Get involved

We know our services are better when our customers work with us to deliver them. The benefits for you too can be endless.

Our commitment to you

We are committed to involving our customers through our Customer Involvement and Co-Production Strategy; some of our key objectives are:

Keep you updated on decisions or changes that impact you

Provide a range of options to empower and enable you express your views and opinions

Champion and empower our customers, recognising your challenges and celebrating your achievements and success

Recognise and overcome barriers to involvement and co-production at all levels

There are lots of different ways that you can get involved, depending on your particular interests and the time you have, so why not take a look?

Staff and former customers at our Crisis House talk about how co-production and Peer Support play a vital role in how the service is run.

The first step for many customers is getting involved at their own local service. This is a great way to have your say about how things are run locally.

You can attend customer meetings, give feedback, organise local events and suggest new customer activities. You could even become a customer representative, representing your service and fellow customers to others.

Different services have different ways of getting involved, so speak to your Support Worker about what’s involved at your service, or suggest some ideas of your own!

Hear from Michael, a Look Ahead customer involved at his local service

Do you have personal life experiences that you feel could benefit our staff? Perhaps you’ve experienced mental health, faced the challenges of drug or alcohol abuse or survived domestic abuse?

Our Experts by Experience (EBE) training programme offers you the opportunity to share your personal experiences with our staff teams. We’ll support you to use your insight to help train our staff on the challenges many of our customers face.

The training currently covers topics including mental health, substance misuse, LGBT+, domestic abuse, Asperger’s, mental health and Personality Disorders. We are always looking to expand the areas the training covers.

The training has many benefits – our staff learn directly from our customers which means they can deliver better support.

Our customer trainers gain skills, confidence, great work experience and for many, most importantly, the knowledge their experiences are benefitting others.

Hear from some of our EBE trainers here. 

You can also use your life experiences to offer support to other customers who may be in need.

Through our Peer Support Programme, we train current and former customers to support others who may be struggling with similar issues. For example, mental health, healthy living or maintaining their accommodation.

It benefits both the customer being supported and the peer supporter.

The customer receives extra support (on top of that received from our staff team) from someone who has a real understanding of what they may be going through. They know that they’ve ‘been there, done that’.

For the peer supporter, they gain skills, confidence and the knowledge they are making a real difference.

For many, it’s a useful first step into work. A large number of our peer supporters have gone onto paid work with us or other health and social care organisations. In 2018, we  established a pathway for our customers to gain employment with us, recognising the need for genuine employment opportunities, as well as the invaluable ‘lived experience’ skill set that they bring with them.

With the endorsement of their placement’s contract manager, and having partaken in and shadowed the tasks support workers complete in service, volunteers are now able to progress into agency support work with us, the Personal Support Assistant (PSA) role.

In 2019 alone, 20 PSVs transitioned to PSA work with Look Ahead.

The people that use services know better than anyone what a good service looks like, and just how important it is that we provide them. That’s why we’ve created a team of customer Quality Checkers.

Quality Checkers visit our services alongside managers to check the standard and quality of our services. Customers bring their experiences of using services to give feedback and suggest areas where improvements can be made. They are an important part of our Quality Management System.

Quality Checkers are trained, get to meet customers and staff from across our services and play an important part in helping to make sure we deliver great services.

Heads-up is our newsletter created by and for our customers. It is released quarterly and is sent to all Look Ahead customers.

The newsletter includes customer news and interviews, creative writing and updates about opportunities and activities with Look Ahead.

You can get involved in different ways. You can work with us to make the newsletter, send us something to include or simply just enjoy reading it!

Joining a customer scrutiny panel is a great way to get your voice heard.

Read the latest issues of Heads Up

Joining a customer scrutiny panel is a great way to get your voice heard and be a representative for other customers.

Our Tenant and Landlord Panel meet four times a year to challenge us on our performance as a landlord. We want to know what it is really like to live in one of our properties, and how we can make it better.

Our tenant representatives lead these meetings, and tell us what they want to talk about. For example, previous meetings have focused on repairs and maintenance, the complaints process, customer Wi-Fi, cleaning and many more.

These meetings have many benefits. Customer representatives gain confidence, communication skills, and the knowledge that they are helping us improve our service for all customers. Look Ahead gains an insight into the true experience of our customers, and ways to improve.

We aim to have customers involved in at least 80% of all recruitment across Look Ahead, all the way from a new support worker in your service up to a new member of our Board!

You can bring a unique and valuable perspective to recruitment, and we want you to get involved. This could look like touring prospective members of staff around the service, customer activities, sitting on an interview panel – and much more.

We will provide you with all of the training you need. You get the opportunity to help choose the staff that work to support you, as well as new skills that you can use in your own job interviews. Look Ahead are able to employ better staff based on the skills and traits that our customers value most.

Read more in our Customer Involvement in Recruitment Policy.

Many of our customers volunteer their time by getting involved, whether that is by helping to run activities at their services or to provide feedback to help us make better services.

Just what the Doctor Ordered- Macaulay’s Story

‘Hi my name is Macaulay, I have moved from being a Peer Mentor to a PSA.

This means a great deal to me and I feel it has given me a new lease of life. I always give my very best in all that I do, getting complacent is not part of my genetic make up. I am always striving to be better.

The services I work at with Look Ahead, Cannon Street Road & Portishead House, have given me all the right opportunities to progress.

Progress is my sanctuary.’

 

Trailblazer- Matthew’s Story

Matthew volunteered for years in our Complex Needs services, Hopkinson House & Pound Lane, and was the first to utilise the progression route from PSV to PSA, established in 2018.

‘I loved working with these services and was made to feel part of the team until I was encouraged to officially become one!

This progression route is incredibly important to enhancing the quality of our workforce- I’m grateful for the opportunity to give my all to help others, which is part of my own wellbeing. You can never care as much for the plight of people as when you’ve found yourself in those very shoes.’

 

Getting involved brings many benefits – for you and others

  • Builds your confidence and skills
  • Chance to make a real difference
  • Opportunities to meet people
  • Great for your CV
  • Higher quality services
  • Better trained staff

We have recently updated our customer reward and recognition policy which details all of the ways that we reward our customers, and say thank you for getting involved.

Daniel's story

"In 2009 I was unable to leave my house, but recently, thanks to the confidence I have gained, I stood up in front of 800 people and spoke about my experiences. That's quite a change for me!"

Read more here