Golden Key Bristol Partnership Board Meetings

IF Group Bristol News

The Independent Futures (IF) Group attend the Golden Key Partnership Board meetings quarterly. We agreed as a team that the Chair would go every time, alongside one other consistent member and then a revolving place. Our ethos is about empowering and educating one another. The revolving place would give everyone an opportunity to see what goes on within the management and the more complex ‘System Change’ level.

The Fulfilling Lives Project is a lot to get your head around when you have just joined the group. We sit around a large table with representatives from each partner – including the Head of BDP (Maggie Telfer), Nick Hooper who leads the housing for Bristol City Council, our new Independent Chair John Simpson and all the other leads of the partner organisations. We also always get to see one of the leads for our Research team, which is the UWE.

I mention this as the first time I went along to one of these – I was getting lost in language, acronyms, who was who and what the whole project was about. As time passes, it amazes me how much information I can retain. My memory isn’t one of my sharpest area.

This last meeting I have to say, felt really collaborative. There seemed to be more positivity around the table, and the names and faces are now familiar to me. The Fulfilling Lives project is now well established in my mind – not that we know what exactly it is going to look like over the 8 year period, we all seem to be on the same page.

This time is also a good networking opportunity. During the break I managed to speak to a couple of people about their area of work. I asked them how the secondments were getting along.   As a result of going in to shadow the service Co-ordinator team, Independent Futures are starting to get to know the individual workers. What a great team we have!!

I cannot say that I ever really felt like a token gesture “Service User Group” – Independent Futures (IF) has always felt like an equal partner in this Golden Key project. We do, however, have to be realistic about how we move forward. Manage the expectations and the commitments we already have.

There was talk of having a System Change sub-group – this would mean more work and more time needed for IF to commit to regularly and consistently. There is little point in sending different people – there is a lot of information we need to read up on, keep up to date with and retain.

One down side to the Partnership Board meeting this time around was there were a lot of documents we had to read up on. Solutions were offered round the table (see the need for getting multi-minds together!) – and the one which seems the most popular was the idea having a forum which stores all the relevant documents.

COLLABORATIVE IS THE WORD which comes up to sum up this quarterly Partnership Board meeting. Moving forward….