Driving up quality
Friday 12 June 2015

Driving Up QualityIt’s been a busy time at our Elm Tree Farm project in Bristol with an Open Farm day on Sunday followed by a Driving Up Quality Day on Monday which I attended.

'Follow the path to the marquee' I was told as I arrived and parked in a field already full with cars. As I made my way through the farm, I could see that everyone was still buzzing from what turned out to be a great event the day before with 'crowds of people' coming to see for themselves what happens at the farm. One staff member even commented 'It’s the first time I’ve had to queue to get into the farm' and 'I struggled to find a parking space.'

Focus back on the day ahead, I made my way past the pigs, chickens and impressive market garden, which looked full of life in the morning sunshine, to the aforementioned marquee.

The day was organised in follow-up to last year’s initial events and is a result of Brandon Trust signing up to the Driving Up Quality Code. The code has a self-assessment process which encourages stakeholders to come together, from people we support, managers, support staff, families, housing providers, board members and commissioners, to listen to each other, recognise the good things Brandon Trust are doing, whilst also acknowledging what we could do better, and to find new ways to drive up the quality of what we do.

Driving Up Quality Group WorkI had the added incentive of a hot dog waiting once I'd taken part in different discussions about the five key areas from the Driving Up Quality Code, but could see already that people were in full debate about all things Brandon. Topics included looking at how support is focussed on the person and looking at how care and support focusses on people being happy and having a good quality of life.

With facilitators on hand to explain the different focus questions, I was invited to write my thoughts, good and bad, on a card to display on stands at the event, and later used to consider action points following the event. I met a mixture of people from staff to people we support and also volunteers, and found it great to hear their thoughts on what they do and how they fit into the Brandon jigsaw. Once I explained I was part of the Communications team, it was also useful to get staff feedback on the work our team does, positive stuff plus suggestions on how we could perhaps improve what we offer.

Personally speaking, it was a really good exercise and experience for me and I'll take several thoughts and ideas from those I spoke to forward in my work with Brandon. I look forward to seeing the results of the day and the other Driving Up Quality Days being hosted across Brandon in the coming weeks.

I'll leave the last word to a person we support, who I met while eating some lunch by the barbecue, who when I asked what they like about coming to the farm simply said: "It’s great here."

Tim Gray
PR and Social Media Manager