Meet Sarah Evans, Reach’s new Service User Engagement Officer.
Sarah joined Reach 8 years ago as a team manager.
She has worked in a number of roles whilst working for Reach, including her role as a Person Centred planner for 2 years and within the Learning and development team (linked with Supported Living Services) for 1 year.
Sarah missed the operational side of her work so came back into a team manager role, where she managed 3 supported living schemes in Cardiff before transferring to work in the Newport area, managing 3 Supported Living schemes, supporting 9 people in total, each with a range of abilities and disabilities and requiring different levels of physical and emotional support.
“I’ve always been interested in the person centred side of support, making sure everyone we support has a voice and that people are really involved in the care that they receive and the decisions that are made about their lives. So when the opportunity came up for this job, it just seemed like the perfect chance for me to get back to what I have a real passion for.
The new social services and wellbeing act has come into force and that’s where my passion lies. It’s all about people having a voice so I can’t wait to get out there to make sure we are doing everything we can and finding every way possible to get people involved in Reach; whether that’s tenders, policies and procedures, giving people a say in how we go forward as a business, how we continue to provide care and a say in what their care and support looks like.
“The people we support have always been our focal point and we need to act on people’s views and opinions.”
This new role will give service users more control over the decisions that are made about their lives, a lot more involvement in what their support looks like and more involvement in Reach, the company that provides their support.
No matter what barriers some individuals may face, we will support people to find their voice and to give their views and opinions about what matters to them. Also, giving people a chance to suggest what changes they would like to see and be involved in those changes.
My Goals, aims and aspirations in this new role is to really mould this role around our people that we support. It must work for individuals and not be at all tokenistic.
What I really want to see is active, live and natural engagement so that over time, people become more empowered and are able to build some of their own support networks, reflective of the passion and enthusiasm that people display each day. This role may be new to Reach but much of what we want to achieve by having the role is not entirely new. We want to strengthen:
· Involvement in decisions that are being made about people’s lives
· Consultation about services Reach provide across the business
· Co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating service involvement and activity
We want to hear people’s voices more and more…….we want to understand what matters to them. We want to build relationships, confidence and overall involvement.
This new approach will ensure that the people we support have a voice across all aspects of their care and the organisation that provides that care.”