Finding Your Voice 2017 #InvolvingPeople

In September last year, i took part in a course run by
Stellar Leadership
Who specialise in running leadership programs to help individuals become better leaders in their organisations.

Finding your voice

The Finding Your Voice program was set up speciffically for service users and carers to learn how to use their voice effectively within health care. It has been running for 3 years and is funded by the
Health and social care board
I was sent an application form for this by the local engagement officer for Guide dogs as she knew i was involved with the disability consultation panel for the local trust. There were only 10 places allocated on the program, so the application form was almost like a job application. People were then selected to join the program. Initially, i wasn’t sure what i would get out of the program, but i thought it would be good to go on and it was accredited too which is always good to have. Once you are selected, you have to commit to the 6 week course as well as doing a presentation on what you have learnt throughout at the end. The sessions were roughly every 3 weeks and they ran to January this year, where we had to do a presentation on what we had learnt before this was sent off to the
Institute of leadership and management
Who accredit you with a level 3 award in leadership and management if you complete the program and the presentation.

Throughout the program, you learn about things like Personal and public involvement, different leadership styles, emotional intelligence, intigrated care partnerships, as well as how to communicate effectively and getting your message accross in the right way. At the end, you have to do a presentation on leadership styles and effective communication and how to apply this to the work you do as a service user or carer. Wer were given access to the Finding your voice section of the website, where we could download things that were relivant to what we were discussing. A lot of the work was discussion based too which was good. Each week, we had a chance to write down something we maybe wanted to look up or find out more information about before the next session.

While everything was in print, all the documents we needed were typed up as word documents before being put in to pdfs on the website, which meant i was able to read them along with everyone else. This was brilliant and meant i could participate equally with discussions and things. I really appreciated this and made sure to feed this back to the facilitator. I was going to ask for the information in braille, but because it was available the way it was, and it probably would have taken the length of the program to get it in to braille, i decided to go with the way it was presented to me. After all, i braught my ipad along with me to each session.

Even though the presentations were done in January to the group, it took until today to get presented with our certifficates due to the external marking by the Institute of leadership and management and different things.


Today we were all called together to receive our certifficates for both the finding your voice program and a program called Involving people which was a level 5 certifficate in leadership and management and was designed more for health care staff to undertake. The event was held in
The Mac
And consisted of both service users and staff, as well as the Stellar Leadership guys and people who had completed both programs last year. There were presentations by speakers who had done both programs last year, followed by discussions with our tables on Personal and public involvement, or PPI and co production and how that could be made better. Everyone was encouraged to write down any feedback they had about the discussions on either a sheet of paper, or on the table itself, as there were what looked like place mats that could be written on which covered each table. There was also post it notes that you could write on and at the end of each discussion somebody from Stellar leadership came along and asked for feedback. There was an artist at the back of the room who sketched a picture of people speaking. We were then presented with our certifficates before more discussions took place before we ended with lunch.

It was a great day and we were well stocked with tea and water throughout. It was great to see so many people attending who had completed the programs through Stellar.

I would like to thank Stellar leadership for delivering the program and the certifficate presentations and for the Mac for hosting us.