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A very fond farewell to our children's centres

Update from Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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picture of Amy Gaskin-Williams

This week, we’re sad to see the move of the Children’s Centres from our Trust to Notts County Council. Of course, they’re not really ‘moving’ anywhere, and we’re absolutely sure they’ll continue to do a sterling job of supporting local families under the leadership of the council, we’re just sad to not have them ‘on our team’, so to speak!

We wanted to acknowledge the move and recognise the incredible wealth of positive feedback we’ve had about the children’s centres on Care Opinion. Staff in the centres have been fantastic advocates for Care Opinion, promoting it in accessible and creative ways in the centres, ensuring that their families have the opportunity to share their stories and experiences and encourage other families to access the same services and support.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve had 2044 stories on Care Opinion about the children’s centres – an incredible number! Of those stories shared, 1945 have been compliments and of the rest, almost all were only mildly critical. This is testament to the incredible work of the children’s centre staff and speaks volumes about the value of this kind of local support for families, led as a partnership between staff and parent volunteers.

It would be remiss not to mention the leadership of Karon Foulkes, General Manager for Children's Services, and Andy White who has since gone onto a role as Public Health & Support Officer with Nottinghamshire County Council. They were open to and enthusiastic about Care Opinion from the very beginning – and they welcomed feedback, the negative as much as the positive, to enable them to learn how to better support families. The impressive number of stories is in large part due to their attitude, and their leadership in helping staff to promote Care Opinion in the centres. They never hesitated, even when they received a critical posting (1, in 2044 stories) to think and communicate that feedback is important and invaluable.

Last year we celebrated 10yrs of working with Care Opinion, and we awarded 10 Care Opinion 'heroes' - people (patients, volunteers and staff) who had championed the use of Care Opinion in the Trust. James Munro, CEO of Care Opinion, spoke at our Leadership Council about how our services have pioneered the use of the system in mental health and community health services. The photo below shows nine of our heroes (including Andy White, back row - 3rd from right) and James (front row - 4th from left). Karon shared a blog to mark 10yrs of collecting feedback via Care Opinion – read it here.

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Below are a few of our favourite stories over the years – with one particularly unforgettable story:

And that unforgettable one…

To the staff and volunteers of the children’s centres: we will miss you, both for the amazing work you have done supporting families and giving children the best start possible, and for your brilliant attitude towards feedback. The Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team wish you all the very best ‘settling into your new home’!

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