Community workshops feed ideas into services review

May 4, 2021

IDEA Services has now held more than 40 community workshops around the country for families and friends of the people we support, as part of the National Services Review.

The workshops give family and whānau the opportunity to learn more about how IDEA Services operates and to give their ideas about how our programmes could work better. Many are co-hosted by an IDEA Services Area Manager and an IHC Association Chair, and are facilitated by external consultant Connect+Co.

Joan Cowan, IDEA Services Chief Operating Officer, says they’re now beginning to drill down and understand what’s important to each community.

“Families and whānau, and the people we support, have told us what is important to them, and we now have an ever-growing list of ideas and activities that are unique to each community. From here we’ve got the opportunity to develop some great new programmes as well as improve existing ones.

“We know people are keen to find out exactly how this will look, and these workshops will help inform those decisions.

“In the meantime we are working hard to ensure the temporary arrangements we have in place are working for the people we support as much as possible.”

Daniel Barnett, Eastern Bay of Plenty/Rotorua/Lakeland Area Manager, says a lot of the feedback in his two community workshops focused on appropriate age-related programmes.

“Families have really appreciated the opportunity for older people to start their days from home,” he says.

“We’re also hearing from others who want us to provide better services for young people living at home, who see our programmes as being catered towards older people.

“Others have said they don’t want us to lose sight of the importance of people maintaining regular social contacts with their friends.”

Elizabeth Goodwin from Connect+Co says although there are common themes, such as safety and people having fulfilling days, parents often say they want their family members to have reasons to get out of bed.

“Other themes have included future planning for people who are older or who are unwell, supporting people into work, and services for younger people,” Elizabeth says.

“The conversations are sometimes very lively and challenging – that’s fine as we’re there to listen and to understand what family members see as opportunities and challenges. We are really grateful that people take time to attend the meetings and have their say.”

In addition to family and whānau workshops, IDEA Services is running around 50 forums with the people we support as their views are critical in shaping future programmes. We are also offering all staff the opportunity to attend a staff workshop.

The schedule has had to be adjusted because of COVID-19 lockdowns, but Joan says she’s heartened by the number of people who are showing up, providing ideas and feedback and engaging in some robust conversations about what we can do to make things better.

“The next step is to morph these discussions and ideas into tangible programmes that really meet the needs of people in our services,” says Joan.

All the workshops are expected to be completed by the end of May.

Caption: Community workshops will help to shape future programmes for people with intellectual disabilities who are supported by IDEA Services.