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Learning Programme Update

VOICES learning programme
By Sharon Sharman, Learning & Evaluation Manager, VOICES The VOICES citywide partnership learning programme continues to engage professionals and services from across Stoke-on-Trent.  In 2018 we achieved delivery of: Working with Expert Citizens C.I.C. we also codesigned and co delivered bespoke workshops with specialist teams:  these included engaging with Consultants, Nursing Teams, Administration and Occupational Therapy Teams within the Accident and Emergency Department at Royal Stoke Hospital and, more recently, the Stoke and Staffordshire Adult Safeguarding Board.   All our learning events offer delegates the opportunity to provide feedback, including ideas for future events.  People who attended last years’ events requested further opportunities to better understand mental ill health and ‘trending drugs’ as well as preventing death by drugs.  We have responded to these requests by commissioning high quality courses that meet these requirements.   New courses can be viewed on the VOICES website at http://www.voicesofstoke.org.uk/learning/   If you have requested your details to be added to our learning contact list, you will receive automatic notifications of new opportunities.  If you are not currently on our list, you can request to be included by contacting me directly at Sharon.sharman@voicesofstoke.org.uk    … Continue Reading

Shared Learning creates an Integrated Approach and Holistic Support

VOICES job centre
Written by: Steve Gaunt, Employment Advisor – Families Matter Initiative, Department for Work and Pensions As DWP Workers with various job roles, both in the Jobcentre and out in the community, we support similar client groups as VOICES; very often those who have the most complex needs. Over the past few months we have attended a wide variety of courses provided by VOICES including Managing Conflict, Compulsive Hoarding and Working with Substance Misuse. These courses have all been delivered to an exceptionally high and professional standard. They have all been very informative, covering both theory and practical applications. The materials have been designed using a high proportion of local content reflecting the difficulties of clients we meet within Stoke on Trent so are particularly relevant; case studies and video recordings of people with lived experience. The courses have all provided ample opportunity for guided skills practice. One thing that really works well in the VOICES learning programme is that each course has been attended by staff from a variety of other support organisations and, as such, provided not only an opportunity to practice skills from different perspectives but also an excellent networking opportunity. Each course has also led to a deeper understanding of… Continue Reading

Stoke-on-Trent CoP – Past, Present and exciting future

VOICES CoP
by Steve Freeman, Chair, Stoke-on-Trent Community of Practice Communities of Practice (CoPs) generally and Stoke-on-Trent Community of Practice (StokeCoP) specifically have an impressive pedigree. From community development projects in America to the harnessing of technical expertise in the UK CoPs have been harnessing untapped resources for years. The Little Miracles report from 2013 describes a project in which the impact of CoPs was assessed http://www.revolving-doors.org.uk/file/1808/download?token=hADIbO3p. Stoke was one of the research centres and the legacy group was developed by key CoP members Bruno Ornelas and Sarah Wilshaw. Phase two of Stoke’s CoP came with the introduction of a solution focused practitioner as chair/facilitator and the development of ideas from the defunct Staffordshire Community of Solution Focused Practice which had been established and run by Carl Plant and Steve Freeman. So much for the history. What has StokeCoP actually done over the past few years? What difference has it make from its early days? Who has noticed a change? And what have they noticed? One of the most important things has been the development of a discussion forum with measurable impact on systems change and peoples lived experience in Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. This forum has seen a broad range of experience and expertise. Expert… Continue Reading

Some people need a damn good listening to!

VOICES listen to me
By Steven Talbot Steven is an independent deliverer of training, who contributes to the VOICES learning programme It is often the case that when we attend training, we hear anecdotal stories of customers and service users and what we, the ‘WORKERS’, have done or could do to support them.  We’re frequently told by very clever people what we can do to support people.  We nod along, munch away on our buffet, (‘delightful!’) and make our notes and think, ‘Well wasn’t that nice’ and return to work.  Sometimes we put what we have learned into practice and other times we revert back to type, we’re stressed, we’re ambivalent, we’re set in our ways and anyhow, we remind ourselves that we do a very good job. We hear on the news of the hundreds of people left waiting in corridors at A and E and it leaves us feeling that the NHS is in dire straits.  We read about chronic under funding and we are enraged.  Then we vent on Facebook and Twitter or sigh and tut and discuss with our friends, ‘How has it got to this?’  To put it bluntly, it is quite difficult to empathise with a statistic. When we hear the… Continue Reading

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