Lyn Knights, Strengths Based Practice Implementation Lead reflects on Carer Voices sessions with the council in 2019 and 2020.

In September 2019, as part of our celebration of good practice, Tommy Whitelaw, spoke to social care staff at Leicester City Council. His messages of intelligent kindness strongly resonated with our adult social care department. Over the past year, we have been supporting a culture change by focusing on strengths based practice which puts people at the centre of all that we do.

Following Tommy’s session, we noticed that our conversations were focused around asking, listening and doing what matters to people. Practice was changing and examples of kindness were shining though.  Although this has always been the case, we began to celebrate this and hear about it more as we felt empowered to work more flexibly. In January 2020, Tommy returned and spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of adult social care staff. In total, 270 people have listened face to face.

Soon, Tommy will return to spend time with staff in care homes and care agencies to  emphasise that everyone can make a difference with the small (and larger) acts they do.

We now hear stories of kindness each day and ask ‘what can do to help’ and ‘is there anything else you’d like to tell me’ while taking the time to support people. It’s the little things that we’d all want, coupled with starting to refer to people  by their name or as ‘people’ rather than ‘service users’. Tommy has helped us celebrate humanity. This difference will continue, as the principles of what matters to people are now embedded in our new practice guidance. This will support our change in conversations and communications with the people we work with and support. Thank you for encouraging us to think about love and practice with kindness.

Our commitment to continue to make a difference to the people accessing our support started with a pledge tree, a summary of which is above.