The voice of the care sector is important at all levels to ensure the new care models are fit for purpose.  The Care Home Programme recognised a lack of care home representation which was a major concern.  Through our Care Home Champions programme we now feel that positive steps have taken place to engage staff.

Within the team we recognised that communication is key to ensure staff at all levels understand the programme. To communicate with each care home, a peer support network has been developed through the Care Home Champions Programme. A community group has been established on What’s App and a ‘buddy’ system naturally evolved with champions exchanging contact details on the first day. A budget has been set aside to pay for a representative from each care home to allocate one full day to the Care Home Programme on a monthly basis. However not many care homes claim this money but express a desire to be involved as its valued and seen as worthwhile. The Care Home Champion spends three hours with the Care Home Programme Team to be briefed or discuss challenges faced. They are then asked to distribute this information within their care home. They can allocate this time how they like, whether it’s part of a team meeting or one to one sessions. Initially Care Home Champions met bi-monthly but this felt too slow and the break in between meeting was too long. We asked the Champions if they would prefer to meet more regularly and they agreed a monthly basis felt right, allowing more momentum. As the programme has developed we have more issues to take to the meetings and the Champions feel their opinion is valued.

GATESHEAD- Care Home Forum

We are looking to set up a Care Home Forum in Gateshead. This will build on from our work with our Care Home Champions who used to meet every month.  If you would like to be involved please email

Heaven and Hell Exercise

Our Care Home Champions took part in a Future Backwards exercise, also known as Heaven and Hell.  This exercise allows participants to consider their working environment and the sector which they work in. It provides the opportunity for staff to consider their workplace operating at its optimum and at its worst, it helps understand the past and the possibilities of the future whilst identifying external and internal factors which may have an impact on the journey to heaven or hell.
Following the exercise the group themed up the information recorded, these themes are listed below:

  • Regulation
  • Workforce
  • Care Planning
  • System
  • Clinical
  • Family
  • LTCs

These themes will be carried forward within the Care Home Forum which will be delivered in partnership with Gateshead Council and Newcastle Gateshead CCG.