“A wonderful place to live and work.” See how Jill achieved her vision for The Grange

January 24, 2019

Led by an inspiring, award winning Manager, our newly refurbished service for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs shows active support and person centred support at its very best.

Relaxed and calm yet vibrant and buzzing with positivity -there’s something truly special about the environment at The Grange that can only really be appreciated by experiencing it for yourself.

In the last 18 months the service has undergone a significant transformation that has resulted in a re-energised and motivated team and supported individuals achieving things their families never dreamed possible.

The catalyst for this transformation has been service manager, Jill Cowdry who after joining the service in June 2017, immediately set about implementing her vision to make The Grange ‘a wonderful environment to live and work.’

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW TO SEE ACTIVE SUPPORT AND PERSON-CENTRED SUPPORT AT ITS BEST

Jill’s strategy for achieving this involved adapting the environment to the people who live there; ensuring individuals were at the heart of everything they do; and ‘actively supporting’ individuals to grow in independence by supporting them to do more for themselves.

Focusing on the support team and ensuring they were well supported, well trained and confident to support individuals with a range of complex needs was also central to making the vision a reality.   

Reflecting on the journey the service has taken, Jill explains that it has been a “massive piece of teamwork” which has also involved considerable input from the Positive Behaviour Intervention Team who have been supporting the service ever week. “It’s not just something that happens. It’s taken a year and a half and a lot of hard work,” said Jill.

‘Positive Behaviour Support’ has been crucial to achieving positive outcomes and improving the quality of life for individuals living at The Grange and Jill a qualified Positive Behaviour Management (PBM) coach has made sure that the person-centred approach has been fully integrated into the service by ensuring every support worker is fully trained in it.

As Jill explains, “It’s about really getting to know the person, knowing the things that will distress them so that you can spot those triggers and de-escalate situations before they turn into a behaviour.”  

Jill has also used Positive Behaviour Support to identify and reduce stress within her support team. Producing a stress survey, she discovered the team were sometimes thinking things were their fault and were going home worrying about it. To resolve this Jill introduced a debrief between staff finishing and starting a shift so that there was a safe place for them to discuss anything worrying them. “It’s made a massive difference here to the way staff feel about doing their job,” Jill said.   

The positive impact Jill’s management of The Grange has made to the lives of those living and working within the service has also been recognised at a wider level. The service’s latest CIW report, published in November 2018 includes comments from health professionals highlighting the positive change in culture and the wonderful job being done by staff, with one describing their work as “appropriate, insightful and innovative.”

Relatives interviewed during the inspection also acknowledged Jill when describing the positive difference they had seen in their loved ones, with one commenting that “since the manager has been here, ‘X’ is doing a lot more for himself. He is happy and laughing.”

Perhaps the greatest recognition for Jill has come from her own colleagues, one of whom, secretly nominated Jill for the National Care Awards, Learning Disability Service Manager of the Year Award 2018 – an award she then went on to win in November 2018.  

Meeting Jill, it’s not difficult to see why the award and praise are well-deserved. Talking animatedly as she describes the achievements of each of the individuals supported at The Grange – who she affectionately calls ‘our boys,’ her face lights up and you can’t help but feel inspired.

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