Feedback from the people we support and their involvement is crucial to building stronger relationships, improving the quality of our services and shaping the future developments at New Directions. Our Residents’ Quality Group established in 2010 is one opportunity for residents to talk about the things that are important to them with members of the Board of Trustees who attend. The meetings take place regularly and everyone is welcome to take part. This lively user-led discussion group is a chance to have a voice, talk openly, be listened to and valued. Working together to make things happen is a vital element built on the foundation that individuals who receive a service are in the best position to help plan it and improve it. This ‘co-production’ approach helps New Directions to design something right in the first place that benefits everyone.

The trustees want to know about the people we provide support to, what is good about their lives and what they would like to change. The trustees at this group report back to New Directions’ CEO and the other board members and then translate ideas into actions. The people we support are experts by their experience and can awaken ideas that the charity may not have considered. The Residents Quality Group enables board members to get to know the people who use our services, everyone takes it in turn to speak and the meeting empowers the people we support to be influencers through their informal yet purposeful chat. Media Officer Abbi takes minutes at the meeting and creates an easy-read version distributed to every resident and tenant.

Abbi said, “The Residents’ Quality Meeting is a great example of successful two way communication between the board members and the individuals who use our services. The meetings are testiment to the co-production principles of equality, diversity, accessibility and reciprocity. The meetings increase the level of user-involvement, providing an honest exchange of views, key issues and lived personal experiences. This meeting demonstrates best practice, what works well in our services and why from the viewpoint of the individuals. I am delighted to be a part of these productive meetings that have promoted solidarity, developed the self-esteem of the people we support and provided a platform of equal opportunities. There is no “Them and Us” just “Us” working in partnership together to develop and drive up the quality of our services.”