Regard Group put service users at the heart of in-house newsletter

Guest editor Douggie from Hersham Road

Giving editorial responsibility for its in-house newsletter to the people it supports is the latest development from care-provider the Regard Group.

The autumn edition of the Group’s quarterly newsletter, entitled ‘The People’s Issue,’ features inspiring news stories and advice columns put together by some of the individuals they support, and also shows showcases their creative and editorial talents.

Articles include a feature on ‘Top tips from the people we support,’ with advice on running from Will (Cerrig Cornel), who has completed two 5k runs; on woodwork from Shaun (Longden Road), who enjoys building furniture from recycled wood; on gardening from keen horticulturalists Barry and Linda (Cloverdale); on how to make the most of a day’s fishing from angler Stephen (Llwyngwian Fawr); and on getting a job from Jonathan (Cecil Court) who successfully landed a paid job as a kitchen assistant.

Sandie Foxall-Smith, CEO of Regard – the UK’s fourth biggest private provider of supported living and specialist residential services in the UK for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury – welcomed this new initiative.

“Regard focuses on opening all sorts of new opportunities to ensure the people we support live their lives to the full, and it occurred to us that our regular newsletter, which is for them and about them, could also be produced by them,” said Sandie.

“This reflects our determination to provide support which is person-led, not simply person-centred, because we really value the input of the people we support in our wider business as well as their vital, but more obvious, guidance around individual care.

“Another current example is us asking the people we support to nominate themselves to join our Health and Safety committee, and their feedback indicates that they really value such direct involvement.”

Sandie personally wrote an ‘easy-read’ introduction to the eight-page newsletter about how much Regard’s staff value the involvement of the people they support in every aspect of their care, also thanking the numerous contributors to the newsletter and inviting feedback.

Simon, who lives at Regard’s Arden House service, demonstrated his creativity by designing and editing the page which featured the pick of the submissions for the annual art competition, while Douggie from Hersham Road, another guest editor, was involved in judging the annual photography competition and selecting which entries should appear on the page he was responsible for.

Other content included details of Regard’s ‘People’s Awards’ – another first for the care-provider, with all nominations for these quarterly awards coming on this occasion from the people they support.

Sandie Foxall-Smith said: “The nominations were so moving. It was wonderful to hear from the people we support, in their own words, how much they appreciate the progress we are enabling them to make in their lives.”

The awards recognised staff in the categories of ‘Living Our Values,’ ‘Continuous Improvement,’ and being an ‘Outstanding Team.’



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