Board On TourTuesday 7 February, 2023
It was destination Derbyshire for the Real Life Options Group Board meeting last week. The Leadership Team continue to travel the length of the country, keeping in touch with our operational teams and witnessing amazing examples of person centred support. With the new tenants settling into their new homes, Derbyshire seemed the perfect location for the quarterly board meeting with a service visit to our new supported living scheme in Swadlincote. For the Board of Trustees, it was their first visit to the development.
This was a meeting with a difference because for the first time, Service Managers were invited to talk openly and honestly to the Board about different aspects of running their services.
In addition to the usual managerial board matters and organisation updates, Head of Operations for Derbyshire, Julia Wallis and Locality Manager Amanda Leary presented and proudly discussed their experience of running and developing the new services from scratch.
Service Manager Jodie How who works across some of our established services, got the unique opportunity to talk about managing teams spread across a large geographical region. Jodie’s demanding, yet very rewarding role involves traveling across Derbyshire and Nottingham and brings with it various challenges, which combined with the pandemic had made work particularly tough. Jodie was grateful to be invited to speak about her experiences and be an advocate for her peers, who continue to do a fantastic job of supporting a range of vulnerable people.
Jodie said, “board members were really interested in what I had to say, and I was able to expand on my points, giving a positive view”.
Following the board meeting, the people we support were excited to welcome the board members into their new spacious apartments and share their moving in stories. The visitors were delighted to see the individual rooms that all looked totally different, it was clear to see that each person had a voice and choice in transforming their house into a home to be proud of.
Chief Executive, David Sargent reflected on the day, “It was a privilege for the Board, Leadership Team, and Members to be invited by people supported by Real Life Options to visit their new homes. The new purpose-built homes in Swadlincote and Ilkeston are state of the art and demonstrate the organisation’s focus on providing excellent support for people with learning disabilities and autism. Completion of Swadlincote was achieved despite the pandemic and economic challenges faced in social care. The Board and Members were very impressed, hearing directly from people supported by the organisation about their experiences of being involved in the design of their homes”.
Real Life Options prides itself on listening, we foster a culture of openness and honesty and appreciate constructive criticism and feedback to help us develop and improve.
Inviting employees who have daily interactions with the people we support to such an important governance meeting shows our dedication to working in close collaboration for the benefit of the people we support. The meeting raised important issues and helped prompt wider discussions on hot topics, which will influence decision making and help shape our services of the future.