Last week I spent two days interviewing for our new Fulfilling Lives Lived Experience Team. As is our usual practice one of the interview panel was a person with multiple complex needs and had a huge amount of lived experience. He is now working very hard to turn his life around, and frankly I felt the experience of being in his company very humbling and inspiring in equal measure.
During one of our conversations in between interviews, he told me about his experiences of begging on the streets. What was so striking is that he said that it was the words of kindness spoken to him which mattered most when he was begging. He was often subject to taunts and abusive behaviour.
In recent weeks the theme of kindness has been frequently mentioned in my conversations with people with lived experience and it has made me reflect on what those people are saying.
Developing and delivering services to meet an individual’s needs and enabling people with lived experience to co-produce those services is essential. However, the people delivering those services (and I’m including us at Empowerment in that) must always strive to ensure that at the point of delivery those services are delivered with kindness…
It is showing kindness that ultimately demonstrates our core values and for me showing kindness to everyone irrespective of their background and circumstances should be non-negotiable!!