Involving people in decisions that affect them is an essential quality of the person-centred support we provide.  It leads to better outcomes and provides us with a feedback channel that helps us identify areas in which we can improve.  Consulting with and involving people we support in our decision making processes is also a requirement from both the CQC and local authorities, which is another reason why we work hard to ensure that inclusion and involvement underpin everything we do at Hft.

Voices to be Heard (VtbH) is an organised network comprised of people we support that extends from service level all the way up to the national ‘committee of council’.  The VtbH members volunteer their time to champion the needs, rights and dreams of all people supported by Hft. The group is highly regarded around the organisation, and are frequently consulted on future development ideas.  Over the years they’ve played a big part in influencing the direction Hft takes on key projects, and have even worked to respond to Government consultations.

At the Voices to be Heard meeting in September though, it was a time of change for the national group. Gemma, who had been chair of VtbH @ Council for six years, had given notice earlier in the year that she intended to step down, so the group had to select a new chair.  In the end though, the two shortlisted applicants were so good, the group decided they needed to find positions for both of them! We caught up with Gemma and the people replacing her and asked them for their thoughts.

Gemma, the outgoing Chair said: –

“I have been a Voices to be Heard representative for six years and chair for three years, and co-chair of Voices to be Heard @ Council.

“I have grown in experience and confidence during this time. We have supported people to have a voice to make major changes in Hft and provide feedback for Governments. One of our major achievements is that we are now a ‘committee of council’.

“I have decided to step down because I am now working part time and have lots of other commitments. I feel it is time to hand the role on to someone new.

“I would like to thank everyone I have met and worked with over the years. We need to make sure that this important work continues.”

Rebecca, the new VtbH @ Council Chair said: –

“I can’t wait to start working with the new team, who are warm and welcoming. TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More!”

Henry, the new Vice-Chair said: –

“I feel it is important to have a voice. I am glad I got the role, to improve on Hft’s support.”

If you’d like to find out more about the work that the Voices to be Heard group get involved in, take a look at our Involvement at Hft page.