All change at Northamptonshire's Teamwork Trust as members take an active role

Teamwork Trust have centres in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:15 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:16 am

A Northamptonshire charity and social enterprise that works with adults with additional needs has unveiled its new structure this month to put service users at the heart of all decisions.

Teamwork Trust, which has centres in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough, works with and supports autistic adults, people with learning disabilities and individuals with mental health needs.

The trust has now introduced an innovative new structure inspired by the pandemic, growth and a soaring demand for health, wellbeing and social care services.

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Ceri Davies with Teamwork Trust members

Vickie Bell, head of programmes at Teamwork Trust, said: “Like so many other organisations the pandemic pushed us to review and adapt all our services. We developed new ways of supporting our users, with a mix of hands-on, remote, and digital support, and this restructure is an extension of all we have learned - one that will ensure we are sustainable in the future, equipped to implement new services at pace and firmly focused on co-production.”

Co-production is a way of working in which those who benefit from and use a service are empowered to shape and drive it. For Teamwork Trust this means its service users are now taking an active role in everything from recruitment and planning to the education programme and employment and volunteering opportunities.

Vickie said: “We are upskilling staff, have more trained experts in autism and employability and have a packed programme of living and learning projects and activities as well as wellbeing and counselling programmes that our service users help us steer and plan.

“We are passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to the same chances and choices and we want to thank our service-led steering group for helping with this restructure.”

Most recently service users helped recruit a new head of trustees and at Teamwork Trust’s recent AGM Jimmy Noble, who has been a committed chair for over 20 years, stepped down.

Ceri Davies, who has extensive experience in the third sector and is chief executive of Nottingham Trent Students' Union, has now officially taken on the role.

New trustees are also being sought, with a particular need for skilled individuals with administration and income generation experience. A recruitment drive is also under way for new apprentices and volunteers. Meanwhile, the staffing structure has been divided into three teams: Health and Social Care, Support Services and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Alison Taylor-Burt, Teamwork Trust's head of support, said: “The growth of Teamwork Trust has also played a big part in our need to restructure. During the pandemic our turnover exceeded £1m which means we are now considered by the Charity Commission to be a ‘large’ charity. This means we have a responsibility to govern ourselves, to review our structure to take this growth into account. Our new structure means we are now perfectly suited to do just this.”

Teamwork trustee Shirley Marshall, who played a leading role in the restructure, said: “I am confident the changes we have made will enable us not only to achieve our strategy but to provide more opportunities for everyone and ensure the best possible experience for our service users.

“Our vision is clear, and our objectives are motivating and engaging. With improved accountability and communication channels, we are committed to working together to continue to achieve what our name says - Teamwork.”

Service user Rachel added: “It’s so wonderful to be part of an organisation that listens to us and that is shaped by its members. We get to say what we want, what we like and how Teamwork will look now and in the future.”

For more information on the Teamwork Trust go to www.teamworktrust.co.uk.