Carr Gomm Staff Initiative: Futures

Futures gives staff members a chance to make suggestions or requests that could help to improve their work or service, with no suggestion being too big or too small. Futures suggestions are open to all staff. Ideas that help stomp out loneliness and isolation for people we support or in our communities across Scotland are funded by fundraised money to help people and communities throughout Scotland. 

Successful Futures applicants are decided through the Futures Group, comprised of colleagues from different roles and levels throughout Carr Gomm. The group meets every 2 months to discuss Futures suggestions and work to come up with ways to implement them.

Funded through generous donations, Futures has spent over £25,000 on projects and initiatives that have helped to bring people together. 

For more information on successful Futures projects, see below.

Ongoing Futures Community Projects

Below is a selection of some of our Community Projects that are operated using fundraised money.
For more information on our other community projects, click here. 

LGBT+ Network

Erin Barker, Forth Valley West service, suggested we start an organisation-wide group for people looking to champion and talk about LGBT+ issues.

Healthy Kitchen Group, Dundee

The group encourages local people we support to learn more about nutrition, plan healthy meals, learn to cook more and get involved in growing their own food.

Club Fun, Forth Valley

Club Fun is a project led by people we support in Forth Valley. It tackles loneliness and isolation by offering opportunities for people to come together, build friendships and experience new things.

Men In Sheds

Our Men in Sheds project is a dedicated, friendly, and welcoming meeting place where local men experiencing loneliness and isolation come together to share skills, build self-esteem, and forge friendships.

Craigmillar Community Grows

Our community growing projects use gardening and outdoor activities to actively tackle health and social inequalities.

Keep Warm Boxes

As a response to the cost of living crisis, Keep Warm Boxes were assembled and delivered to residents across Argyll and Bute to help people keep warm in emergencies.

Successful Futures Ideas

Futures has supported a variety of different activities, groups and events throughout the years.

Below is a small selection of ideas that received funding.

Edible Stories Book for Craigmillar Community Grows

Through Futures funding, Craigmillar Community Grows created an Edible Stories Book containing recipes and stories from people in Craigmillar and Niddrie.

The project brought together ten local groups, including schools, community groups and nurseries, and encouraged them to share their experiences with food to be included in the finished book.

The book cost £1318 to put together and was a great success that helped to bring the local community together.

For more information on the Edible Stories Book and Community Grows, click here.

My Mind Matters Art Exhibition

Chloe Brain of our St Stephens Court service requested Futures funding to put on an art exhibition as part of Edinburgh’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. Plans were put on hold due to Covid-19. In May 2022 – two years later – the exhibition titled “My Mind Matters” was finally realised.

In the run-up to the exhibition, the team involved requested additional funding for catering on the opening night, which the Futures Group gladly agreed to. Works by 23 artists supported by Carr Gomm in Edinburgh were on show.

The opening night was very well attended, and artworks were snapped up! The evening felt like a real celebration of coming through two difficult years as many staff and people supported saw each other in person for the first time since Lockdown. The event would also go on to win the Time to Shine Involvement Award.

Chloe no longer works for Carr Gomm, but still is involved with our Edinburgh services in her role at the Royal Edinburgh Volunteer Hub. We enjoyed keeping in touch with her and really appreciate her commitment to realising her project.

The event cost £779 to put on and helped to bring people together and build the confidence of people supported.

Stirling Singalongs Zoom Account

Due to Lockdown, the Stirling Singalong group were unable to meet in person. To keep everyone connected, a Zoom account was purchased through Futures to allow the group to meet virtually.

The account cost £120 and became a vital part of keeping people and communities connected during the Covid pandemic.

Arty Stirling

Staff noticed that many of the people supported in the Stirling area were interested in arts and crafts as a hobby. A suggestion was put into Futures to help fund Arty Stirling – a group dedicated to encouraging the creation of a variety of artworks, including paintings, crochet, and sewing. £198, from Futures, was used to buy the art supplies and get the group up and running.

The group brought people together and encouraged creativity and expression amongst those who attended.

The group is currently not running, but is planned to return at a later date.

Pay Incentive for Staff

Taylor Stocks from our Hartington Place service suggested a financial reward for colleagues working extra shifts due to staff shortage.

The idea was taken to the Board, who agreed that it should be implemented using financial reserves and successful grant applications. 

As a result, Carr Gomm introduced a new enhanced rate of ‘time and a half’ for practitioners working over and above our normal working week of 37.5 hours.

Taylor went on to receive the Time To Shine Futures Award for his idea.

To hear more, see below.

Time to Shine Futures Award

All your submissions to Futures are eligible for the Time To Shine Futures Award. At the end of each year, the Futures Group looks back on all your ideas, creates a shortlist and then votes on the most impactful, innovative and bold idea. See our previous winners below.

Time to Shine Futures Award Winner 2022: Taylor Stocks

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Taylor Stocks (Edinburgh-based Support Practitioner) wrote to Futures with a bold and impactful idea in response to a very real and current staffing issue.

Taylor proposed “Extra Incentive/Pay for Overtime, Cover and Weekend Shifts… as a temporary to possibly permanent measure as a result of recent staff shortages throughout Carr Gomm.”

Taylor explained that “a lot of cover shifts or overtime has been asked for/required as of late and as a result of a staff shortage, with several members I’ve talked to (including myself) struggling to find the incentive to take on extra hours – especially for those of us working full-time. A few of my colleagues and I have discussed the possibility of a temporary pay increase of time and a half or double pay to be paid to those who pick up urgent shifts, cover shifts or weekend shifts. I believe this would encourage staff to take on more shifts during times when services are short-staffed and likely provide a welcome bonus to full-time staff taking on overtime or weekend work. I believe the extra pay would be easier to budget during staff decreases as a result of fewer staff members being paid throughout.”

In particular, “the idea is to pay time and a half (1.5x the normal pay rate) or double time (2x the normal pay rate) to staff members who are taking on urgent cover shifts – alternatively, weekends if paying extra during weekdays isn’t possible. This would encourage staff to take on more shifts as a result of the extra money. This would be useful not only while there are staff shortages but while regular staff or on annual leave or staff are short for any reason in specific services.

Taylor believes that “the ultimate outcome of this idea is to prevent strain and stress for those looking for urgent cover shifts as well as ultimately encourage staff to take on urgent shifts with the incentive of a pay increase. Staff turnover may also be slightly improved as a result of a pay increase during general staff shortages.”

Following discussions at the Exec and the Board, it was agreed to introduce enhanced payments for additional hours worked, as follows (quoting Lucy):

“From 1 April, we are introducing overtime payments of ‘time and a half’ for support practitioners working hours in excess of full time (37.5hrs/wk), as recognition for the commitment and dedication of those colleagues that cover extra shifts due to absence or short staffing… “

“Continuing to uplift and enhance salaries and benefits is an indication that we are managing the organisation prudently and that we continue to develop and undertake new work.   At a time like this, our careful management really pays off, and we can withstand a challenging environment.”

This outcome, of course, benefits individual support practitioners, teams, management, and ultimately the people we support. The Futures Group is delighted to award Taylor’s idea as the one that stood out for us as a bold one with a true organisation-wide impact, benefitting both staff and people supported.

Time To Shine Futures Award Winner 2019: Caroline Barnes

It was hard to choose just one winner from about 40 brilliant new Futures submissions, but in the end, Caroline’s idea stood out in two important ways: It would have the biggest organisation-wide impact, and it was ambitious.

Caroline suggested that we “include ‘compassion’ in our principles and values” to “address the current deficit within our values which communicate ‘kindness/caring’ aspect of our support services and staff” – “in line with the new Health and Social Care Standards”.

This sparked a conversation about our organisational values and quickly developed into a plan for an organisation-wide Big Conversation About Our Values. Following a year of deep conversations among all staff, people we support and other interested parties, Carr Gomm added both “Compassion” and “Kindness” to our values.

This is testament to Carr Gomm’s commitment to receiving and acting upon bold suggestions from the workforce. Through the Futures programme, Carr Gomm employees truly have the voice and power to steer the organisation to new frontiers.

Time To Shine Futures Award Winner 2018: Barbara Rush

Barbara noticed that she relies on her well-practised listening skills in her support. She suggested that Carr Gomm offers specific training on Active Listening to support practitioners. What’s more, Barbara developed the PDG herself – including the presentation, notes and handouts!

Through this award, we celebrate Barbara’s talents and generosity in sharing them with all of us.

Big Carr Gomm Challenge

As part of our 25th birthday celebration, Carr Gomm is asking you to take part in the Big Carr Gomm Challenge to raise £25,000 for community projects throughout Scotland.

Every penny raised will go to Futures projects and help to fight isolation and loneliness across the country.

For more information and to get involved, visit the #BigCGChallenge page.

Alternatively, you can make a donation here.