Listening, learning, and leading through the lived experience of local people with multiple needs.
Our customers are people whose lives have been seriously affected by events and conditions over a prolonged period. They may present frequently at emergency health care facilities, drug and alcohol services, homelessness or mental health services. Similarly, our customers may also be well known to ‘blue light’ services such as the fire, police, and ambulance services. This will have led to a life of complex issues in which the person may feel trapped. Labels such as chaotic, hard to reach, or frequent flyer may have been applied to our customers by some services. There may also have been specific exclusions from services in the past. For some of our customers, they may even feel that services have given up on them.
Coordinating services with people experiencing homelessness, mental-ill health, addiction, and offending in combination.
Funded by the National Lottery
VOICES is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund as part of Fulfilling Lives: Supporting people with multiple needs. Stoke-on-Trent is one of 12 areas to share £112m over eight years. The programme is aimed at testing alternative approaches to tackling multiple needs. It will identify more effective ways of working and embed positive practice.
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ANDY MEAKINRole Title Required
Reporting to the Partnership Board, Andy has overall responsibility for the leadership of VOICES. His post university career began in the voluntary sector working with people experiencing long-term unemployment as a manager within the New Deal programme in Northamptonshire. Andy went on to work as a senior contract and quality manager in adult education before joining a Local Authority in 2003. Here, Andy managed the commissioning and contracting for supported housing services as leader of a number of successful transformation projects.
When he left the statutory sector in 2013, Andy worked as an independent management consultant for around a year. During this time he helped to develop the implementation plan for what was later to become the VOICES project. His interests outside of work include hill walking, reading, and motorcycles. Andy lives locally and is a twice graduate of Keele University.
BRUNO ORNELASRole Title Required
Bruno started working with homeless people in London as a volunteer in 2005. Since then he has worked in a variety client facing and management roles from care work with older persons, learning disabilities and supporting people with mental health and addiction difficulties. Bruno is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and spent some time travelling and working in Central America where he taught English as a foreign language in Mexico City. Bruno became a Senior Manager for the VOICES partnership since the start of the project in 2014 and is responsible for overseeing service delivery. Throughout his career Bruno has specialised in working in homelessness, offending, mental health and addiction services. He is currently studying for a Masters at Keele University in Safeguarding Adults, law, policy and practice. Bruno lives locally and outside of work he enjoys reading, camping and watching Liverpool FC.
SHARON SHARMANRole Title Required
Sharon manages the VOICES Learning Programme and Evaluation, reporting internal and external data to the national programme evaluators. Sharon has worked in community settings within Stoke on Trent for over 20 years in statutory, voluntary and private sectors and has completed university studies in Youth and Community and Business and Management. She has worked in management and senior management positions supporting people from a diverse range of backgrounds; these have included Youth and Community, Residential Care for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, New Deal for Disabled People and the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline. One of Sharon’s career highlights was working as the city’s International Youth Worker, organising and leading on youth exchanges between Stoke on Trent and the twin town of Erlangen in Bavaria, Germany. Sharon enjoys to travel and experience different cultures and when at home hobbies include upcycling furniture, cooking and cycling.
BEN WILSONRole Title Required
Working with VOICES volunteers and the Expert Citizens, Ben works alongside people with lived experience to develop opportunities for them throughout the city. Following his graduation from Keele with an MSc in Clinical Psychological Research. Ben started as a rough sleepers outreach support worker in 2013. Working in different projects in supporting homeless people to access opportunities. In 2014 Ben started at VOICES working as a service coordinator, working with other professionals to engage with entrenched rough sleepers. In 2015 Ben was seconded to work as Engagement manager for VOICES, which became the permanent community development manager post today. Ben’s likes includes, marvel films, circuit training, and video games.
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