People supported by Livability had the opportunity to meet with HRH The Princess Royal at a recent, co-produced event, where the princess met the charity’s Changes for the Future Forum – and discussed key issues, chosen by forum members, that directly affect their everyday lives.
The event’s ‘round tables’ were drawn from Livability’s care and education services – all represented by forum members, who showcased the work they have been doing in three thematic areas. The Princess Royal, Livability’s patron, engaged keenly with the process, asking questions of the groups and acknowledging the challenges that they faced.
One group discussed the impact of the rising cost of living with the princess, who agreed this was a central topic because at the root of the issues we face today. The many ideas put forward by the group included shopping around, from Philip, who advocated only buying what you need and trying own brands and budget stores. Catherine said it would be helpful to have support to compare prices. The princess was impressed with a forum member who is growing their own vegetables. On energy costs, people commented that they were trying to ‘switch things off’ to save energy and not to leave appliances on charge for longer than necessary. The princess suggested batch cooking as another way to keep costs down.
Forum members plan to share their work and recommendations to people we support across the organisation, via accessible media. They are currently working on content and design for a video and booklet on beating the cost of living crisis. The video will feature forum members sharing top tips and ideas, and will be shown at Livability meetings for people we support across the organisation, and in other contexts.
Tackling the recruitment crisis, which Livability is experiencing along with many in the care sector, was another area of concern for forum members. The forum plans to produce videos for the charity’s recruitment web pages, to unpack what working in care is really like, include interviews with those supported by Livability and with current staff, and challenge perceptions about working in social care.
Ideas include ‘day in the life of’ footage from a service, people who use the service speaking to camera about what they need from their support and what is valuable in their lives, and staff sharing their views on working for Livability. Forum members also suggested including mention of Livability’s faith-based ethos and how this works out in practice. One video will be targeted at potential applicants and the other at staff induction stage.
This event was an ideal platform to show Livability’s commitment to Co-production, for a co-productive approach, says Head of Quality and Co-production Liz Salmon: ‘It’s about working together with people we support to share power and making decisions about what matters to them, from design to delivery. For instance, designing a range of resources to ensure people we support are involved in interviewing and making decisions about the staff who will be supporting them. This could happen in a range of ways, this could be playing an active part in recruiting the staff who will be supporting the person with disabilities. This means involving them in those decisions in a range of ways such as greeting interview candidates, being part of the recruitment panel or speaking to candidates before or after interview.’
This event is one of the outcomes from Livability’s commitment to working co-productively wherever possible with the people we support.