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Consensus Voices Forum 2023

There’s nothing we love more than getting together with others, having fun, learning new things, and sharing our thoughts and ideas – and the Consensus Voices forum is a chance for the people we support to do just that.

Now in it’s fifth year, we welcomed 46 people through the doors for our 2023 event this month, exploring topics that will help us shape our services into being even more amazing places to live, with the people we support at the helm.

Leading the event were our phenomenal Quality Checker team – John, Louis, Kelly and Tammy – who presented with such confidence and passion. Their commitment to ensuring everyone has a voice here at Consensus was evident in the topics they brought forward, and their way in which they had everyone in the room getting involved in discussions, activities and even a cheeky bit of dancing.

Our compere, Louis, helped to talk us through the day which included some of the following highlights:

 

Art & Possibilities: We were introduced to a new project, led by talented artist Theresa, who wants to get everyone involved in all things creative. Her passion to share the benefits of art and creativity, and the possibilities of what we can achieve by empowering disabled artists to have a platform to showcase their work, was clear. There is a huge amount of excitement around this project – and we’re looking forward to kicking this off in our services very soon – before sharing with the world!

The Right Language: An insightful topic that saw everyone contributing to what language they find offensive, upsetting, and just not ok. For example, let’s not refer to someone by saying “they are challenging” or refer to an action as “challenging behaviour”. This was beautifully summed by in Tammy’s opening comments where she said – “Everything a person does is communication – and those supporting them need to be tuned in and learn the individual’s language.” The consensus was to ensure people are listened to, unlabelled, and simply treated as a person.

All About Recruitment: We were joined by our fantastic recruitment team who talked us through how they recruit new staff into our services, and this was followed by John who shared what attributes he’d be looking for in his ideal support worker. Everyone got involved in writing their own job descriptions for the perfect support worker and we loved some of the answers. If you’re good at cooking, enjoy puzzles, are chatty, arty or even like ballet – then we’ve got the job for you!

Cookery Masterclass: Kelly came prepared to the forum with a video she’d worked on in one of our services – where she interviewed Nick as he prepared a meal and walked us through this step by step – to introduce her idea of a Consensus Cookbook. To ensure everyone around Consensus can follow our favourite recipes, we need to ensure that instructions are very clear and simple – so we enjoyed an exercise where we had to instruct staff on how to make a cup of tea which didn’t quite go to plan and left us all belly laughing. Mopping up the milky spillages helped us to understand the need to provide clearer instructions on where to pour the milk and exactly how much! We can’t wait to see some of the recipes sent to us over the next few weeks.

Superstar Special Guest: We were honoured to be joined by Jelvis who, with a little accompaniment from Louis and Dave and lots of dancing guests, serenaded the crowd and set the room alight.

Thanks to everyone who made the day such a memorable one. You’ve certainly given us plenty to get stuck into and we cannot wait to start bringing these ideas to life, seeing all the ideas, contributions, creativity and feedback that flow from the people we support over the coming months.

So in the words of Jelvis himself, “Thank you very much!

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