Supported Housing)

Last week, my service visits continued. I went to Tower House which is a 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Chester.

Upon arrival I couldn’t hide my smile as I saw the window covered in rainbows acknowledging “hope” during the pandemic. Residents engaged with craft sessions to decorate the window; joined in the clap for carers on Thursdays at 8pm and knew the importance of keeping themselves safe to reduce the risk of falling victim to the virus.

As I was shown around the beautiful building I met resident after resident who kept a safe distance and wore their face masks when they were in communal areas. One of the residents I spoke to explained that they had COPD and therefore was exempt from wearing a face mask but told me that they weren’t going to take any chances and was happy to wear one to keep everyone safe.

The three staff on duty spoke to me about how the residents have responded positively to changes within their living environment and how to start with it was extremely difficult but with lots of education about the Coronavirus and additional support offered, residents had responded really positively. They were really proud of how the residents had adapted during this really difficult time.

I came away from Tower House feeling confident that the staff and residents were working together to keep the service operating in a safe way and that the safety measures in place were not intrusive, but a true reflection on how the virus is being taken seriously within the setting.

What these service visits have shown

These service visits have reinforced what I already knew about our amazing staff and people we support. Throughout the entire pandemic, staff have shown resilience and commitment to our mission: making recovery reality. Even when the country was in a state of crisis, every staff member I encountered radiated hope and respect. They were all focused on enabling the people we support to achieve their goals even in the most adverse external circumstances.

As lockdown measures continue to change, we will keep working with staff and people we support to adapt how our services operate. We believe that everyone has a right to participate fully in society, and we will always ensure our services are running – whatever challenges the future might hold.

Tameside service group enjoy Lakes challenge

A group of individuals from Richmond Fellowship’s supported housing service in Tameside recently enjoyed a fantastic 5 day outdoor challenge holiday in the Lake District, thanks to a grant provided by the National Lottery.

People using the service had the chance to participate in an array of different challenges including caving, scrambling, zip-wiring as well as piloting a boat.

After exploring the outdoors, the group enjoyed cooking together and showing off their talent in an impromptu song and dance.

They ended each day relaxing by Lake Windermere and a wonderful starlit sky.

All those who attended are currently receiving support from the service in Tameside to manage their own mental ill health.

Garry, one of the participants said:

“It was great to be in a team encouraging each other and relying on each other. It was hard pushing myself but very worthwhile. I know I can do more now.”

Chris Delderfield, Registered Manager at Richmond Fellowship’s Tameside supported housing service said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity for the people we support giving them the opportunity to experience a range of outdoor activities and spend 5 days in a very rural setting which, for most people, was a completely new experience. This holiday was only possible thanks to the generous grant that we received from the Big Lottery Fund.”

Oxfordshire care home moves into refurbished state of the art building

Richmond Fellowship’s Registered Care Home in Oxfordshire has moved into a brand new home.

The service, formally known as The Knowl, has relocated to a renovated property on Oxford Road, Abingdon called Holder House. The service was originally run by 2Care but became part of Richmond Fellowship along with several other registered care homes in 2011.

Holder House, a CQC registered ‘good’ care home provides support for individuals over 18 experiencing enduring mental ill health. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Richmond Fellowship’s dedicated team continue to provide the same high level of support to the individuals using the service.

The refurbishment of the property has been tailored specifically for the people Richmond Fellowship supports. It boasts 14 en-suite furnished residents rooms, a large commercial style kitchen downstairs, 2 additional kitchenettes upstairs and an extensive garden which provides plenty of space for leisure activities and growing plants and vegetables.

The property has excellent transport links with access to public transport, helping individuals to re-gain their independence and participate in even more local community activities.

The building takes its name from the Holder family, following a generous donation left by the estate of Gwen Holder on behalf of her late husband John Holder who was a chair of 2Care – as well as a donation from Richard Holder, also a former chair, who sadly passed away in 2007.

Doug Low, Area Manager for Richmond Fellowship’s Oxfordshire services said:

“We’re so thrilled to have moved into Holder House. The new building is amazing and will make a real impact on the lives of the people we support. I’d like to thank the residents of Oxford Road for making us feel so welcome. We’re also proud to have involved the people we support in the development and design of the property, harnessing on our Working Together approach”.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship said:

“This is a really exciting opportunity for both the team and people we support in Oxfordshire. The property enables us to offer state of the art accommodation for people living with mental ill health in a peaceful community setting. I’d also like to personally pay tribute to the Holder family for their generous donation which has helped towards developing the building”.

Richmond Fellowship awarded Employer of the Year

Progress to excellence logoRichmond Fellowship was named Employer of the Year at Progress to Excellence’s Training and Education Awards, held this month in Liverpool.

The national mental health charity, part of Recovery Focus, won in the category for more than 250 employees for their contribution to the communities they support through a commitment to training. Progress to Excellence is a specialist training provider in the health and social care sector. Read more