It’s Co-production Week

This week is #Co-ProductionWeek, a time for us to talk about the ways that we work collaboratively with the people who use our services.

By doing this we can shape our services around the people we support, their personal preferences and how they like to be supported best.

Here are some of the ways that we’re doing this and the plans we’re making to get even better at this in the future.

Introducing PSS…

When new members of staff start at PSS, we spend time telling them all about us and the people we support, so that they have the knowledge they need to do the best job they can. We call this our PSS induction.

We wanted to make sure that the voices of the people we support could be heard loud and clear in our induction – after all, they’re the reason we do what we do. So, we asked people from all of our services whether they’d like to come along to a focus group meeting to help us make our induction even better and help us tell our staff exactly what great support looks like to them. Lucky for us, a great team of volunteers came forward.
We showed the group our induction from start to finish, and asked them to give us their honest opinion of our induction; what was good about it, what could be improved and where they could see any gaps. They told us what they would like each member of the PSS team to know about the service they use, what it’s like to use it and what makes good support or bad support.

One of the first things that came up was that the group felt we could include more personal stories about the people who use our services. Because we have services all over the country, our induction has lots of videos in it so that we can introduce our new team members to the different things we do without them needing to travel – and so that we can hear some of the voices of the people we support without having them in the room. But, as a member of our induction focus group pointed out, that meant that new staff can’t ask any questions they might have about that particular person’s story.
This struck a real chord with us; we want to make sure that both our team and the people we support have the chance to understand and be understood, too, so we all started having a think together about how we could make this better.

The group came up with the idea of actually having people we support at the induction in person, to tell people their story face-to-face, but instead of them standing up in front of a room full of people, they’ll each have their own tables around the room, the idea being that our new staff can go and take a seat with them in small groups, where they can get to know each other in a more personal, informal setting. We hope it’ll be less like a big presentation, more like a meet-and-greet. Our focus group are all just as passionate about telling their stories as they are about helping us raise the voices of people like them – so they volunteered to be our first round of speakers. They asked for support from our communications team to help them tell their story – whether that’s through a PowerPoint presentation or a leaflet for our teams to take away.

We’re proud to say our first new-style induction is happening in a few weeks’ time – we can’t wait!

Share Your Voice – the talk show

Shared Lives is all about supporting people to lead a more independent and fulfilled life, whilst living with a carer who is there for them when they need them.
A big part of life fulfilment comes from doing the things in life that you enjoy the most and developing skills and expertise in the things that interest you.
Our Shared Voices group meets on a monthly basis to think up new ways to make the Shared Lives offer great. It’s also a chance for people who use the service and their carers to get creative and really think outside the box. Over the last couple of months, John Paul and Lee, who come along to the group, had some ideas about being inside the box – the telly box that is!

To celebrate 100 years of PSS, the duo were keen to start their own talk show, interviewing people about their Shared Lives experience. So, with a little help from their friends, they’re doing it! Today, the pair met with our comms team to plan what they’d like this special show to look like, who they’d like to interview and how they could be supported to produce, film and edit the piece.

They’ll be making their cameos as presenters this Friday at the Shared Lives Centenary party. Watch out Ant and Dec!


Stocking up on some sunshine after lots of hard work

Tuesday 2nd June was a special day for the residents of Alfred Stocks Court, a Riverside retirement home in Liverpool. They got a brand new, beautiful garden to enjoy, courtesy of some of the people who use our Making Days South service.

Before our green-fingered bunch got their hands on the space just 12 weeks ago, it was pretty much derelict and needed a lot of love and care to make it into a space the residents could admire. But with the support of Jane from Liverpool Adult Learning Services and Tracey, one of the superstars who work at Making Days South, a green-fingered team of adults with learning disabilities were able to learn some useful gardening skills and help to transform the area.

Thanks to a lot of hard work and plenty of patience, the Alfred Stocks residents can now watch the flowers bloom in some lovely hand-made (with a big thanks to Chris from our Making Days South team) planters that contain a combination of plants, flowers, fruit and veg. One of the planters contains sensory flowers, like lavender, which was designed especially for those who may be visually impaired. Another is dedicated to growing some tasty fruit, herbs and veg, which the residents can come and pick to use in their kitchen. And the rest are dedicated to lots of colourful flowers.

The gardening team threw a big handover get-together yesterday, where the garden was officially given back to the grateful residents. The sun was shining, the BBQ was sizzling, and there were lots of happy, proud faces. Well done, guys!



Our Family Impact: Prisoners’ Families service supports families affected by having a relative in prison. There are support groups for children, for grandparent carers and for mums and dads with a partner in prison.This is a difficult time for the entire family and it can be particularly hard for kids. There’s so many questions to be answered, so much uncertainty about the future and so many challenges to think about in day-to-day life.

It’s good to have the support of people living through similar situations and also to have resources to go to for advice. Because it can be so hard to explain and to understand, we’re working with the kids who use the service and their families to produce a brand new guidance book.

The new ‘Don’t Worry’ book will explain each stage of imprisonment and how this affects the whole family. We’ve met with children supported by the service, who’ve given their feedback on what the book should look like, what it needs to cover and also provided extracts to feature in the book. The kids will even be helping us to design the front cover.

Based on what the children have told us, the new version will tell personal stories and be peppered with bits of advice from people who’ve lived and are living through these experiences.

One of the ways that kids cope is through making ‘missing you’ boxes filled with little knick-knacks that remind them of their parents. They can look at these boxes and remember them whilst they’re away from home. Here’s a snap of one of these boxes that will feature in the book.
Working together like this makes the end product so much more relevant and impactful. It will support kids like them to understand and cope with things better.


Watch it…

Our Watchdogs group is made up of people who use our Making Days South service. They gather every month and decide what the service should look like, how things can be improved and what should be introduced in the future.

Last weeks meeting was chaired by Kevin who delivered a presentation on what he likes about Making Days South as well as showing the group his video that was made at Dutch Farm a few weeks ago. He was super proud of this!

The group were also joined by Kate Gore, the disability hate crime officer who gave them information about what hate crime is and how to report it. Thanks for joining us Kate.




Talking italian…

There’s lots of different committees at PSS, created by the people who use our services. This is a place where they can share their ideas of how the service should look in the future.

The ‘Getting it Together Committee’ meets every month to talk about ways to grow and develop the Making Days service. This is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, where they can spend their days doing the things they enjoy most. There’s a centre in North Liverpool and one in South Liverpool.
From feedback gathered at these meetings, new groups and sessions are formed.

Lots of new activities have been set up based on how people would prefer to spend their time at Making Days. Recently, an Italian group was created based on the demand for new language skills from the people who use the service. Here’s Megan demonstrating what she’s learnt in just a couple of weeks. We think this is the most important bit of Italian you should have up your sleeve too! The group are getting together soon to share their foreign speaking skills (and a slice, or two of pizza!).