I visited 11 services last week and was particularly impressed at Chetwynd Road in Portsmouth and 59 Bury Road in Hampshire with their ‘wall of positivity’ and ‘tree of positivity’. Both services have a place where they record and celebrate achievements by people they support and staff. I think this is a great way of recognising achievement and boosting staff morale. I was also very impressed with Chetwynd Road to hear about one of the tenants who attends mainstream bowling club every week where he has got to build relationships with his local community. This is a great example of social inclusion.
On a sadder note, we unexpectedly lost 2 of the people we support in the last week or so. One person lived at 57 Bury Road in Gosport and the other person lived at Trafalgar House in Bexhill. I went to visit both services last week and was hugely impressed by the commitment shown by the staff teams in what has been very difficult circumstances for them. A big thank you to them and my condolences for the sad loss of 2 people who were very much valued and I have personally known for over 9 years.
Whilst out and about, I did take the opportunity to look at weeds. Having given fair warning in the previous blog, I am now going to announce ‘Weed of the Week’ in my blog every week. In second place was Twyford Gardens in Worthing, where the lawn also is in urgent need of cutting, and in first place is Lewes Road in Eastbourne which has some real whoppers in the car parking area at the front. Having said that, I did meet a lovely new support worker called Lily while I was there who immediately went to find some garden gloves, weed killer and a trowel, so I’m sure the place is looking better already.
My other seasonal hobby is flip flop spotting. Our health and safety guidelines are very clear about our staff dress code and it is not acceptable for staff to wear flip flops or open toed sandals to work unless they have a foot condition supported by a Dr’s letter. Despite this, I regularly encounter flip flop wearers when the weather gets warmer. So far this summer, I am up to three!
One other piece of news I’d like to share with you is that we have decided following a successful pilot, to roll out our new staff discount card scheme across the organisation. This is something we have discussed with our staff reps and we are paying for it by scrapping the ‘refer a friend’ scheme. Unlike the old discount card, which wasn’t very popular because you had to spend money in advance, this new scheme is much better and gives people discounts on a range of shops, restaurants and even on cinema tickets. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our staff representatives. This is a system we set up 2 years ago, as a direct result of feedback from one of our driving up quality days. Staff said that they didn’t have enough opportunity to discuss issues with senior management in CMG and we implemented a staff representative system where every service across the country has a staff representative and we meet them every few months in different parts of the country. I am hugely impressed by the enthusiasm, positivity and good ideas put forward by the staff reps. We have a really good dialogue about issues in CMG and there is never any moaning about issues, just creative suggestions to challenge the organisation. To give one example, we are now going to be implementing a driver bonus. This involves paying a service a bonus of between £250 and £500 if there is very little damage done to the vehicle and the small repair charge at the end of a lease contract. It is a win win because CMG saves money on repairs and drivers are rewarded for looking after the vehicle.