Hi, I’m Lucy Wren, Chief Executive at Carr Gomm.
I’d like to invite you to view and read the Carr Gomm Impact Report. I’m sure you will enjoy reading about the many achievements we have had this year, we’ve had so many.
But while you are doing this, I would ask you to have a think about the many people who are behind those achievements and stories; the amazing Carr Gomm staff, and the remarkable people we support.
This year, more than any other, while we all live through the Covid-19 experience, the remarkable skills, passion, compassion and creativity is so clearly on show in every single story we tell you in this report.
I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about our work, and that you feel as inspired as I do.
Thank you to openPASS for allowing us to share this video.
We want our staff to feel empowered, to be able to make good support decisions based on improved knowledge, and for people supported to have easier access to their personal information.
Care Planner will help support our rota management tasks, while PASS will be used for care management, including the safe storage of records and plans.
Ignacio’s idea helped us resolve a glitch with one of our internal processes. As a result, he has played an integral part in our efforts to introduce a new digital system, which will transform the way we manage daily care tasks.
The intention behind my idea was to improve systems for daily support between people supported and Carr Gomm staff.
Support practitioners and service managers previously used social care support applications including Carista and ClickGo. The applications empower people to have more choice and control over their support by giving staff access to detailed information.
I knew how each of these systems worked, but noticed a disconnect between the two. I felt we would benefit more from an integrated platform that combined the best features of both, allowing us to be more transversal in our approach.
My idea focussed on how we might develop better processes around recording how care was provided. For example:
I thought carefully about what requirements a system like this might need, and how it would operate. I then submitted my idea to our staff innovation programme, Futures. To my delight, the organisation was already working on developing a new system. I was thrilled to be offered an opportunity to join the development team, to share my ideas and expertise.
I had no related experience! My idea just evolved out of trying to find a fix for a minor difficulty with daily care tasks, so I was excited to delve-in and learn something new as a part of the development team. I can’t wait to see how this new approach transforms the way we work, and the way we provide support.
Yes! I would encourage anyone who has an idea to submit it to Futures; you really have nothing to lose. It’s all about coming up with fresh ideas, ideas that will help change the organisation, or the lives of both staff and people supported for the better. You may even be asked to contribute to something much bigger!
Learning to use Care Planner and Pass has been a great journey. These new systems are extremely user-friendly and help us make good support decisions based on real-time information. We already prioritise connecting people across the entirety of our organisation, and I have no doubt that Care Planner and PASS will only make things even better.
Paul tells us about the process of introducing new software, and why this was important for our organisation.
Introducing better organisational processes was a key focus of our latest Strategic Plan. Here, Paul tells us about how this aspiration became a reality.
As an organisation, we recognised that we needed to improve our organisational processes. We wanted to better our internal operations so that we could continue offering life-changing support to people across the length and breadth of Scotland.
We started by researching software that would allow our staff to manage the support they provide using one integrated system. We wanted to introduce a more intuitive data management system, something that was more user-friendly, and accessible to frontline workers.
It took some time to find what we were looking for, and in the end, we decided to invest in a new dual system using both the Care Planner and PASS platforms.
Feedback told us that our previous system was clunky, out-dated, and difficult to access. Small changes to care plans would require us to download, edit and re-save documents, eating into time that could have been spent with people. The processes were unnecessarily laborious.
Care Planner and PASS are fully integrated, so we won’t need to update multiple systems with the same information. Everything has been digitised, and the new system allows us to upload important documents quickly and easily. It’s a one-stop-shop of all care records and individual support plans, with strict access permission capabilities.
One of the key features we’re most excited about is that Care Planner and PASS can be accessed on the go from a phone or a tablet. This means that our team will no longer have to book into an office PC to make quick and simple updates to care records.
People supported can also download a personalised app to find out about changes that impact them, keep on top of visits, view progress notes, and access individual support plans. This is a game-changer within the social care sector, and will have a huge impact on transparency within Carr Gomm.
Training on the new system has been rolled out to most of the organisation, with Dundee and Forth Valley having their training before the end of December. That said, we will continue learning about the potential of these systems into 2021 and beyond.
We’re at a really exciting stage of the project now, and initial feedback has been hugely positive. Not only have we introduced a new fit-for-purpose system, but we’ve gone some way to improving digital connections; a key component of the original idea.
At the start of lockdown access to PPE was a challenge in Caithness due to its remoteness. Masks are not a usual part of our equipment used when providing our normal support. Initially supplies were low and sources were limited. But health and social care organisations pulled together during this tough time to support each other and ensure we all had access to the same PPE to enable us to follow guidelines – particularly when there was cross over care – to ensure everyone’s safety. This bodes well for future partnership working.
Our Covid-19 Coordination Group convened rapidly in March 2020 to ensure we did everything to keep people healthy, safe and well, and to influence national decision makers in regards to distribution of Personal Protection Equipment, testing and related policies.
Listen to Nikki talk about how we sourced PPE at a time when many others couldn’t, and how this enabled us to keep supporting Lindsay at home during the peak of the pandemic.
The Individual Resilience Group was also established to keep everyone updated during Lockdown via the Being Brilliant newsletter – giving staff the means to share ideas and to take on positive messages about wellbeing, for themselves and people supported.
We provided 382 bespoke packages to help maintain the health and wellbeing of people supported during lockdown.
We worked closely with people to understand what would have the greatest impact in alleviating boredom and anxiety, and then used Amazon wish lists to make it happen
The packages included a wide variety of things, such as puzzles, colouring books, stress balls, sensory items, board games, books, clothes, a wok, plants, puppets, art and craft materials.
On receiving a parcel, people’s responses were priceless – with tears of joy, laughter and excitement all round.
Two recent ideas were submitted by Emma and Caroline. Read their stories to find out how they’ve helped improve the lives of people we support, and challenged us to think differently about our organisational values.
Background: Our Futures programme gives a voice to staff members with ideas to tackle social isolation, and improve our organisation for people supported and staff members. Every idea is welcomed, and the Futures Group provides support to transform ideas into reality. As a consequence of the lockdown, and many activities being closed, Emma wanted to help people supported feel less isolated.
Idea: Emma worried that people would feel lonely and anxious during the pandemic; so she suggested an idea to host weekly coffee mornings to help tackle social isolation. With the support of dedicated funding from the Futures initiative, Emma set up informal sessions where staff members, people supported and Edinburgh partners could get together to bring back a sense of community.
Impact: The coffee mornings have been a huge success, and Emma has hosted five sessions, all with a great turnout. The attendees have been positive about the opportunity to be around people (socially-distanced of course), and it gives each person something to look forward to every week.
The coffee morning has really brightened my week. It gets me out of my flat and allows me to socialise face-to-face with other people – something that has been missing for me since March.
Background: The Carr Gomm Futures program challenges the status quo by providing a space and a voice for staff to get creative, problem-solve, and introduce ideas that make a positive impact on the organisation, and enhance the lives of the people we support and for our staff members.
All ideas are welcomed and there is no one size fits all approach to ideas. Staff members receive various tools to implement their ideas, with some getting access to funding.
Caroline suggested a Future’s idea to introduce a new Carr Gomm value, which better reflected the impact of our staff members.
Idea: Caroline’s idea challenged the notion of our organisational values by suggesting the inclusion of compassion for a deeper reflection of how our services and staff work. Compassion also represents kindness, which aligns with the Health and Social Care Standards.
Impact: Caroline was the winner of our 2019 Futures idea, and her suggestion was the catalyst for what has become an ongoing organisation-wide-conversation, involving staff members and people supported. Talks are now being held to discuss our values, and how adapting and strengthening them might help us get even closer to the beating heart of social care.
Carr Gomm Futures has created an environment in which we can all play a part in the success of our organisation.
It always seems impossible until it’s done
Andrew tells us about how this project is helping us create a strong working environment, and healthy organisational culture.
Listen to some of our team talk about their experiences, and the benefits of individual career progression plans at Carr Gomm.
The new career development and progression plan is personal to each practitioner. It enables them to reflect on their practice and provide evidence of the support they do. I really like the new format as it opens up an honest conversation about how support can be enhanced and how a practitioner sees their career progressing and developing.
The career progression plan is a new and exciting process of taking support practitioners on a journey of reflection, aspiration and opportunity. It builds self-confidence and provides scope for additional training, and furthers professional development opportunities.
It’s really about the best version we aspire to be as practitioners.
The career progression plan is a new and exciting opportunity for support practitioners to self-reflect in a unique and individual way, creating a pathway for their own career development and achievements.
To provide the best support, it’s essential to champion the development of reflective practitioners. Workers are always updating their knowledge and skills to cope with the challenges of the role, learn from past actions, and celebrate success. The personal competencies act as a tool for this by providing a clear set of evidence based requirements for the role. They not only provide a focus for the individual worker, but opportunity for group discussion and further training.
Compared to the old appraisal, it’s a very different style. However, it allows for more opportunity to reflect on my practice. I was able to put a lot of thought into my role as a support practitioner and the new process opened up an honest conversation with my manager about how I am fulfilling my role and what steps I need to take to help me progress.
I feel my career development in regards to gaining experience within my role is going well. I receive regular constructive feedback from my manager and fellow colleagues. I have come a long way in the nearly twelve months since I joined Carr Gomm, and have settled into my role and service well.
On the qualification side of things, I have not started that journey yet. It has, however, been clearly explained to me and I will be ready to take on this challenge when it comes.
To support all practitioners to do their job well now – and in the future – and to support managers to facilitate this – we’ve developed a golden thread of personal competencies that link our core structures.
Becoming an adult can be both exciting and frightening. Life opens up opportunities, possibilities and responsibilities; perhaps one’s own home, an income, bills to pay and new relationships to explore.
We support young people throughout Scotland to develop into young adults: making their own choices every day, living life to the full, achieving dreams and ambitions, and ultimately to live their best life.
Amy (22) has been supported by Carr Gomm for about five years, which has enabled her to go to college.
She is in a wheelchair and needs personal care support during her day at college as well as respite support at home a few days a week – which helps out her Mum.
Amy gets on well with her support team of Sarah, Lynn and Rebecca. Together they do artwork – Amy paints canvases and cards for friends and family, and baking – Amy has a tray on her wheelchair and can do most things from there.
Amy enjoys a girlie chat and a pamper session of facemasks, nails painting and having her hair done – she also likes having bright colours put in her hair.
Prior to lockdown they went on regular visits into town and around the community for shopping, coffees and bus journeys to build Amy’s confidence and allow her to do things for herself.
Sarah, who had known Amy for more than three years, said: “I’ve learnt a lot from working with someone in a wheelchair and finding the best, most appropriate routes to take”.
“Life is too short, and having fun is important, so I make the time with Amy as fun as possible. I don’t want her to miss out on anything. I want her to be able to do anything she wants – and she does. I enjoy my time with her – and I spend a lot with her. We’ve got to know each other well.”
Carr Gomm has supported Rian for more than two years. He is an energetic young man on the Autistic Spectrum who requires round the clock support in his own tenancy.
Routine has been very important to Rian but this is challenging during lockdown. Many of the staff have been innovative, trying to come up with ways to keep him entertained and channel some of his endless energy.
Outside he has a trampoline, a yoga ball which he loves to balance and bounce on, a large hopscotch game to play on and room to run around safely with staff and play his favourite game – tag.
Inside, Rian enjoys messy play with edible dough and decorating the windows with colourful rainbows.
Craig, his keyworker, said: “Rian is a very happy and giggly character. He’s constantly singing, dancing, telling stories and playing games. He is very inquisitive so he is always keeping us on our toes.
“Everyone in the team sees how excited Rian gets about these activities. They may seem small to us but to Rian they are huge – and they are huge for many other people we support. It’s taught me not to take things for granted and to try and get as much enjoyment and excitement out of these ‘small things’.”
We work with young adults in Argyll & Bute, Dundee, Edinburgh, Forth Valley, Glasgow, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.
Did you know that Britain is the loneliness capital of Europe? Many factors contribute to this, including social isolation, which can be further complicated by physical and mental ill-health, disability and poverty. Life transitions such as divorce, bereavement and unemployment can also be key triggers.
We fundraise to address the gaps in society that people fall into. With strong partnerships in local communities, we innovate and work together to ensure long-lasting legacies. Every penny raised goes directly towards our work connecting people and tackling loneliness and isolation across Scotland.
In 2019-2020, Carr Gomm:
The community projects and activities we champion and support bring together some of Scotland’s most vulnerable communities, encouraging connection and relationship building. Our work is inclusive and accessible to everyone, especially those who often feel isolated, with poor health or low self-confidence.
We strive to have a positive impact on the lives of people, families and communities – never settling for good enough, and always innovating, improving, developing and pushing boundaries in the pursuit of a more equitable society.
Our community growing projects use gardening and outdoor activities as the vehicle to actively tackle health and social inequalities in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities.
We work in partnership with local people and community groups, building relationships with them, listening to what they want to achieve, and working with them to make it happen. We are passionate about supporting people to improve their lives in a way that works for them.
Last year we worked alongside over 700 people, of all ages, through the provision of inclusive and accessible events and activities. This included:
After Nancy’s children started school, she found herself feeling isolated and lonely at home. She wanted to find new friends with similar interests, and gradually build her confidence. Nancy explained the initial impact of joining the gardening group:
I made new friends, was in a happier mood, and got out of the house and became more active… it got me talking to other people.
We can often forget that isolation and loneliness affect people of all ages, and from all walks of life. It is a silent killer. However, Nancy’s story is a healthy reminder of why our projects are important to so many people. With your support we can continue to fund these worthwhile projects, and do more to help people like Nancy.
CJ is just one of the many people who have been supported by the Craigmillar Community Grows project to build skills, confidence and self-esteem. It really is about changing lives for the better. CJ used to find getting to know new people difficult, but with personalised support and encouragement from the Carr Gomm team, CJ has come on leaps and bounds. With more confidence, she now enjoys working in the garden and making friends. Her isolation has significantly reduced and she now plays an active part in developing our community garden.
Karin, our community project worker, met Kenny during her work in Craigmillar.
Kenny used to be a labourer and bricklayer, and despite having heart problems, enjoys working outside. He describes himself as being a bit of a loner.
Joining the garden project has been hugely positive for Kenny’s physical and mental health. Before, boredom would often mean he would sit at home alone, forging an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Since discovering the Wauchope Community Garden in Niddrie, he is drinking less and saving money. Being outdoors and getting more exercise has helped Kenny lose weight and stop smoking, while spending time with others is helping him build relationships. All of which are vital to tackling social isolation and loneliness.
Edible Stories is an artist’s book co-created between local artist Morvern Odling and participants in the Craigmillar Community Grows project. The book contains handmade pages of recipes, stories, and art created by people of all ages and diverse backgrounds, joining in outdoor, social and culinary activities organised by Carr Gomm.
Arthur Buxey, a support practitioner within the Fintry Service applied for funding through Carr Gomm Futures to purchase materials for a gazebo, some compost and seeds to re-energise a once neglected space. They received the funding, and have created a beautiful communal garden, where people can come together, mingle, chat, enjoy the fresh air, assist with the garden maintenance, and even get to know their local neighbours.
Christmas arrived early in Oban with a festive themed hand bells and carol concert. Fumiko, our local support practitioner, decided to organise the concert following the great response she received last year from people we support and the wider local community. This year the concert attracted more than 100 people, raising over £200 – which went directly to support Carr Gomm’s local isolation and loneliness projects.
Club Fun is a project led by a group of people we support in Forth Valley. It tackles loneliness and isolation by offering opportunities for people to come together, build friendships and experience new things. The local Carr Gomm support team has been using fundraised money to fund Club Fun, and provide the tools and support for people to organise social activities.
Our Glasgow North West team has been busy bringing people together through a peer support group, Circle of Friends. Set up in early 2019, it aims to bring together individuals who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation through activities and group meetings. As relationships have grown and people have become more comfortable with each other, the group have started ‘skill swapping’. This involves sharing knowledge, skills and experiences which facilitates learning and helps further strengthen connections between people. It is fantastic to see people feeling able to open up like this with each other – and is tangible evidence of the success and impact of Circle of Friends.
Watch the video to learn how we’ve been upskilling staff to deliver expert healthy-living related support.
This has enabled me to focus on myself, and improve my health and wellbeing. I am now looking forward to an upcoming event, and feel good both physically and mentally.
I am now attending the gym regularly and try to plan ahead for my meals. This has helped me feel more relaxed and prepared for work. Planning is key. I have signed up for the Edinburgh half marathon and will start planning ahead to a full marathon.
Two of our Edinburgh services created a homemade gym in the communal garden that people supported could access.
They have seen a massive difference in mental health, general health, weight loss, sleep and overall fitness of the people who use it. They are all eating better too, and it has really boosted morale during lockdown.
Motivated by her involvement in the Health and Wellbeing project, Jill shows us her new workout.
Through a little creativity and a lot of determination, we’ve worked hard to provide both staff and people supported with access to different forms of technology, helping people stay connected and supported.
Some of the people we support are extremely vulnerable and many are also digitally excluded, so we’ve strived to create a positive environment, where:
Our goal continues to be to help people feel safe, keep minds busy, and live independently.
This year has taught us a huge amount about how we communicate, and the importance of staying connected. Read about how our services adapted to these most challenging of times.
Adapting to life in lockdown, Carol and Doris have been using video calls to catch-up with loved ones, with the aid of staff.
With last summer bringing a relaxation of rules and nicer weather, there were also opportunities for window conversations with family, something that both Carol and Doris were grateful for.
Craigmillar’s Food and Blether Group are meeting every Tuesday through Zoom to share recipes, friendship, and laughs.
A wide variety of meals have been cooked, including a traditional aubergine dish and homemade pakora. It’s proving to be a great source of community, and a friendly place where people can share resources.
Although our annual Forth Valley Forum went digital this year, it still managed to have the same impact as pre-covid get togethers.
Held on Zoom, managers, staff and people supported joined the forum to remember some of the recent challenges, and to celebrate all our achievements over these past few months.
Without regular family visits, Walter had been feeling lonely and was struggling to come to terms with the new normal. Step in our day responder team.
By using WhatsApp, they were able to make sure Walter could video call his family whenever he wanted. The first video call with his daughter was definitely a highlight for everyone.
Lorna has been part of the ‘Go Deep’ group, alongside participants from Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Greece.
Together they have virtually enjoyed discussing a range of different topics, such as the experiences of resilience they have seen in their communities, and what the future might look like.
Spark was developed to provide an online space for staff to share news, pictures and updates from what’s happening in their lives and services. It’s helped us all stay connected and fostered relationships across the whole of Scotland. We’re on a mission to make Spark the go-to internal social networking platform at Carr Gomm.
We are super proud of the stories, ideas, activities, and camaraderie from across our services in Scotland, and we know this important communication channel continues to mean a huge amount to both the people we support and our team.