The ‘People’s Voice’: our Partnership Forum
ubu’s ‘People’s Voice’ is a Partnership forum made up of a group of people who said that they wanted to take part in talking about the things that we think are important. At our meetings we want to discuss ideas and to help to make the service we get even better by giving feedback and suggestions. Each of us were nominated and then voted for, by our peers, people who like us are enabled to live in the way we choose with greater independence in the heart of our communities. We represent each of the different areas of the country we live in. We’ve agreed to meet regularly at People’s Voice meetings where we will talk about what people have told us is good about the service that we have from ubu and to share some ideas about how to make things even better.
In September, we held our first ‘inaugural’ meeting following our Peoples Voice election in July. We met up in Harrogate to talk about how our partnership forum would operate and bring our own ideas to the table about the sort of things we want to talk over. Now we’re getting ready for our next Partnership forum so we thought we would write about what this forum really means to us and how we think it will help to make for new opportunities for all of us to live with even more happiness and independence.
ubu gives us person-led enabling and support when we need it and one of the things we agreed on was that we want to be at the front, leading the way we make decisions about what happens in our lives. This is why we think that the People’s Voice forum is so important and why we want to hear the voices and opinions of the people ubu serves. We want to know what matters to the people we live with or know. Then we can share what we have found with ubu team members, give our feedback and ideas about how we think they can give us an even better and more effective service. This forum gives us a chance to bring along our ideas and queries and talk about them with people who we know will really listen to what we have to say.
Sarah, who was elected by people enabled to live with more independence in the West Yorkshire area, said that “the forum was so much fun, we talked and laughed loads but much more importantly we were all there to talk about us, our roles as representatives and how we could help each other. I know I’m there because people say that I’m a good listener. I want to make sure that we are listening and then getting things done!”
We’ve also decided that there will be local meetings in each area and these sessions will allow each of us as representatives to meet with the people who live in the different regions to talk more about the things that matter most to each of them and bring those ideas and comments back to the main People’s Partnership Forum meetings.
Our first get together in September was an introductory meeting. We discussed how we would like future meetings to be run and how we could make it fun to attend and join in. We kept notes about the topics and ideas that came up and we will be returning to them in our future forums. We talked about the ubu team members and how we can help to get the people we want to work for us and we also talked a lot about how we can get the best support when we are looking for work and ways to contribute to our communities. We thought that it is always important to talk about finding ways to be healthier and improve our feelings of wellbeing.
We decided to hold our next meeting early in December and there will probably be so much to talk about. We plan to carry on discussing issues many of us have around finding meaningful and paid work, going on holiday, and our roles in the religious festivals we choose to take part in that happen around the Christmas season.