Slough Quality Protects (newsline article)

10 Jul, 2014

Slough Quality Protects (newsline article)

Tell us about Special Voices – Special Voices exists to raise awareness about the rights and needs of children and young people with special or additional needs and to ensure that they and their families are consulted and involved in any decisions made during planning or developing services for them. The group of volunteer parent/carers is 100% user led and provides help, information, support and guidance to families as well as regular coffee days with service providers.
What were the reasons for undertaking the Slough Quality Protects Award? We were keen that the parents and carers know that we had the right training and qualifications to be able to provide the best support we could to them and we were running the group to the best of our ability and this seemed the perfect way to do just that.
How did you go about it? We were aware of the SQP when we started our group and we kept meaning to get started but our everyday work convinced us that we were too busy! However at one of our meetings we all decided that this time we would see it through no matter how busy we were and we attended an introduction session provided by Slough Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS) and started from the beginning.
How was the assessment process? I have to say that initially I was very nervous about someone coming into ‘check’ our work. What would they say? Would we get told off!? I knew of other organisations that had this award and initially I felt that as a smaller organisation we might not be able to achieve the Bronze. Looking back now I realise that I had no cause for concern or worry and we actually found the whole assessment process a means of help and support. SCVS discussed what we had and didn’t have and provided lots of templates or whatever was needed. It felt more like working together than an assessment.
Were there any unexpected benefits or challenges along the way? Unfortunately our group had a major crisis whilst we were working through the SQP, however we still managed to keep going and achieve not only the Bronze but the Gold level award! One of the benefits was a validation that we were already doing lots of things really well. As an organisation we are committed to improving our service to ensure that we offer the highest standards of service for all of our members.
What impact to you think that achieving the SQP will have for Special Voices? It is something that we can take pride in as a group and the stamp conveys that we are a professional and organised group.
What advice would you give to groups who are thinking about undertaking the SQP or just getting started? I would thoroughly recommend the SQP process to other groups as there is full support every step of the way from SCVS. If Special Voices can achieve this then so can they!

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