Sharing global social media stories – in Puerto Rico and Australia!

Today / tonight / yesterday Helen Bevan and Mary Freer give a talk on using social media for transformational change. The talk is at the #APACForum in Melbourne and who knows exactly when it is, it is all so confusing with the different global clocks! The more important thing is that this will be a significant session in terms of the global lessons that these two talented change leaders will share … and I am honoured to know them both!

Helen @HelenBevan is Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizons Group at NHS, Improving Quality and Mary @FreerMary is a maverick change agent in Australia … so just the sort of alliance I find fascinating and rewarding.

Img_6418 with Mary FreerI met Mary Freer@FreerMary when she attended one of the Whose Shoes? workshops Kate Swaffer and I ran in Adelaide

… and we even had a very nice lunch in a local restaurant ;-)

Kate and I gave out Mary’s postcards promoting Change Day Australia – and my (spot the koalas) picture is even included in Mary’s new crowd-sourcing video for Change Day Australia, 2015:

So hearing that Mary and Helen were doing this important talk made me think back to the wonderful invitation Kate Swaffer and I got to present our own social media story at the Opening Reception of the World Alzheimer’s conference in Puerto Rico in May.

I shared some of the story via tweets at the time

But I also took lots of photos and videos that I have not previously published.

A group of us have been experimenting with different social media formats for story telling…

I wanted to try something new and chose Storehouse as it claimed to be easy to upload up to 50 photos and videos – but I couldn’t make the videos work so have included a couple here via WordPress!

I particularly wanted you to experience the vibrant almost haunting music played by the band of students from the local Puerto Rico University at the Opening Ceremony:

And secondly, here are two short videos showing the beginning of our talk…

.. and end of our talk (we didn’t get the middle!)

- but other than that, the story is here on Storehouse. Please click the link!

VERDICT: Storehouse was very intuitive and it was good fun building it on my iPad, importing photos and switching them round to build the story – but not being able to include the videos was a pain!

Please take a look at the story on Storehouse and let me know what you think! :)

Posted in Blogs, dementia, in my shoes, personalisation, social media, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Co-producing inclusive, vibrant #dementiachallengers events in Scotland

Well the invisible hordes are coming out of the shadows and becoming real people… very supportive, creative passionate people. And they are bringing their own ‘invisible hordes’ in their wake…

I would like to include here a lovely film made by Helen Bevan about how she sees the future of health and social care as we all find ways of coming together for transformational change. I like to think that the ‘Scotland story’ in this blog and other recent developments in the energy and connections being made around Whose Shoes? are a living example of the kind of 21st century connectivity Helen talks about. I enjoyed a lovely weekend with Helen and some other inspirational people making the original film and it is great to see how seeking feedback from ‘critical friends’ has helped Helen turn it into this powerful and somewhat magical vision:

I am learning to go with the flow. To find the energy, local energy – because there are so many great people out there who just want to make things happen for their own communities, people they care about.

Take Scotland as an example

I am really looking forward to presenting at the European Alzheimer’s conference in Glasgow.

The conference is Monday-Wednesday 20-22 October so it occurred to me that we could perhaps run a couple of Whose Shoes? workshops in Scotland on the Thursday and Friday. I have some existing great links in Glasgow and Dundee so they were tentatively suggested … and Twitter has taken over and filled in the gaps.

Before I could bat an eyelid, we had somehow co-produced a flyer for a generic event in Glasgow. And there has been fantastic interest. Huge thanks to the proactive approach taken by fab Yvonne and Anne-Marie at Dementia Scotland Co.

Similarly, we have crowd-sourced some key themes…

And it looks as though I have hooked up with just the right people. Making dementia training  fun.
Fun? – yes because that is how people engage, remember and are fired up to DO something.

And Scotland just seem to run with things!

The Dundee event has been an amazing example of Twitter at its best.

My friends in Dundee have been promising to invite me for some time so this was the perfect opportunity. There has been some truly wonderful energy!

We want to make the events diverse and inclusive

I don’t know who Rob is … and it doesn’t matter. The ‘invisible hordes’ are at work…
And the momentum builds as fab passionate people with shared values come together for transformational change

TOWICC!!? TOWICC!!? … Is this some strange Scottish ritual?

My mind goes wild trying to guess what it stands for, like a mad Christmas game of ‘Absolute Balderdash’. But the truth is that I don’t really need to know; I just need to let these amazing people think through their local issues and networks and work with them to see how best my Whose Shoes? approach can help them achieve the outcomes.

This interplay on Twitter is like a mini Whose Shoes? session 

… AHPs talking to a consultant surgeon, mixing in a carer or two, some innovative providers – people just talking as people, irrespective of formal roles…

And slowly they are bringing more people in – tapping their own networks and knowing where the local demand will be… policy people, medical students…

And Maureen set to work doing wonderfully clever stuff with my thistle! So to speak…

So now we have an ‘emblem’. So far so good…

Well, the conversations were very productive indeed. Mainly behind the scenes in lovely proactive Dundee…

And then Ang and Stephen Thompson at Dundee United Football Club come up with the most amazing offer – a venue for the event!

I am delighted that the event will be held in such a wonderful “social” setting rather than a medical centre as this supports all the key messages we are trying to convey about living well with dementia, maximising the assets of local communities.

I can’t wait to meet the wonderful people of Dundee including a singing group and a football reminiscence group – bringing stories alive!

So I am very excited about the forthcoming ‘Whose Shoes? tour’ of Scotland. I am excited about introducing my fellow ‘Southerners’ Ken Howard and Dorothy Hall.

I am excited about meeting everyone and making a difference through our collaborative events.

Not to mention the inevitable tweetups … ;-)

So the flights are booked. The potatoes are boiling…

Yes, it is all coming together nicely.
Except a pair of suitable tartan shorts for Ken.

 Tartan shorts for Ken. Can anyone help? ;-)

Posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, education, in my shoes, personalisation, social care, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the shoes of… | Gill’s Mum. A fabulous wedding. And a new life ahead…

Last week, our eldest son got married!

Mum, a.k.a @Gills_Mum, has been doing quite a bit of writing recently and I thought you might enjoy her ‘take’ on Abi and Andrew’s wedding … and also an update on how Mum is getting on…

Andrew and Abi wedding procession - YvonneWhat an amazing week. Starting with the loveliest of weddings where everything was beribboned: the invitations, church pews and orders of service were all decorated with cream ribbons and pink and cream flowers. Not overdone, just very pretty, The bride’s dress was gorgeous, with a swirling short train and the bridegroom (my grandson), his best man and all the ushers wore grey tailcoats with unusual, striking waistcoats. The guests all played along with lovely dresses and one or two super hats. The church was centuries old, Norman in parts and the vicar, who was retired, came back specially because he knew the family. His sermon was marvellous too. Funny and thoughtful and not at all at the usual dry-as-dust, send-to-sleep sermon at so many weddings.

Wedding - Andrew & AbiThe reception was held at a very old converted manor house hotel attached to a converted barn. The living accommodation was in the original house  – some with four poster beds! The actual reception was held in a marquee in the lovely grounds which, despite a visit from a near hurricane, stayed firmly on the ground and no one got wet!

Wedding Img_6599cWine flowed and the speeches were very funny, despite having to contend with the aforesaid near hurricane. The tribute to the three lovely bridesmaids nearly got wiped out!Wedding cake

A very enjoyable wedding breakfast (more wine, of course) followed, then dancing and later a hog roast when more guests arrived!! It was so lovely to spend time with family and old friends, including Theresa who has been  friends with Gill since they started secondary school aged 11 and used to spend so much time at our house when they were young. Another of Gill’s friends, Rosemary, made the wedding cake – it tasted as good as it looked! Eventually we all went to bed, tired out but immensely happy!

The second half of the week was quite different. It brought me down to earth again! I went to a lunch given by the people from whom I am buying a sheltered accommodation flat. I have been staying with Gill and her family since I had an accident three months. They have looked after me so well and I am feeling much better; now it is time to move on.

I met the people who are living in the flats and found them very nice and friendly. There is a dining room where lunch and tea are served every day, if required, at very reasonable cost. There is also a comfortable lounge, where they seem to hold lots of interesting activities, and also a pleasant little garden area. People were sitting in the lounge enjoying their coffee or tea and chatting to each other.

Mum - new flat Img_5053cEverything is brand new, having only just been built and there are many helpful aids, such as bars along the walls to give support if needed. The flat is fairly big, as these places go,  with the window giving onto a little patio – the only flat like it, it seems! All I have to do now is sell my own house and move in, and I am even being helped with this.

Big decision ahead though. What I can reasonably take from a big house to a small flat is not easy. Have to be quite ruthless, I suppose and I am not one for making big decisions!

Here goes!!!

Please post comments, tips or messages of encouragement – Mum will love them :-)

Posted in Gill's Mum, Guest blog, health, housing, personalisation, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Let’s harness the power of “invisible hordes” – together we can build a better future!

About a year ago, Helen Bevan compared me to Lois Weisburg.

And, when I did a bit of research to find out who this lady was, I was at first flattered and then intrigued … and then felt a bit of fraud. Lois was good at building connections and informal communities and, so it seems am I. But Lois managed to do this in the middle of a small town by talking to people she met whereas I have the infinite possibilities of technology and social media, and in particular the magical tool which is Twitter.

It is true that I am absolutely fascinated by making connections and have written about this before. I love meeting wonderful people, and equally pleased when I manage to connect other like-minded people and see them building their own relationships and collaborations.

This ability or gift, however you like to describe it, has led to the most amazing opportunities – but top of the list being the wonderful experiences I have had with my Australian friend Kate Swaffer (we met – you guessed it – via Twitter and blogging) culminating in a Whose Shoes? mini tour of Australia, December 2014,  and co-presenting our social media story at the Opening Reception of the World Alzheimer’s conference earlier this year.

So people ask how this happens – particularly people who don’t ‘get’ Twitter.

So this is what has happened in the last few days…

Thursday and Friday were fascinating days for me and seemed a microcosm of what is happening on a much larger scale in my life. Thursday was a series of face-to-face meetings; Friday was a very similar experience but the connections came more through telephone calls and social media.

I think to put my musings in context, I need to link at this point to ‘Invisible Hordes‘, a wonderful blog this week by Richard Martin, @IndaloGenesis .

I have found this blog so fascinating it is almost haunting. It is set in a recruitment context, but to me applies to every encounter that we have. When you consider that the person that you meet is not just one person with unique skills, knowledge and attributes, but the door to their own individual and unique network of friends and connections, it is truly mind blowing. This is very much the reality for all of us, if we let it be and if we are equally prepared to share our own ‘invisible hordes': the magic only happens through true reciprocity.

I think these thoughts and feelings have been highlighted for me because I have recently discovered a whole new community, I almost want to call it a family, of people who are passionate about maternity services.

Apart from having three children myself (an ‘expert by experience’, albeit a while ago!) this is a whole new area for me, but oh-so-familiar in terms of key challenges around all the things that I believe in and work so hard for: person centred approaches, dignity and respect for all and compassion and humanity and choice that empowers people rather than exploits vulnerability. I have been very honoured to be invited to write a chapter about this, which has now been accepted in the wonderful forthcoming book edited by Sheena Byrom and Professor Soo Downe “The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care”

I will aim to write more about our Whose Shoes? maternity project when the time is right, but that is not the subject of this particular blog. It is more about the networks.

And as I sat in quite a small meeting at NHS England in London, it was as if the whole Twitter community was in the room.

There had been a huge buildup and the small team I am working with are using social media really well to build energy and bring passionate people together. This is just a flavour – honestly!

We even got sent some wooden clogs from Holland!

I am now in Twitter conversation with the Head of Midwifery in my local hospital in Coventry – indeed it looks as though we will meet! :)

It is fantastic to find there is so much passion and good practice around. Twitter is bringing us together in a web that is as rich and as beautiful as any spider could weave in the sunlight.

So, it is still only Thursday lunch-time and next I was meeting a school friend for lunch. I couldn’t believe the coincidence that her eldest daughter works with the people I had just met with and had come to give me a hug before the meeting started. The most senior person in the room had been to her wedding only a couple of months ago and had met my schoolfriend, the bride’s mother, and spoke highly of her. I couldn’t believe the coincidence, and again my mind went wild reflecting on how all our different personal and professional connections interplay.

It reminded me of the LinkedIn statistics where, as you link with each new person, it shows your own network expanding exponentially. Apparently I have…

  1. (1448)1st Connections
  2. (398,205) 2nd Connections
    and it seems you now have to pay to see how many 3rd connections ;)

And then in the afternoon I met Julian Stodd, a meeting that seemed long overdue as we have been fascinated by each other’s work for a long time. The timing on this day, when I was reflecting so intensely about connections, seemed extremely appropriate as Julian is as curious about networks as I am. We had met through Twitter but particularly through our blogs. But even that reinforced for me just how personal these matters are. Julian, as I suspected, is it very interesting guy, a real thinker and highly creative.

But for me it is his lovely pastel watercolour images that stay in my mind and bring alive the actual content.

Julian’s gold clouds, grey shadows and key words are a wonderfully simple and consistent form of communication.

I frequently post them to my Pinterest boards, and that in itself feels hugely symbolic. Those little pictures provide the gateway to the deep thinking that lies in each blog in the same way as the graphic recording that we frequently use at my own Whose Shoes? workshops.

Graphic by New Possibilities

Graphic by New Possibilities

I feel very fortunate to have the freedom to be able to be able to have such pleasant, thought-provoking meetings in the sunshine; but I’m sure meeting face-to-face builds new possibilities and is almost bound to open new doors. As our networks come closer together, we find new ways of collaborating to pursue our shared purpose of transformational change.

And Julian even let me try his brand-new GoogleGlass!

As you will read in his blog, he was like a kid at Christmas. I was very flattered that, with full directional support,  he found his way down Euston Road to meet me as it must have distracted him from the mission in hand. ;-) My first reaction was to think he had a specific sight problem…

Meanwhile I had a lovely phone call from someone I really respect in Wales. Again I will blog more about this when the time is right, as I suspect it will be by the end of this year. Suffice to say that this lady is not on Twitter but builds fantastic co-production networks through more conventional channels. Perhaps she is the real Lois Weisberg? However, she does use email, whereas Lois just had the fantastic capacity to get out and talk to people. Perhaps we should all do that more.

But, as the end of the week came, I sat back in awe and watched as the ‘Invisible hordes’ appeared from all directions, but mainly Scotland…

I put a tweet out a week ago and it has now turned into a mini Whose Shoes? tour of Scotland, building on the fact that I will already be in Glasgow with Ken Howard and other friends, presenting at the European Alzheimer’s conference in October.

Thanks to my wonderful mentor, Dr Sam Majumdar, I have learned to ‘go with the flow’, an approach that really worked in Australia where harnessing local energy (my friends Andrew Coulson and Kate Swaffer, but also Alzheimer’s Victoria, TACSI and other organisations) led to vibrant, well attended events that I could never have put together myself. It feels as if Scotland has the same energy, Harnessing ‘local assets’ and letting people lead the way is central to co-produced solutions and all of my work.

I have actually done very little other than to say I am keen.

I have been overwhelmed by the way people have jumped into action, offering help and support and wanting to experience the work we do –  getting people talking together… and building connections!

I have even been sent a selection of shoes and boots and suggestions for tartan shorts for Ken! I have been posting them diligently on my Pinterest boards.

The most rewarding and encouraging  thing has been that, not only has this support and enthusiasm come from my friends and supporters – real life friends like Sam, Maureen, Sandra and Agnes and ‘Twitter friends,’ but from their networks – the ‘invisible hordes. People I had not heard about a week ago are offering significant support with the project and I am in awe about how these things work and am very grateful!

WS benches Img_4850cThere have been a crazy number of tweets. You will be relieved that I will not attempt to capture them all but I love seeing the growing connections between different groups, breaking down barriers and silos. My Whose Shoes? tool has the different groups represented by different colours. Perhaps they are sitting on the different benches (the photo was taken in Scotland).

But we want to bring them ALL round one table together. As equals.

“It is time to add all the colours to your dream!” – Sam Majumdar

So it is time to apply the ‘Invisible Hordes” thinking not just to the recruitment process, but to life itself.
It will be SO much richer for it :-)

Posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, education, health, in my shoes, personalisation, social media, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In the shoes of… | Gill’s Mum. A little common sense and compassion go a long way.

Mum’s life has been turned upside down recently. Like Geoff, in this story, she has suddenly lost a lot of independence. Until a couple of months ago, she was living on her own, catching the bus into town most days - it must be quite a shock coming to live with us as she recovers and we contemplate the future together.

Mum's books IMG_6963Mum is an avid reader. Books, the newspaper and crosswords keep her going. But I also encourage her to use her iPad and read different bits and pieces we come across – “yes, click the blue link in the tweet and a whole new world will open!”

I also encourage her to write. She has been doing quite a lot of writing recently, so when she had a strong reaction to the wonderful blog this week by Zoe Harris, that I re-blogged on Monday, I quickly brought her the trusted medium… pen and paper…

Mum writing response to Zoe Img_6252a

I have just read Zoe’s thought-provoking blog. It really rang a bell for me. I have always travelled into town on The Little Bus and have never found anything but kindness and consideration from the drivers. (Except of course the Grumpy Driver, commented on previously!)  Another bus company, which covers a greater distance, is not very helpful.

I was horrified to read that Geoff, after his horrible experience, would not travel at all on the bus and feel sure that this would not happen here. I don’t know whether the drivers have been given instruction on how to deal with people or whether they are just genuinely kind hearted.

I remember one man showing something other than his bus pass and being given help to find it in an mass of other cards!

Graphic by New Possibilities

Graphic by New Possibilities

Of course he was quite old and I wonder if the driver would have done the same for anyone, whatever their age. I feel if someone shows signs of being in distress, they would do their best to help. I recall one driver who actually got out and helped a middle-aged lady who was struggling with many parcels and bags. Unfortunately he has now retired, but he was everyone’s favourite.


It must be difficult for bus drivers to know how far to go to help but a little common sense and compassion go a long way.

Posted in compassion, dementia, Gill's Mum, Guest blog, mental health, personalisation, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A simple formula with powerful consequences – by Zoe Harris

Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?:

This is an extremely powerful post by inspirational Zoe Harris, founder and director of Care Charts UK, a social enterprise set up in the light of her late husband’s experience with dementia.

Zoe PV0_1163cI was delighted when Zoe came along to our ‘launch event’ for our series of sixteen Whose Shoes?® sessions in West Kent to build ‘dementia friendly communities’.

West Kent has been a wonderful breeding ground for people who really ‘get’ Whose Shoes?® and are keen to be part of the assets-based approach we are trying to build, raising awareness but specifically seeking to fire local people to take action and spread the fires of positive change.

As a result of this first session, Zoe became a Whose Shoes? facilitator as an extra way to channel the insight, passion and knowledge gained through her long experience of caring for Geoff. I am very honoured to be associated with Zoe and her wonderful work.

Originally posted on Eclectic Thoughts on Dementia and Other Topics:

I was honoured to be asked to facilitate one of the events being run by Age UK and Age Concern recently to promote dementia friendly communities in West Kent. This series of 16 sessions used the WhoseShoes? co-production tool to spark debates and encourage attendees to share their knowledge and experience, and think about what they might do in their community to make life easier for people living with dementia.

Having cared for my husband Geoff whilst he struggled to cope with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, and seen how society chose to turn its collective face away, I loved the fact that previously taboo topics were being aired, not at some theoretical or academic level, but amongst ordinary people who would leave the session and go about their daily lives with myths debunked and a fresh appreciation of how they might be able to make a positive difference.

“Add a personal story if you feel comfortable with that,” suggested Gill Philips…

View original 802 more words

Posted in Blogs, community engagement, compassion, dementia, Guest blog, health, mental health, personalisation, safeguarding, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

#Woopdedoodle!* The top 50 ‘HSJ Inspirational Women, 2014′.

Gill - Img_0133cThe last couple of weeks have been a complete rollercoaster for me with one of the highest ‘highs’ and lowest ‘lows’ of my life within a 24 hour period. I have been very moved by the response to my tribute to my dear friend Lindsay Kyle, particularly from her family and friends.

Well today I want to share the high point –  the huge honour of being listed as one of the top 50 HSJ Inspirational Women, 2014′.

#Woopdedoodle is the ultimate hashtag. It was devised by my inspirational friend Kate Swaffer for sharing our favourite moments. The opposite of our ‘too busy basket’ ;-)

I am only sorry that Lindsay – and indeed my Dad and my Mum-in-law, who were also big ‘believers’ in Whose Shoes? - were not here to share my achievement. They have all seen the sheer hard work, (blood sweat and tears!)  that goes into building a successful story.

It is actually quite a funny story as, believe it or not, I only heard anything about it (and then only indirectly) 24 hours before I was due in London for the Awards evening. As I said in my last blog, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” and this John Lennon wisdom has my name on it at the moment.

After a really hectic couple of weeks, I had this period pencilled in my diary as a quieter time; a chance to catch up on a few things. The one long-standing commitment was a lovely community workshop with Ken Howard at Temple Balsall, a beautiful rural village church where the Magenta Vicar, as I fondly nickname her, fascinates me. She is a colourful character in every respect and knows how to make interesting things happen. A constructive boatrocker; and I look forward to working with her further. ;-)

I will include a few tweets about this as an insight to my work. The award is nothing in isolation; it means a lot to me because it recognises all the wonderful people I work with, such as Ken Howard, and how together we are making a difference.

Dan Img_1306aWhat with an unexpected visit from our best mate from Sydney, a panoply of medical appointments for my Mum and much else in between, my week was already changing from a quiet week into yet another crazy week.

And then I started getting some strange DMs (direct messages) on Twitter. “Yay, tomorrow #hugs!!” was the gist of them. As the news became clear, it led to a bottle of champagne from Dan, our Aussie friend, who again has followed the highs and lows of my ‘journey’ and, if truth be told is a big fan of my mini croc shoes. :) Indeed, he was just admiring the new summer range colours, when the news started to come through.  And no Dan, I won’t let you post any rude comments on my blog, so don’t even try. … It must be an Australian thing as Dan enjoys a lot of banter!

Anyway, I digress.  The short version is that as Alison Cameron and I celebrated her success and planned to post her wonderful blogpost, neither of us had any idea that I was also included on the HSJ list. It subsequently turned out to be quite an interesting communications pathway (polite version) where the organisers assumed I knew … but it did make it all VERY exciting.

So we re-jigged many things and it was with huge anticipation that ‘Mr #WhoseShoes’ and I caught the train down to London. Indeed we had some extra time to anticipate – thanks for that London Midland. ;-)

I was thrilled to find that a lot of women I know and respect hugely were also included on the list. It turned into a wonderful tweet-up! And, as usual on such occasions, I was struck by the two fairly distinct groups in the room – the social media tweeps hugging with delight at meeting fabulous Twitter buddies, often for the first time – and those more congruent with the formal atmosphere that would traditionally surround such events.

As I looked around the room and picked out people
I knew, I thought about the stories behind all the different connections and how they would be different for everyone in the room.

A further example of the rich tapestry of inter-connecting lives, and how we all influence each other, that struck me so vividly at Lindsay’s funeral.

So, here are just a few of my personal cameos about some of the other award winners:

Dr Kate Granger:

It was wonderful to meet Dr Kate Granger and other 'fab tweeps' at the Quality and Safety Forum in Paris.

It was wonderful to meet Dr Kate Granger and other ‘fab tweeps’ at the Quality and Safety Forum in Paris.

An obvious inclusion in the list, I was very sorry indeed that Dr Kate Granger was not well enough to attend but her name came up everywhere I went. I love the simplicity of #hellomyname is – and indeed the simplicity of Kate. Describing herself as ‘just a normal Yorkshire lass’, and believing this,  is arguably what makes her so special.

HSJ Inspirational Women 2014

Alison Cameron

Inevitably a lot of very senior people, in traditional roles, are included on the list. I have seen some criticism of this asking why more ‘grassroots’ people are not included – but it makes sense that many of the people who inspire us as senior leaders start life as inspirational ‘grassroots’ people. Anyway, how wonderful in this context to see recognition for Alison Cameron and Yvonne Newbold – two people who have SO much more to offer than a label of ‘Patient’ or ‘Patient Leader. Having become friends with Alison and followed her story so closely, it was nothing short of magical to see the pride in her Dad’s eyes that night.

Please take the time to read Alison’s story here on my blog or (hot off the press) her “Coming out of the box” story for the British Medical Journal.

Andrea Sutcliffe
Andrea & Gill Img_0047cAgain I am a big fan of Andrea Sutcliffe. Quicker off the mark than me, Andrea has written her own blog about the awards evening and it was lovely to see that it meant so much to her too. I would think being Chief Inspector for Social Care can be a lonely place sometimes but the ‘down to earth’ manner in which Andrea gets on with things and relates to ‘ordinary’ people makes her a breath of fresh air, as I wrote in my blog quite some time ago. I was delighted to see this being recognised – and indeed it felt healthy that someone so ‘senior’ in social care got a health-based award. There is a God – the systems are starting to speak to each other! ;-)

Kath Evans
WS Coventry Img_0024cWhat to say about Kath Evans? As I said this is about personal cameos and nobody else will get it if I describe Kath as “the lady with the pink shirt” – except my Mum @Gills_Mum, as this is my epithet for Kath when Mum struggles to keep up with all the exciting people I talk about! They met when we held a Whose Shoes? event at the NHS Improving Quality centre in Coventry. Mum, as everyone else, remembered Kath for her warmth and enthusiasm. And Kath and I sowed some early seeds for some work together around Patient Experience in maternity services, which are now coming to fruition. Watch this space…

@AnnieCoops, @KathEvans2 and @WhoseShoes #TwitterFriends

@AnnieCoops, @KathEvans2 and @WhoseShoes #TwitterFriends

Anne Cooper
Annie CoopsAnne Cooper, or @AnnieCoops as she is affectionately known, is another thoroughly genuine, engaged, enthusiastic NHS champion. But again the cameo is very personal. We had wanted to meet for ages. I had tweeted that Anne was ‘top of my Twitter stalking list’ – this must have been after I finally met Richard Humphries ;-) – and we finally met at the Florence Nightingale conference in London in February this year. I heard Anne speak knowledgeably and engagingly about informatics and learnt a lot – including confirming my belief that a good talk is 90% the speaker and 10% the topic because passionate people bring their topics ALIVE! Anyway, I remember nicking Anne’s shoes and pinning them on my Pinterest board.

Dr Nikita Kanani

Nikita is someone else I met for the first time at the Quality and Safety Forum in Paris. At this event, we seemed destined to keep missing each other. With 3000 delegates, all the DMs in the world and messages saying “meet you at the back at the end of the session” can be very tricky. So it was lovely to chat with her on the awards evening, celebrating with her very proud Mum!

Teresa Chinn

Theresa and Gill Img_0121cTeresa and I first met at the Dementia Round table event in London last December. We also found ourselves lurking in the same audience when Dominic Stenning and Victoria Betton did a talk about social media at NHS Expo. I think @WeNurses is such a great idea – again simple and effective. And it was lovely to meet Dawn @WeMidwives too! And now we have @weschoolnurses @wechaplains and @weallsortsofotherthings!

Dr Tammy Angel

I have only just met Tammy, on my recent visit to west Hertfordshire NHS Tust but she made a huge impression on me, working tirelessly and imaginatively for people living with dementia. Hoping to post a guest blog soon telling you more about this great work :)

Dr Alys Cole-King and Yvonne Newbold
Yvonne-Newbold-HSJWomen-300x266Two more  inspirational women, both of whom I knew from Twitter but hadn’t met in person until the awards evening. Yvonne was honoured for her Parents’ Handbook, Alys for her powerful “U Can Cope” campaign.

And how do I know all these wonderful people? Twitter!

So what? This is the powerful question I keep asking in my work…

Teresa Chinn, Dawn @Wemidwives, Kath Evans, Gill Phillips, Alys Cole, Anne Cooper

Teresa Chinn, Dawn @Wemidwives, Kath Evans, Gill Phillips, Alys Cole-King, Anne Cooper

I will be thrilled if the HSJ recognition helps me gain more opportunities to do the sort of work I do, and love doing,  with Ken. To extend it and work with people like Alison; young people like Adam perhaps. My work is all around equality and inclusion. I love working with Kate Swaffer and the Dementia Alliance International; connecting people and sharing good practice globally is a big part of our vision.

And despite some people ‘knocking awards’, it was really lovely to see the stream of congratulatory tweets pouring in – and even more direct messages. Here are a small selection and I am not ashamed to say that it was absolutely lovely and I feel that the vast majority of people I connect with are very generous and mutually supportive.

I really appreciated them all and thank you to whoever it was who nominated me! Twitter rocks. ;-)

Posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, health, in my shoes, personalisation, social care, social media, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments