At Exemplar Health Care, we believe that our care homes are better with meaningful input from the people who live and work there.
One way that we facilitate this is through our Service User Ambassador initiative.
Each of our care homes has a Service User Ambassador who works with colleagues and managers to make important decisions and get involved in projects that impact their lives.
Valuing lived experience makes our services a better fit for the people who use them. We see personal experience as a strength!
Taking part in co-production also has a powerful impact on everyone involved, increasing confidence and self-worth, and providing valuable skills and knowledge.
Working in co-production opens up new opportunities, and we believe this is where the magic across the company happens. Our service users bring a perspective that colleagues might have overlooked.
Our Service User Ambassadors play a vital role in promoting a culture where everyone can share challenges, identify solutions and problem solve, together.
Chris is one of our founding ambassadors.
Chris has lots of roles at Thames House, where he lives in Rochdale. One of his favourite roles is co-delivering induction sessions for new colleagues.
The induction is an important part of our new colleagues’ career journey with us. They learn more about the company and our values, as well as complete training relevant to their role.
Chris co-runs one of the induction sessions which covers all aspects of service user engagement including meaningful activity, dignity, respect, co-production and involvement.
Having one of our service users co-deliver a session, provides new colleagues with a personal insight, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions before they start working in their home.
It beings the personal touch to their induction and an insight that cannot be gained purely from listening to presentations.
Chris has a natural sense of humour, which makes him brilliant at this role. His input makes the sessions fun, relaxing and very personal for everyone involved.
Co-delivering the session also brings lots of benefits for Chris. Being an ambassador gives him a sense of purpose and he loves meeting new people.
Chris shares: “I’m the ambassador of Thames House and I’m responsible for doing the will of the people.
“In the past, I’ve always been in charge of my own company or a director of a company. I like to keep busy so I took on the ambassador role here.
“As an ambassador I help the manager interview new people to work here. I generally tend to be the light hearted one, whereas she asks the serious questions – and we generally get some good people.
“I also talk to people when they start working with us. I talk to them about life in my home and my role as an ambassador. I end the session with a summary of key messages and tips for staff as they start their new role.
“They ask me questions which I answer. I prefer this style as it allows me to inject my own personality, and means that I don’t need to learn a script or prepare a speech!”
Our new colleagues love hearing from Chris during their induction. This session is often rated the highest in colleague feedback.
It facilitates education through personal expertise and experience, and brings a personal perspective to people’s learning.