This is my journey as a Council rep for the South East region, for which I have already served two years.
This has been the best time and it has been so fulfilling – who could believe that you’re given the opportunity to be part of going to Parliament and getting MPs to sign our Social Care Charter? Don’t get me wrong, it has some disadvantages, in my case it’s the early mornings and travel, but oh boy there is so much I wouldn’t change.
In September 2014, I was re-elected by the people who I represent in the South East, and then elected as Dimensions Council Co-chair. But, that was a tough few months and I nearly turned down the appointment. My dad, Peter, had just passed away and it was a tough time for my family. But, before my dad passed away, he wanted me to attend the first Council meeting, which I did, and it’s in his memory that I do this role.
All my family are so proud of what I am doing. They have seen a new me, who likes a challenge and gets so much out of it. Sadly, dad didn’t see me elected as Council co-chair and also working for Dimensions as a Quality Consultant.
I know that being on the Council has given me the inner strength to come up with ideas within a group or even individually. I am open-minded and I can look at people’s views from different angles (as someone supported by Dimensions and as Council Co-chair).
I find that my role can be like putting a jigsaw together. When I am in a meeting with my fellow Council reps, you know there is going to be so much energy in the room and you see people open up. People get stronger and their shyness fades, which is great.
I think my time ahead on the Council is going to be so fulfilling with great challenges, but the most important thing is that the people the Council represent are not compromised and I personally believe in the five pledges that our Social Care Charter covers. I work with 13 other Council reps who are as equally committed for their respective regions.
I also work alongside another Co-chair called Steve, who is appointed by Dimensions Board members. Steve and I work with a team of excellent staff and arrange agendas for each meeting. Sometimes I travel to various meetings as co-chair, that’s pretty special and I feel so equal to the others in the meeting. I love taking part and hope that I make a difference.
As Council rep, I also work with local groups called Everybody Counts, which discuss what’s working and not working in the region so that we can work to improve the services that Dimensions can give. People’s views are so important and I love listening to the good or bad from staff or those like myself who pay for the service. We have some wonderful staff out there who are the heroes for Dimensions and as council rep I love seeing and hearing that.
Steve is retiring as co-chair of the Council soon but I’m sure his replacement will be just as committed. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey.
Dimensions Best practice blog: 8/6/15