A group of dedicated service users and staff from Hightown Housing Association’s care and supported housing team have won a co-production award at the Regional Great British Care Awards.
One of Hightown's key values is to put people first and to achieve this they work in close partnership with the people they support. In 2018 the Housing Association created a voluntary group of service users, known as VoiceBox.
The members of VoiceBox have steadily grown over the years and now have 20 dedicated volunteers who regularly come together to review and scrutinise Hightown’s care and supported housing services. They represent 750 service users living in schemes caring for people with a range of needs, across services that cover: learning disabilities, mental health, homelessness, young people and mother and baby services.
The VoiceBox group focuses on improving the handling of complaints and members carry out mystery shopper visits to gain feedback from other service users to improve their support and living environment.
Members play a vital role in recruiting staff, and they create a range of newsletters, surveys and leaflets to keep people informed about the work that they do.
The VoiceBox group were recently recognised for their success by the Great British Care Awards at the Eastern regional awards ceremony held at MK Dons on 3 November.
The group were up against four other nominations for the Co-Production award and will now be entered into the National finals, next Spring.
Brendan, VoiceBox member, Hemel Hempstead, commented:
"I feel ecstatic that we won something as significant as this. It means a lot to me because this is my biggest achievement to date."
Abbey Oakley, Hightown's Head of Support for Care and Supported Housing, adds:
"I'm extremely proud of the VoiceBox group. The support we deliver is richer for their input. Their views, opinions, advice and guidance are vital for the continuous improvement of our services and our strive for excellence."